Many years ago, I was an adjunct instructor and academic advisor in a small New York City college. Also, I harbored aspirations to be a rap star! So, one day I noticed that the payroll department accidentally deposited my biweekly check twice in one payment. An obvious mistake. I withdrew it all. Why not go on vacation when you owe money?
I’m shaking my head in mystified reflection now as I write this.
It was 15 years ago.
I went to Melbourne, Australia, and worked on some funk/jazz/rap fusion music projects (it was worse than it sounds).
Melbourne, Australia was such a beautiful city. The city’s motto is, “Experience 4 seasons in a day.”
Because of the city’s location in southern Australia, and proximity to the South Pole, it experiences several temperature swings within a day.
Showerheads usually have heaters attached to them because the mornings and evenings can be so bitterly cold. Yet, it might be sunny, cloudy, or rain for a while in the afternoon.
I loved the city’s vibrant art and music community. The music project I participated in was laughingly awful. But I had fun.
Then I came back home. People think the only certain things in life are death and taxes.
No. It’s death, taxes, and debt.
When I came home, I was about $700 in debt. Then, because I withdrew double my biweekly paycheck, I had to work for a whole month before I got my next full paycheck.
I had a negative balance in my employer-deposited bank account. The payroll department screwed up and accidentally deposited my pay twice.
However, I screwed up when I went on vacation while in debt. I accrued more debt while away and came back in more debt.
I wouldn’t recommend it.
Don’t Go on Vacation When in Debt
Don’t go on vacation when in debt.
Yes, I know we are in the middle of the horrifying COVID-19 pandemic.
So, I am sure people aren’t itching to go on vacation now in the era of social distancing.
Sometime in the future – I don’t know when – this horrifying pandemic will end.
I have written extensively about the need to prioritize saving money during this crisis.
Over 17 million Americans have lost their jobs in the past three weeks. More will become unemployed before the year is over.
People are stressed. So, when this pandemic is over, I am sure many may want to go on vacation.
Don’t go on vacation while in debt.
That’s the equivalent of turning financial irresponsibility into a form of reckless performance art.
Why shouldn’t you go on vacation when in debt? Consider:
The average person is burdened with over $38,000 in personal debts.
You’ll just end up deeper in debt after returning. This won’t assuage any stress you accumulated before going on vacation.
Also, what is the point of ending a vacation in debt? Why focus your time on debt mitigation strategies right after vacation?
How could you focus on having fun if you know you’re in debt?
No, don’t go on vacation when in debt.
You’re only putting yourself in a position to accrue more debt in the short term to pay off in the long term.
Do this instead:
- Postpone vacation plans
- Strategize debt payment system
- Estimate future vacation date
Postpone Vacation Plans
Sure. Easy for me to say since I am the guy who recklessly told you how I went on vacation when in debt.
However, I am in my mid-40s now. I experienced my debt-ridden jaunt to Melbourne, Australia when I was 25.
If you’re in debt or know that going on vacation will burden you with more debt, postpone your plans.
John Lennon reportedly said that reality leaves a lot to be desired when it comes to the imagination.
I am in no hurry to go on vacation now with this COVID-19 pandemic. But if that is your plan, plan for the future now.
Be realistic. Perhaps you’ll wait a year or two before going on vacation.
Take this time to plan it out. Airfares, hotels, and restaurants will definitely be cheap in the future.
It will take a while for those businesses to regain pre-COVID-19 levels of profitability.
Make a long-term vacation a goal you save for now.
Meanwhile, get out of debt.
Strategize Debt Payment System
In the meantime, get out of debt.
Make an honest self-assessment of your debt hole, how deep you’re in it, and if you’re still digging yourself deeper.
What is your debt-to-income ratio? In other words, how much of your income is specifically dedicated to paying your debts?
Most mortgage lenders and credit card companies won’t look at your application if your DTI is in the 36% to 43% range.
Strategize how to focus on debt repayments. How long will that take?
You might spend 2 or 3-years paying down debts before you can seriously think about saving significant amounts of money.
Focus on that so in time you can focus on a stress-free vacation.
Estimate Future Vacation Date
Pay down your debts. Estimate a future date for your next vacation.
Or, go on vacation when in debt and just accumulate more debt which will take longer to pay off.
Nothing in life is free.
And the only thing more reliably certain in life than death and taxes is debt.