With a recession looming and millions of Americans facing a mortgage crisis, our resident self-help guru unveils his patented system for alleviating debt.
I used to be just like you. A kajillion dollars in debt. And I was unhappy.
Obviously, I was unhappy because the minimum monthly payments on a kajillion dollars are huge, and paying them left very little extra scratch for sundries. But I was also unhappy because debt is about much more than owing money. It’s about being unable to shake your past. Every month, I was essentially paying rent on items and experiences I would just as soon forget. Expensive dinners with that bitch Katya. Clothes for that bitch Katya. A one-way ticket back to Russia for that bitch Katya. A treadmill I never used.
I had a 10-step system for alleviating debt at the time, but it didn’t work very well:
1. Get monthly bills. Panic. 2. Run to music store, sell all unnecessary CDs and DVDs. 3. Buy fast food with my earnings, far too meager to make any impact on my debt. 4. Sit at my kitchen table and eat fries, missing the Enya box set I never listened to. 5. Write note to self on napkin: “BUDGET!” 6. Sketch out bank-robbing plan in margins of napkin. 7. Consider one-time only, gay-for-pay prostitution. 8. Lament a lack of rich, gay, desperate acquaintances. 9. “Supersize” my soda by adding whiskey. 10. Run to music store, buy back Enya box set for full price – on credit.
This was the very definition of insanity: selling the same Enya CDs over and over and expecting different results. Eventually, the music store cut me off, and I realized I’d hit rock bottom. I needed help.
First, I consulted the experts – self-proclaimed financial masterminds like Dave Ramsey and Suze Orman. These people will tell you that getting out of debt is a simple process. They say that you should avoid shady debt management programs and declaring bankruptcy, which will only make things more difficult in the long run. They ask that you put a stop to spending with credit immediately, put some emergency funds in your savings, and then begin chipping away at your debt by snowballing your payments – knocking out one card first and then applying the payments for that card to the next, and so on until you’re out of debt. They offer systems that are far simpler than my 10-step system, requiring only four or five steps. Sounds easy, right?
Wrong. Those systems are assholes.
Sure, they sound great in theory, with all their fancy math and whatnot, but they require lots of discipline and common sense to work. If people like you and I had those kinds of skills to begin with, we wouldn’t be in so much debt! When you get right down to it, these Ramsey-Orman systems are really just making fun of us. And as many of my clients can tell you, I DO NOT like being made fun of!
So I sought alternative advice from a source that requires no discipline or common sense: The Secret. According to this book, I was in so much debt because I was “attracting” it to myself by worrying about it. If I were to act and think more positively, like a happy man without debt, then I would begin “attracting” oodles of wealth and my financial obligations would just fade away. (Seriously, the book tells you this kind of shit will happen.)
Of course, I was skeptical about trying this method. Positive thinking had burned me before. See, when I was a little kid, I wanted to have “the force” really badly, to be able to move things with my mind, like Luke in The Empire Strikes Back. I used to sit on the basement floor for hours, concentrating on soda bottles, trying to get them to move, but it never worked. In fact, the only things that moved were my mother and I, several times, for reasons she wouldn’t explain. I began to wonder if perhaps my thought power had been accidentally misdirected and I was somehow moving our family around instead of the bottles. So I called my mother to find out the truth.
What I discovered was shocking.
As it turns out, my mother moved us around so much to AVOID COLLECTION AGENCIES. My misdirected secret-style brain emissions had nothing to do with it. It was the debt! When I asked if all that moving had helped her achieve financial independence, she said, “I’m still here, aren’t I?” And then she said, “Wait a minute – why do you want to know? Who are you working for? You’re not really my son, are you? You bastards! I’m like the wind.” And then she hung up.
P.S. – My mom is always cracking wise like that. She’s hilarious.
Anyway, it was through this phone call with my mother that I finally discovered a way out, and developed my patented system for eliminating debt forever. This system is not an asshole, and only requires one step. Ready? Here it is:
That’s it! Simple to understand, eh? If you have too much debt and can’t pay it all off, just change your name and get the hell out of Dodge! The extra added benefit is that not only will you be shedding those financial responsibilities; you’ll be getting rid of that nasty past at the same time! Want to finalize that divorce, Katya? Too bad – your husband doesn’t exist anymore!
It’s just that easy.
You can find more of Chad Fifer’s self-help advice here, but you won’t find him – he’s like the wind.
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