And no, I'm not talking about houses here.
I'm talking about your money.
I'm talking about my money.
Do you own your money? Or do you rent your money?
For the past 19 years, I've been renting my money.
For the past 19 years, I've been in debt in one way or another. Car loans, students loans, credit cards, mortgages, equity lines, business loans, and personal loans.
For the past 19 years, I've been paying other people for the privilege (seriously makes me want to gag) to rent their money.
Chase United Mileage Plus card offered me a deal to rent their money. And as a bonus for renting, I got a few miles and ended up taking a few trips that required me to rent even more money.
Fannie Mae made me a deal to rent their money. I rented their money and lived in a house. I used to call that owning a house but the truth is: I never owned it. I rented the money so that I could live there. Fannie Mae owned the house and they owned the money that I used to stay there.
So here's what is interesting about renting money...
Until I am debt free - I'm still renting.
Even though I'm no longer using credit cards.
Even though I'm paying off my debt.
Even though I'm kinda militant about the evils of finance charges. And tell every checkstand clerk that offers me 15%-off-if-I-open-a-card-today my opinion of what they are doing.
I'm still using.
Just like a junkie in tenement housing.
I'm still using someone else's money. Paying to rent.
The dollars in my bank account are owed to someone else. They are not mine. I do not own them.
This gives me a very honest perspective on whether or not I should pay money for something or not.
I don't want to rent money anymore.
I want the dollars that I earn to be mine.
I want to own them.
I want to be able to determine what I do with them.
I don't want Bank of America or Chase or anyone else in the private life of my money. These institutions are the financial equivalent to a slumlord.
Slumlords get their name by offering a crappy place to live and making money off of other people's misfortune. (No different than credit card companies.) Slumlords offer initial low rent to lure tenants who will not or cannot pay high rents due to lack of funds or faulty background checks. Slumlords then profit off the dependency of the tenant while continuing to raise the rent. They prey on tenants who believe they cannot live elsewhere.
Credit card companies prey off of our weakness when it comes to instant gratification. They offer us nothing except an offer to pay for renting. They profit enormously from the dependency that they create.
I'm done with this.
If I want to buy something right now - all I have to do is remind myself that the slumlord is paying for it. And that immediately sets me straight.
I don't want the slumlord to pay for my stuff anymore.
I don't want the slumlord to be in my life at all.
I'm paying the slumlord off. And I'm moving out.
To a place where I own my own money.
Talk about emancipation, baby.
There's nothing better.