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Steve Bucci, the Bankrate.com Debt Adviser50 good things about being debt-free

I had a song running through my head when I was thinking about debt and then had an epiphany: Not since Paul Simon advised couples on "50 Ways to Leave Your Lover" has there been such a need for a new list.

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I'm always telling people that they should deal with debt, and not "slip out the back, Jack," but maybe I don't dwell often enough on the sugar that comes after you take your medicine by paying off those bills.

So I began listing all the good things that come from being out of debt, and before you know it, I had a Simon-esque list of 50.

Perhaps the time has come to advise Bea to learn the key. It's truly never too late to get a new plan, Dan!

50 good things
Click a strategy on the right to get started with your own debt-free plan.
Strategies for freedom from debt
Avoid trouble with cards, Gerard
Stash a buck, Chuck
Plan an attack, Mac
Save for school, O'Toole
Answer the phone, Jerome
You're never a schlemiel, Lucille
Don't worry, Lorrie
Keep ahead, Fred
Be in the know, Joe

Here are 50 good things about being debt-free.

Avoid trouble with cards, Gerard
1. No longer having to decide how much you can afford to pay on credit cards.
2. No ghosts of Christmas debts past haunting you during holiday shopping season.
3. Never being refused for credit.
4. Never being required to spend money you have not yet earned.
5. Having the control that accompanies buying things with cash.
6. Never having to use one credit card to make a payment on another.

Stash a buck, Chuck
7. Having a savings cushion for emergency expenses.
8. Understanding the different kinds of savings needs.
9. Having enough money for both needs and many wants.
10. Watching your balances grow, and that's a good thing.
11. Having fewer fights about money with your sweetie.
12. Experiencing the advantages of a higher credit score.

Plan an attack, Mac
13. Knowing what to do before a marriage.
14. Knowing what to do to prepare for a divorce.
15. Being prepared for a job layoff.
16. Knowing how to create a realistic budget.
17. Understanding the advantages of planned spending.
18. Getting better interest rates when you borrow.

Save for school, O'Toole
19. Having back-to-school costs covered.
20. Setting a good example for your kids.
21. Having the flexibility to shop for the best deal.
22. Knowing you will be prepared to pay your children's college tuition.

Answer the phone, Jerome
23. Not screening for credit collection calls or letters.
24. Looking forward to opening your mail.
25. Never having to meet Judge Judy.
26. Reading a statement that reads "paid in full."

You're never a schlemiel, Lucille
27. Recognizing money scams a mile away and avoiding them.
28. Knowing when and where to ask for financial assistance.
29. Never having to pay late fees.
30. Never robbing Peter to pay Paul.
31. Keeping your own identity.

Don't worry, Lorrie
32. Sleeping better at night.
33. Never having to worry about repossession.
34. Never worrying about being upside down in a car loan.
35. Finally having your entire financial life working together in harmony.
36. Not worrying about paying for the family vacation.
37. Not having to locate a good credit counseling agency.
38. Not needing a reference for a good bankruptcy attorney.

Keep ahead, Fred
39. Never being behind on your mortgage.
40. Knowing your checks will never bounce.
41. Keeping financial records that work best for you.
42. Having all the resources to satisfy the IRS.
43. Experiencing the joy of living below your means.
44. Not spending your weekend having a garage sale to help pay bills.

Be in the know, Joe
45. Being able to prevent financial problems before they happen.
46. Knowing you can withstand anything financial life throws at you.
47. Knowing how to and when to revise your financial plan as your circumstances change.
48. Knowing the difference between wants and needs.
49. Knowing when you will have money enough to retire.
50. People ask you for financial advice so often you become the next Bankrate.com Debt Adviser.

The Debt Adviser, Steve Bucci, is the president of Money Management International Financial Education Foundation and the author of Credit Repair Kit for Dummies. Visit MMI for additional debt advice or to ask a question of the Debt Adviser go to the "Ask the Experts" page and select "debt" as the topic.

Bankrate.com's corrections policy -- Posted: Aug. 18, 2006
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