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It’s a generally true statement that debt-ridden, credit card addicted people appear to more wealthy and more affluent than they really are. Why? Because they spend their "money" (and credit) on LIFESTYLE expenditures.

I overheard a fairly loud twenty something woman today in a restaurant (she was purposely being loud enough for all the tables around her to hear). She was going on about how "I love this restaurant, but if I ate here every day, I’d be really heavy and broke". She was already "heavy" and given the rest of the conversation, mostly likely already broke. I know it’s "mean" to say someone is fat, but she was the one putting herself out there for public scrutiny by clearly proclaiming she WOULD BE "heavy" if she ate bagels and cinnamon rolls every day. Apparently, she was only eating them every OTHER day if she didn’t consider her current weight "heavy" (probably 100 or more pounds overweight).

Predictably, she continued with a conversation about high gas prices, a pile of bills and what the government should do to fix it all. Again predictably, she left in a pretty new, late model car talking on her cell phone, holding her $5.00 latte-to-go.

Do I say all this to be mean? Funny? Uncaring? Fat-a-phobic? No. Does being overweight automatically make you a debt junkie or lazy? No… but in this case her physical appearance, along with her words, combined with the other obvious signs made it clear that she was impulsive and undisciplined in general and refused to take responsibility for her own over-indulgence. I say predictably because this has become all TOO common in America.

I tell you this story because it is indicative of those in debt, why they stay in debt, and get deeper debt. They think like poor, debt ridden people. They live like poor debt-addicted people. They complain and refuse personal responsibility like poor debt crazed people. Impulsiveness, lack of discipline, victimhood, entitlement mentality, laziness… all common traits of the debtminded masses, regardless of what appearance they shine themselves up with.

They make the lifestyle choices of the affluent and but are poor in genuine wealth and assets. CREDIT gives them a false sense of wealth that is really only cosmetic lifestyle bought on credit. They live impulsively, beyond their means, and without discipline… then complain about being stressed over debt and look for the government to punish credit card companies, oil companies and mortgage lenders, or worse, they wait for a government bail out by politicians wanting votes.

If you want to be debt free, you have to think like debt free people. If you want to be truly financially independent, you have to think and make choices like disciplined, debt-hating, financially disciplined adults. You don’t start thinking "debt free" when your debt is GONE; you start thinking "debt free" NOW so that your debt will disappear along with your debt-mentality.

People in debt, who will stay in debt, think:

  • I must have it now.
  • I deserve it.
  • You only live once.
  • I need to treat myself.
  • It’s got low monthly payments.
  • I’ll pay it off later.
  • I’m building my credit.
  • Everyone needs a ___________ (cell phone, new car, new clothes, lots of shoes, vacations, frequent eating out…)

People who get out of debt and stay out of debt think:

  • I’ll wait until I can afford it.
  • I don’t deserve anything I don’t earn and can’t afford.
  • You only live once and I don’t want to have a life of regrets.
  • I’ll treat myself after I’ve been disciplined and not impulsive.
  • The only "payment plan" is 100% down and no monthly installments.
  • I won’t buy anything I can’t pay cash for now (a mortgage being the possible exception).
  • I’m not worried about "building my credit" and being debt free won’t hurt it.
  • I only NEED food, shelter, transportation and clothing; everything is a luxury I’ll forego until I can truly afford it.

The second list is OPPOSITE everything American screams at us each day about "lifestyle". We are bombarded with temptation to increase our status by having newer, faster, bigger, better and more luxurious "stuff"… with plenty of easy credit to obtain it.[TIPJAR]

What about you? Do you want to get out of debt? Want to get out of debt and stay out of debt forever? You’ve got to quit thinking like an "undisciplined, impulsive, got have it, I deserve, can’t wait, I’ll buy it on credit now and pay for it later" debt junkie.

Quit going out to eat every day. Quit buying $4.00 coffee. Quit upgrading your cell phone. Sell the new car you can’t afford. Get out of the house you should have never bought. Dump the 440 satellite movie channels. Quit buying more new shoes and clothes. Cut up your credit cards. Save some money.

Think like the wealthy, not the affluent. Think like the disciplined, not the impulsive. Think like a wealth builder, not a debt junkie.

Increase income, reduce debt, live frugally, give generously.

That’s how you become wealthy. Find out how to get out of debt fast, and stay out of debt in my latest book on the subject: Life Without Debt.