By its very definition, financial independence means to not be dependent on anyone or anything for our financial needs. That requires being free from debt.

When asked what they would do if they won the lottery, most people say they would pay off their debts. Just imagine what it would be like not to owe any money!

We’d all like to be free from owing money. But something has happened to us over the past couple of generations—we’ve come to accept debt as just another part of modern life.

It doesn’t have to be that way.

The average American will earn between $600,000 and $2,000,000 in his or her lifetime. But it’s not important what we make—it’s what we keep that makes the difference. The percentage of people reaching 65 who are financially independent are in the small single digits. Over 25 percent of the US federal budget is used just to pay interest on the national debt. Debt has become the new “American Way” and it’s not something to be proud of.

Bankruptcies, failed marriages, alcohol and drug abuse, crime and a host of other things can often be related to the scourge of debt. Part of the reason we’ve embraced being in debt for most, if not all, of our lives can be attributed to the fact that everyone else—including our government—is doing it. Owing one, two or even three times as much as we earn in a year would have been horrifying to our grandparents. Had consumer debt—a term unheard of only 30 years ago—not crept into our society gradually, it never would have been embraced.

Just think what it would be like if you owed absolutely nothing to anyone for anything. All the payments you pay each month—all the interest, all the worry, the limited choices—would disappear. No more would you have to stay in a job or profession you despise with people you don’t respect. You would feel not only free from debt, but you would experience freedom in many other aspects of your life.

Imagine what your life would be like if you only had to pay for utilities, food and entertainment. Would it make a difference in the quality of your life, the quality of your relationships, your health? Of course it would.

We can all become debt-free and in less time than you might think. But first we have to get serious about it. It won’t happen by itself. The 40-40-40 plan won’t cut it. That’s working 40 hours a week, 40 years of your life and retiring at 40 percent of what you were making before.

Most people work into May of each year, just to pay their taxes to the state and federal government. How many more months do we have to work to pay the interest and principle payments on what we owe?

Let’s say that you owe $40,000—not counting your home mortgage—credit cards, furniture, cars, etc. If the average interest on this debt was 14 percent, you’d have to pay $5,600 just in interest each year. On top of that, of course, are principle payments. That could easily be another $5,000 to $10,000. Even if you were only paying $10,000 in payments on this debt, you would have to make over $13,000 before taxes to service this liability. If you made $35,000 annually, you’d be working almost five months of that year just to make your payments. Add to that the five months to pay taxes and what have you got left? Is that any way to live? No wonder so many people feel trapped.

How Do You Get There?
Getting out of debt and staying out of debt is simple. SIMPLE, but not always easy. I want to encourage and support you and your business to become debt-free. I’m confident that you will have more fun, encounter less stress and be more productive.

My wife and I have made our plan, we’ve simplified our lives, and we are well on our way to reaching this objective. Our company has no debt and we will personally be free of ALL debt in a short while. You can do it, too.

Debt-Free, then Wealth
Albert Einstein was once asked what he considered to be the greatest invention of all time. “Compound interest,” was his reply. When you’ve eliminated your debts, you can then start to use this “great invention” and make compound interest work FOR you instead of against you. You will develop an investment portfolio that can make you truly wealthy in only a few years. You can become a true capitalist in the real sense of the word—one who creates capital. And you will be free.

You owe it to yourself and those you love to free yourself from the power-robbing, creativity-stifling, worry-causing scourge of debt. After that, you can begin to develop real wealth.

Author's Bio: 

Michael Angier is founder and CIO (Chief Inspiration Officer) of SuccessNet--a support network helping people and businesses grow and prosper since 1995. Get their free Resource Book ($27 value) of products, services and tools for running your business more effectively. And most of the over 150 resources are FREE to access and use.