5 Ways Debt Can Be Keeping You From Living Your Best Life

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Everyone wants to live their best life, but you can’t do that when you’re in debt.

Debt is a part of life for many Americans. We borrow money to go to school, buy a car and buy a house. If we want to buy something at the store but we don’t have the money, we put it on our credit card or get a financing plan.

Although it is normal to get into debt, this practice can have serious long-term consequences. When we studied the link between debt and happiness, we asked respondents in debt what the impact was on them. The results showed that debt can prevent you from living the life of your dreams in several ways.

1. It prevents you from healing yourself

Everyone wants to indulge themselves from time to time and afford a luxury that makes them happy. It could be a vacation, a new TV, or something different.

It’s nice to be able to reward yourself for your hard work, and when you think about your best life, you probably imagine yourself being able to do it once in a while without worrying.

This is much harder to do when you are in debt, as most or all of your money is tied up in paying off your debts. Even if you have a little extra money a month, you might feel guilty about using it for something other than paying off what you owe.

This is the case for 59% of our respondents, who said that their debt impacted their ability to get medical treatment occasionally.

2. You can’t live the lifestyle you want

59% of respondents also said that their debt prevents them from living the desired lifestyle.

Most of us have some sort of ideal lifestyle that we would like to have. Some people dream of living a jet-setter life where they get to travel first class frequently to exotic destinations. Others would like to have a big house and be able to provide everything their children could want.

Whatever your desired lifestyle, chances are that money is the barrier that stands in your way. Paying off debt is another obstacle that keeps you from having the life you want.

3. It’s harder to pursue your interests

It is important to have things that you are passionate about. After all, you don’t want your whole life to revolve around your job.

Unfortunately, debt can reduce the time and money you have to pursue your passions and interests, as was the case for 53% of our respondents. 45% also mentioned that debt prevented them from participating in hobbies.

If your debt takes up all of your attention, you may start to feel like every day follows the same pattern: work, pay bills, sleep, and start over.

4. You can’t be as generous as you would like.

Turns out, “It’s better to give than to receive” isn’t just a cheesy phrase to say to kids at Christmas. The University of Zurich found that even a small amount of generosity makes people happier and that generous people tend to be happier overall than those who act only in their own interests.

Unfortunately, people in debt find it difficult to give to others even if they want to. 53% of people surveyed in our research told us that debt had affected their ability to donate to important causes. And 50% said it stopped them from being generous with friends or family.

5. You don’t have money to hang out with friends.

Your best life probably includes some sort of social life, and that can be tough when money is tight. There are ways to hang out with your friends even if you’re short on cash. But it’s especially difficult if you don’t have discretionary income.

Although most people in debt can still participate in activities with their friends, 39% said that debt made things more difficult.

Pay off your debts and make your best life a reality

Debt is not always a bad thing. In some cases, going into debt can even help you achieve your best life. However, having too much debt or having the wrong type of debt (like credit card debt) is a huge hurdle. Either way, pay off those debts as soon as possible so they don’t hold you back.

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