Using Debt as a Tool is Like Playing with Fire.
When we lived in Oklahoma, our neighbors’ house had a fire and nearly burned to the ground. The cause of the fire wasn’t faulty wiring or anything mechanical. Our neighbors’ young grandson was playing with a lighter in a spare bedroom. When his grandma called for him to leave, the little boy tossed the hot lighter on the bed and left. That lighter started a fire that changed their lives.
It occurred to me the other day that debt and fires have a lot in common. If you have a good fire prevention program, you won’t have to fight the fire because the fire likely won’t start in the first place. If you play with matches & lighters, on the other hand, there’s a good chance you’re going to end up with a fire.
Using credit and debt (specifically using credit cards) is a lot like playing with matches. You can do it once or twice and nobody gets hurt. You think you have things under control, so you do it a little more. But then something comes along that catches you off guard, and a fire breaks out.
Financial & Debt Education is like Fire Prevention
A good fire prevention program starts with education. It’s why I have a blog, a podcast, a newsletter, and a bunch of free resources on my website. I’d much rather help people avoid the debt by teaching them not to play with matches.
Unfortunately not everyone plays it safe. There’s always a group of people who either don’t know the true dangers or feel they can handle the danger and that they’re in control. Fires often are started by people in that group. When the fire gets to a raging stage, that’s when we usually get called to help fight the fire.
Sometimes we can help put the fire out, but sometimes we can only save the basement. It all depends on how soon we catch the fire. I think any firefighter will tell you it’s much easier to battle a blaze before it starts rather than waiting until it’s out of control. That’s why we stress the education so strongly.
If you’ll just play it safe and take precautions, you’ll be ok. But if you’re not willing to take the safe route and avoid credit cards, car loans, student loans, and other forms of debt, watch out. My simple warning is this: when you play with fire it’s not a matter of IF you’ll get burned. It’s a matter of WHEN you’ll get burned.