Wednesday, December 5, 2012

An old man’s advice to the young

Never borrow money.  Never, as long as you live, ever borrow money.

Do not borrow money from your friends.  Do not borrow money from your parents. Do not borrow money “until payday.” Never borrow money to buy a car. And never, never, never buy a home unless you can pay cash.

 Debt will stress you out. Debt will demean you. Make no mistake, kids, debt will make you a slave. You may not believe much of what (if anything) you read in the Bible, but believe this one:

“Poor people are the rich man’s slaves.  Borrow money and you are the lender’s slave.”
(Proverbs 22:7 – Good News Bible)

You don’t want to be a slave to anyone, do you?

Note to unbelievers—feel free to post a contrary comment here, and/or contact me at:

Jack {at} jjluna {dot} com.


  1. You're exactly right - good advice. The borrower is slave to the lender. But I would go a step further - never lend money either. Somewhere in the Bible it says "Neither a lender nor borrower be..."

  2. Great advice. Paying for a house with cash is incredibly difficult these days though...

    1. ... especially when you are trying to live beyond your means.


    Part B of the above comment is corrected in this link.

    The quote comes from Hamlet Act 1, scene 3, 75–77

    Nowhere in the bible does that quote exist.

    This just shows how popular Shakespeare has become and how ingrained his words are in our society. :)

  4. Concerning buying a house. What about buying some land, paying cash for it. And then use the Cal-Earth method of building with sandbags (check out ) or go to a log home building class like Lasko ( ) or work as a carpenter's helper, and build your own home? The Cal-Earth method is not hard and looks great and the late Nader Khalili really wanted people to live debt free.

  5. Jack, I know that I'm not doing so well at providing for myself, especially compared to many of your readers. But how on earth can I get through life without incurring debt? Yes, right now I am 34 years old and working in rural Alaska to pay off debt. I've been paying for years, and now I'm down to $12k for my truck, $2k for a surgery I had to get, and $30k in student loans. After our wonderful public school education system that relieved me of my ability to think for myself, I went to college. I am not smart or clever enough to work for myself, although I wish I could. My dream is to own my own home and work for myself, but I can't figure out how to do it.

    I can barely pay my rent and save money for retirement each month, plus my other bills and debts. Yes, if I were more disciplined and stopped taking a vacation to see family each year, I could sock away an additional $3,000, but I don't see how being exiled and never seeing my family, working year-round without a break for 60 years is going to help me.

    I would love to buy a house, but I don't even have a minimal 3.5% down payment, let alone the full cash price. I guess I need to pick cheaper places to live, but how can I do that AND work?

    1. One answer: instead of paying for years and getting down to 12k on your truck, buy a used older vehicle for 4k (or 2k) or whatever you can afford.

      The reason you cant afford those things is partly because you are already spending beyond your income.

      As a student, I drove a car I bought for $500 and worked on myself (we are of similar age). Seven years later I sold it for 1850.

      The answer is to learn to live on less.

  6. For Anonymous who claimed that the Proverbs quote was "nowhere in the Bible":

  7. Hi RJ. So you got your college degree? Because there are schools in South Korea and China that want native English speakers to be teachers, and all they require are degrees. In any subject. For that matter, I know that Mr. Luna would not approve of these ideas, but some folks go to an area in Thailand or the Recto area of Manila in the Philippines and have phony diplomas and transcripts printed up for less than $100, and most of the English schools in Asia do not verify.

    Now, once you're in Asia, you can easily save up some money in 2 years for some land, or maybe an USDA home for $40,000 with no money down.

    Or perhaps you would consider joining the US Army since you're not past enlistment age, as you would have housing and retirement, and you could study for the ASVAB and go for some MOS like a linguist.

    Steven Katz and his family moved to China and started over. They didn't pay their bills.

    Now, you can't bankrupt your student loan debt, but you could just leave the US.

    I'm not trying to aggravate Mr. Luna, but some people have left the US to avoid student loan debt and even credit card bills.

    Learning How to Fight Back Against Debt Collectors

    50 Ways to Leave Your Banker

    50 Ways to Leave Your Banker: What Happened When One Man Just Refused
    to Pay $80,000 in Credit Card Debt

    Better Off Deadbeat: Craig Cunningham Has a Simple Solution for
    Getting Bill Collectors Off His Back. He Sues Them.

    "Katz doesn't believe that people are morally obligated to pay back
    their debts. That notion was invented by debt collectors as a way to beat people into submission, he says. "Bill collectors would love for you to send them a check and then explain to your kids because you have the moral obligation to pay your debt they're not eating this week," he says. "But they don't see the moral obligation to feed your children or yourself."

