So, you want to get out of debt? You have even written a budget and see that this really is possible, but it is going to take some time. That fact motivates you to do even more. Instead of just tightening the screws on the budget, you decide to take another step. You decide to sell something. In fact, you are so fired up about getting out of debt that you begin to look in every room, closet, box, and corner and you begin to think about just selling it all.
In many ways, this is a great attitude. After all, it’s just stuff. It isn’t eternal, and sometimes you have too much of it anyway. (To be honest, most of us – if not all of us – have too much stuff.) You should sell stuff as a way to help you “move the needle” on getting out of debt. However, are there some things you should not sell?
I think so. Here are 5.
Even those family heirlooms are “stuff,” but they represent years of family history, and that time and heritage can never be replaced. There might come a time when these have to go, too, but hang on to them if at all possible. Some of them (if not all of them) have a value that goes far beyond a price tag. This would also hold true for items given to you by a dear friend. Though he/she is not “family,” that item still holds great sentimental value that may never be replaced if you sell it.
2. Items Likely to Rise in Value
Notice that word “likely.” Nothing is guaranteed to rise in value, but certain collectibles or pieces do have a certain appreciation over time. You may want to sell these at a later time. The warning here is to know the market. Do not just assume that these things will rise in value. In fact, it may be wise to have a certain date to check the value again. But, if you know a particular area well, you can usually predict with some credible realism that this item will rise in value.
3. Retirement investments
Unless you are literally facing foreclosure or bankruptcy, do not cash out a 401(k) or other retirement account to pay down debt. The penalties and taxes are horrible (normally a 10% penalty in addition to your tax rate), and basically cause this to be a very high interest rate loan. It’s better to slow or stop contributions to retirement while you get out of debt than to take money out of these holdings.
4. Items with Personal Information
Computers, cell phones, and other gadgets have a lot of information on them. You probably will sell at least a few of these in your lifetime. But I wanted to put this on the list because you are ready to get out of debt. Sometimes, in the excitement and emotion of the moment, you can forget to take a very necessary step: clear off your personal data! You do not want to sell an old iPhone, for example, with your entire contact list as well as dozens of apps that have your passwords and other information on them. Sell the phone, but not until you have gone through the steps to get it ready. [Note: If you are selling an iPhone, here is a good article of the simple steps to get ready.]
5. Your Soul
None of us will literally do this, but we might decide to take steps to get out of debt that will compromise our morals. In your excitement, don’t forget to stand firm on the Word of God. Do not steal to get out debt. Do not cheat on your taxes. Do not try to gamble your way out. It’s important to get out of debt. It’s far more important to keep walking with the Lord through the process.
What would you add to the list? Leave a comment below!