December 5, 2017

Hey debt fighters! Today we have a dear debt letter from Mary Ann Marriott (aka Dr. Debt) who blogs at and helps people have healthier, happier finances. 

Dear Debt,

To say we have a functional relationship would be an understatement. Heck!, to say that I like you would be an outright lie. I may not like you very much, but I do appreciate you. And I suspect that is something that you do not hear very often. But it is true. In fact, I want to thank you for the support you have given me over the years.

Thank you for allowing me to purchase our home. As I sit on the deck looking at the ocean, weed my gardens, watch our chickens peck away at the earth and do the everyday mundane things a homeowner does, I feel gratitude in my heart for the opportunity to live here.

Thank you for supporting me when I made that huge leap from being an employee to an entrepreneur. Without you I likely never would have jumped. You helped me bridge the gap between employment and self-employment. Thank you!

Thank you for being there as I brought two little beings into the world. I had no maternity benefits and had to return to my business two months later leaving my husband to step-in and take Paternity leave. The reduction in income was tough, but you helped us keep food on the table and afford the necessities for us and our new little ones. For that I thank you!

When we got back on our feet again, it was a wonderful feeling to be able to repay you for your kindness and watch your balance decrease month after month. Sadly, that period of time was short-lived.

But you were there again to support us as my husband changed careers and went from job to job, looking for his place. You were there when the company he worked for shut down, when the seasonal job he had laid him off, sometimes expectedly and sometimes unexpectedly, and you were there when he injured himself and couldn’t return to work for months on end. Really, I don’t know how we would have survived without you. I am certain we would have lost our home in those times.

It’s easy to blame you for the choices we have made, for the need to depend on you during trying times. It’s easy to point our finger at you and say, “It’s because of you that we can’t travel, or buy that ATV, or fix up our home”. Which leads me to my final expression of appreciation.

Thank you for teaching me how relying on you can upset our future plans. Thank you for showing me that allowing you in our lives takes away our financial power and increases the cost of every expected and unexpected emergency,  creating a deeper and deeper hole for us to climb out of. Thank you for reminding me that there is a better way.

As I watch our emergency fund grow, and our obligations to you slowly decrease, I resist the urge to blame you, or demean you, or attack your character. Instead, I remind myself that you were there through all of the tough times to help out and it was I who chose to rely upon you, who allowed you to continue to be our support system. And in that process I have learned a lot about myself and about you.

I am comfortable with our new relationship, one that doesn’t have the air of dependency. Having said that, I look forward, so forward, to the day when we part ways, the day when I see you reduce to zero, when I say goodbye to an old way of being and let my new way of being flourish.

Thank you Debt. I release you. With love and gratitude.

Mary Ann Marriott (aka Dr. Debt)


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

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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5 responses to “Dear Debt, I Release You”

  1. Rachel M says:

    What a great and unique article. I loved how you reminded all of us of the upside of debt.

  2. Femme Cents says:

    This is such a great perspective. It’s easy to consider debt in blatant negative terms, but there really are opportunities it provides that people did not have at times in the past. I think about my grandfather who wanted to be a pharmacist. However his family didn’t have the money for school and loans weren’t available for him in those days so he joined the service. I wonder how his life (and hence my family’s trajectory) may have been different if debt was available for him. Thank you for this beautiful letter!
    Femme Cents recently posted…My 2018 goals (and a 2017 recap!)My Profile

  3. Mr. Groovy says:

    “Thank you for teaching me how relying on you can upset our future plans.”

    Ah, the paradox of debt. It saves today while stealing the future. All in all, I say you handled this paradox a lot better than most. Thank you for your very thoughtful missive to debt, Dr. Debt. Cheers.

  4. ZJ Thorne says:

    It’s so nice to see acknowledgement that debt can help you, too. It’s how we handle debt that often matters the most.
    ZJ Thorne recently posted…Net Worth Week 91 – New Year EditionMy Profile

  5. Interesting perspective about the thing most people don’t want to have. Without debt we will have to give up from a lot of things at the present and have them in the future.

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