Debt Crisis panic is everywhere. I can’t turn on the TV, listen to the radio or even check email without being inundated with fly-by-night “economists”. Talking heads who act like they know what’s going on but don’t have a single good idea between them. That doesn’t stop them from throwing numbers around. Numbers so large that they’re abstract. My simple human brain can’t even begin to comprehend it. $14.3 trillion? Damn. That’s a whole bunch of Molson Canadian.
While the Feds are figuring out where to start, I’m looking at the end of my personal debt crisis. Within a few weeks from today I’ll reach a milestone that has been years in the making. I’ll be free of credit card debt for the first time in 15 years.
It hasn’t been easy. I’ve made a lot of mistakes. I’ve made a lot of tough decisions. I’ve sacrificed today for the sake of tomorrow. But the hardest part through this entire process was getting started. Finding the motivation to turn a goal into reality. Ironically, the Feds and I have one thing in common. We both started with North Dakota.
NoDak has weathered the recession with grace. Its unemployment rate is one of the lowest in the nation. Its real estate market is relatively stable. Its banks still have money to lend. The Feds are astonished. They have no idea how any financial system can thrive without greed and high-priced Wall Street dickhead consultants. They’ve studied the state for months only to find a simple answer. NoDak does things the old fashion way. Simple. Directed. Conservative. Responsibly serving the people that depend on that financial system for their livelihood. It’s an economy founded by salt of the earth farmers who prioritize financial security. In contrast, the Federal Government and our banking system has been as responsible with money as a drunk Lindsay Lohan. I guess the word drunk is redundant but you get my drift.
I also spent months studying NoDak. Pouring over maps of distant potholes and endless prairie which hold some of the best duck hunting in the world. I dreamed about hunting there for years but debt stood in my way. I couldn’t afford to save for the trip because my spending habits were out of control. I was in a trance with that card in my hand just buying whatever I “needed” with a distinct plan to worry about it later. My undying desire to experience waterfowl hunting in NoDak was the kick-in-the-ass that I desperately needed.
I changed my spending habits. I hid the credit cards in the back of my sock drawer. I learned to live on what I needed instead of what I wanted. I made it to NoDak in October of 2009. Our first afternoon we shot a three-man limit of gadwall, divers, widgeon and teal in about an hour and a half. I shot my first snow goose and my first canvasback. That day alone was the reward. And a big reason why I’ll be debt free before opening day of the 2011 hunting season.
Thanks North Dakota. Zeus and I will see you again in a few months.