Modern American life is dominated by three crushing debts.
It should be no surprise which three I’m talking about. They are taken for granted by the Herd as the three fundamental pillars of the middle-class lifestyle. If you opt out of these three crushing forms of debt, you are seen as an underachiever, lazy, or worse.
Collectively, these three debts can extinguish any hopes of living an agile lifestyle. They restrict your location independence, tie you to the maintenance of particular objects, and force you into a life of indentured servitude in order to pay for them.
Avoid these three at all costs:
- student loans
- car loans
Collectively, these three debts can easily sap a third of your working life. That’s an incredible amount of time to be working for someone else’s gain.
After paying off these mammoth notes, assuming you ever do–many go to their graves with one or more of these still weighing down their estates and the loved ones who are left with the financial mess–an incredible amount of your productivity, spirit, and passion may be spent. Never to be recovered.
What’s most troubling about all of this?
All three costs can largely be avoided or mitigated.
In other words, these are discretionary costs.
1. An Ivy League degree doesn’t get you a nicer spot in the unemployment line
A university education in the United States is expensive. And the cost is only rising.
Yet when looking at the cost of getting a bachelor’s degree in this country, parents and their eighteen year old children are never taught to think about the price they have to pay to get to that coveted day of commencement speeches.
Instead, the Herd promises you that so long as you “invest” in the highest price, name-brand degree you can, you will be set for life.
Except it’s not true.
I graduated from an Ivy League school. I can tell you that my graduating class still faced massive unemployment after the devastation of the 2008 financial crash.
A name brand university degree can’t protect you during an economic down turn.
So what good is it for?
Perhaps instead of paying upwards of $200,000 for a four-year private university, many more of us should be looking at competitive in-state public schools. In-state public schools cost nearly a fourth of the price. Or we could look to two- or three-year programs that train us in real skills for the future instead of endless readings on Plato and other outmoded, invalidated thinkers.
2. Your house is not a home when it’s also supposed to be an investment
Taking on thirty-year mortgages and paying twice the value of a home due to interest is equally perplexing, when you can pay significantly less for rentals. Often in the exact same neighborhood. With the added benefit that you can live anywhere in the world if you wish, instead of being chained to one property in one place in one neighborhood whose fortunes you can not control.
3. The new car salesman is the one you should be worried about
The way most people choose cars is equally astounding. Yes, driving is a necessity in many cities. Driving gives you added freedom to move around the country at will.
But knowing full well that up to 60% of a new car’s value is lost when you drive it off the lot, Americans still flock to car dealerships for the latest model instead of the vast secondary market for barely used one to four year old cars.
Americans compound this error by trading in their cars every few years to purchase a new one, never reaping the benefit of car ownership. Chronic new car buyers are always taking on the largest hit in depreciation.
If you take no other piece of advice from Agile Lifestyle, remember to avoid these three lifestyle design killers. You will be eighty percent of the way to designing the lifestyle you want.