Why is one person able to live debt-free while another is constantly worrying about how to pay their creditors? Generally, as with any group, debt-free consumers have a lot in common. In fact, they share many of the same personality traits as the rich and successful. If you want to be debt-free, learning these qualities and incorporating them into your daily life may be the ultimate key to your success. By observing how the debt-free live it’s possible to change your way of thinking, form new habits and hopefully switch directions.
As the famous author Ambrose Bierce so wisely put it, debt is “an ingenious substitute for the chain and whip of the slave driver.” Sick of being a slave to debt? Here are some of the key personality traits of someone who is successful and debt-free:
- Practical and realistic
Pragmatism is a key characteristic of people who do well in all areas of life. To live practically is to value everything for the purpose it was intended – money, relationships and material things. A practical person will buy quality merchandise but not overspend on designer labels or brands. They have a realistic expectation of everything they own. Material possessions aren’t a priority; they know how to enjoy simple pleasures, even if they have the means to live a more luxurious life. Check out the biography of many of the most successful people and you will find that the philosophy they lived by was pragmatic.
- Willing to learn
Many of life’s most important lessons come through trial and error. It’s no different for those who live debt-free and succeed in life. Being willing to accept failure and learn from it inspires them to make the changes necessary to avoid making the same mistakes twice. They also do their homework before making any major decisions, especially when it involves their financial integrity.
- Cautious and deliberate
Even people with the most rigid and structured lifestyles are tempted to spend money on a whim, but successful individuals control their impulses. With our consumer driven economy constantly throwing new and exciting products at us all the time, it’s understandable that impulse spending may be hard to control, but those who maintain a debt-free life are deliberate and cautious in how they borrow or spend their money. They only make purchases that are part of a bigger financial picture and are less likely to waste their money.
- Detail oriented
A simple error as seemingly minor as a misplaced decimal point can cause irreparable damage to your financial situation, if it’s not caught early. The most successful and financially responsible individuals pay attention to details and correct mistakes. Attention to detail protects against lazy accounting practices that can ultimately lead to debt troubles. Paying close attention to your financial affairs means you are less likely to borrow or spend money that you can’t afford.
- Independent and self-reliant
Most people who work hard to maintain a life of financial freedom think independently and are self-reliant. They don’t attempt to keep up with the Joneses and are willing to go against societal norms when it means the difference between going into debt and keeping clear of it. They refuse to make excuses, take responsibility for mistakes and take corrective action to ensure they don’t happen again. As financial guru Dave Ramsey puts it, “Debt is normal. Be weird.”
More often than not, successful individuals are focused on their financial security and not their status in society. They live within their means and save as much as possible for future purchases, emergencies and retirement. People who are debt-free aren’t impulse shoppers or in need of instant gratification. They know that debt is like any other trap; easy to get into, but hard to get out of. Dr. Phil has a simple phrase that demonstrates the truth of the matter, “It’s just math. It doesn’t matter how much you think you deserve it, you can either afford it or you can’t!”