I’m in Telluride Colorado this weekend. My wife and I drove 8 hours from Phoenix for a weekend in the mountains to recharge. Today we walked down one of the main streets lined with quirky shops. At that particular moment, on that particular street I felt the figurative weight of 50 lbs of scales disappear. The scales of stress that clung to me like the scales on a carp were shed. The stress of the workaday in Phoenix as a professional corporate borrower, day after day of 105+ degree temperatures, and the added sadness of my adult daughter moving into her own apartment dropped away.
Being a personal or commercial borrower can cause tremendous stress. Monthly payment obligations, the eventual maturity date and changes in your financial condition can all add weight to the borrowing experience. A good loan can add value, juice investment returns and let you sleep at night. The weight of bad loans can become unbearable and eventually lead to default and bankruptcy. My trip to Telluride reminded me of some simple steps that can reduce the mental, emotional and financial weight of borrowing someone else’s money.
- Gain some altitude to change your attitude: The change in altitude and separation from my regular life gave me distance from my “normal” and discharged the stress. When you’re faced with a major borrowing decision, put down the loan proposal and take a few hours or days to separate from the borrowing decision path. You’ll have a clearer picture of the wisdom of the debt weight you are about to add to your life.
- Take along a trusted ally: I trust my wife more than anyone on this earth. She’s earned my respect after many years of navigating this life together. A loyal friend will have your best interests at heart and help you clearly see the natural consequences of the debt you are about to incur. Speak freely and insist on honest feedback. Your financial future hangs in the balance.
- Don’t add unnecessary weight to your personal and professional life: We toured Telluride on foot with light daypacks. Although we had more space in our packs to fill with stuff, we left some things in the hotel room. The walk was more enjoyable with a lighter pack. In borrowing, the decision to do or not to do something (i.e. add more weight to your pack) should be separate from the financing decision (i.e. the size of your borrowing pack). A great loan does not justify a questionable purchase even if you have the extra cash flow available.
- Savor the feeling of taking a good loan: A loan that adds value to you or your business and is comfortably serviced with solid cash flow can help you cross major financial summits.
Get some borrowing perspective, engage the help of trusted ally, and carry only the debt that is necessary and adds value. Then you’ll be on the path to minimizing financial stress and maximizing financial performance.