Hey debt fighters! Ready to ditch debt in 2018?! Let’s do it! Today’s dear debt letter comes to us from Aparna. She has been bravely facing up to her debt for some years now. This struggle made her realize the importance of and her passion for personal finance. Now, a Certified Financial Planner herself, she pens down all her thoughts in her blog Elementum Money. 

She also did a cool profile on Dear Debt! Enjoy. 

Dear Debt,

I have had the most twisted relationship with you, ever. I was fortunate to not need you while completing my education thanks to my parents saving enough.

My first run-in with you was with my first banking job. I had heard of all types of loans, but with a job in a loan department of one of the largest private sector bank in the country opened my eyes.

There is an old saying that banks check that you don’t need a loan to give you a loan. That might have been true earlier but I saw how in order to get the next new thing or fulfill their dream, everyone is eager to get that loan. Banks are as eager to make it happen for them.
You, dear debt, were my bread and butter. If people stopped falling for the bigger versions of you, that time I would have stopped earning my living.

In India, one way of thinking is to get a house if you are not making good use of your money. Hey, that way at least a large chunk of your salary will go towards building an asset. We bought into it. Do I regret it? I am on the fence on this one.

However, apart from the big brother Home Loan, I met your younger siblings as well – Credit Card Loan and Personal Loan. I had varying needs for all of you ending up in a home of my own. I can say, that together the debt family helped me build for us a home I look forward to coming back to. A house which is comfortable, lavish even and a place that can be called ours forever.

While I never really talked to anyone openly, till the time me and my husband, both were earning stable monthly salaries we managed. Around us, loans are seen as a common-place way of life. There is barely any shame associated with it which makes it that much harder to find the motivation to work like crazy and ditch it like a bad habit.

Then earlier last year, the husband finally decided that corporate life was not his cup of tea. I was ecstatic because for years it had only been me trying to tell him that corporate shackles might not help him to give the wings that his creativity deserved. The one thing that weighed us down and made us stop in our tracks was, you guessed it, you Dear Debt!

We had multiple sessions of checking out all the numbers of my salary and how would we survive on that one salary with the massive monthly installments. With any new venture, we wanted to give it enough time to find its feet and account for at least a 2 year period of running the household on a single salary.

Finally, we had to withdraw the entire retirement savings that my husband was able to accumulate while working in his corporate job. In India, any corporate job docks off 12% of your basic salary every month and it gets accumulated in something called the Employee Provident Fund.

Thank god for those forced savings! Otherwise you, dear debt, had very nearly taken our dreams and aspiration off the rails.

It is only after I started blogging and became aware of the Personal Finance blogosphere that I became aware of just how important it is for me to break up with you. I dream of becoming self- employed too, some day. Can I let you come in the way of such a dream? Most definitely not.

I will end this letter with an answer to 2 simple questions that I ask myself:

Am I grateful for what you got into my life and did I need you at that time? Most definitely YES.

Do I like having you in my life right now? No. And I look forward to working harder, earning more and breaking up with you.

Till then, adios, dear debt.

Aparna

Melanie

Melanie is a freelance writer currently living in Portland, Oregon. She is passionate about education, financial literacy, and empowering people to take control of their finances. She writes about breaking up with debt, freelancing, and side hustle adventures at DearDebt.com.

Currently she puts more than 50% of her income towards debt, while living a frugal, fun life. In addition to her love of personal finance, art and music, she is also a karaoke master. Follow the adventure @DearDebtBlog.

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