    RJ, I'm not doing well for myself right now. I've got epilepsy, and I'm trying to follow some of Mr. Luna's advice and get a nest egg together to go and try some alternative treatments. I would be homeless if not for my dear brother taking care of me right now.

    RJ, I wish you well my friend. If you have your health, I would seriously consider joining the US Army and becoming a linguist (you're not too old, and you would have free housing, and if you didn't want to retire, you could always work for the NSA.) or leaving all your debt behind, and moving to China and becoming an ESL teacher. See Dave's ESL cafe for job listings and his forum. Good luck!

    PS-Mr. Luna, I know that I posted a lot, but I'm just trying to pass on some other ideas that might help others. And of course, besides all of Mr. Luna's books RJ, I also recommend such books like Travel Trailer Homesteading, Living Well on Practically Nothing and Timely and profitable help for troubled Americans.

  8. My grandfather always told us not to use credit cards or debt of any kind. Whenever I have, which is now many years ago, it always got me into trouble. Now, I don't have any type of debt! I do rent, am saving to buy a house, a hurdle to pay for in cash that can be overcome, IF I decide I want to do it - I may always be a renter. I use a prepaid debit card for some online purchase, Netflix, etc (that isn't tied to me) and the rest is all cash.

  9. I inherited about 100k several years ago (before I discovered "HTBI") I gave half to a destitute relative, and spent the other half on myself and after taxes, I supported myself for a year and a half while I was out of work. The "destitute relative" moved overseas and paid cash for a house that he built, now he has a small farm with livestock, garden, and a home he owns in the clear. He is far from "civilization" in the Rif mountains of Northern Morocco. I am still out of work, and barely making ends meet. I could have done the same as he but I was afraid of packing up and leaving! How I wish I could have traded places. But not all folks are willing to leave the USA. I say, leave while you CAN.

  10. RJ,

    The quote was, "Neither a lender nor borrower be..."

    You link goes to Proverbs 22:7 7 "Poor people are slaves of the rich. Borrow money and you are the lender's slave."

    These are different things.

    Shakespeare may have borrowed a biblical principle - but the fact remains that in no translation or version of the bible does the quote "Neither a lender nor borrower be..." exist. It should not be mis-attributed to the bible due to tradition.

  11. The reason people can not see how to live without going into debt is because they believe all their conditioning. You do not have to buy a house.

    You could build one. You can buy one for no money down and the owner carries the paper.

    You do not have to have car payments. Do like the poor do - share a car and save up until you can buy a really cheap one and then trade up as needed.

    People THINK they need debt because they want things NOW and do not want to wait.

    They don't know the difference between necessities (water, food, shelter) and luxuries - everything else - although I do admit I am very fond of certain luxuries - like hot running water. (Even off grid you can rig solar water showers for almost free hot water.)

    We think we "need" a college degree which is how corporations control people and string them along longer. If they want you they seem to forget you have to have another degree. IBM bugged me for years to go into management while they strung along two fellow techs who wanted management by telling them to get their M.S. but I only had an A.A. and they didn't care.

    College is a bad idea that costs too much now and there are tons of unemployed college degree holders. Find someone who is brilliant at what you think you want to do. Go to work for them - for free at first if need be. Prove yourself and insist on being fairly paid (but don't let your ego mislead you). Stay with them longer than you think you need to and you will earn money AND a skill you can use to start your own business. You will learn more and not be paying for it!

    We have to throw off all these stupid ideas that we have to kiss up to some government entity for the right to live, work and travel. If more realized those are NOT privileges we are granted as their possessions, but rights we should claim we would have already started repealing and revoking all these ignorant laws, fees, fines, licenses and other impediments to freedom to reduce government back to what it was originally intended to do: protect the borders and very little else.

  12. While JJ Luna is right about not getting into debt, I have observed several people who have left the USA to go elsewhere not being affected by their student loan debts or their credit scores once they leave. And in many cases people who leave the US don't even use their social security number once they leave. This being the case could mean that, if you don't have a number and you head overseas before getting one, that you can exist and thrive without one for many many years.

    Personally I think this "statute of limitations" thing is a counter to the "create money out of thin air" thing that the lenders use against the average (wo)man on the street who borrows. But it's kept very quiet that it exists, while the money is printed and created and an entire nation enslaved . . . even when they don't have to be . . . just due to lack of knowledge.

  13. Someone has suggested to RJ that he consider joining the US Army. And I just cringe every time I see or hear that recommendation presented to someone who is struggling.

    One thing most people are not aware of is, the majority of enlisted people in the US Army qualify for welfare assistance! Yes, the pay is that bad, especially if the service person has a family to support! And OH the things you sacrifice for it! Such as your health, your welfare, and your sanity. Think I'm crazy? I suggest you seek out and learn more about "The Shooter", the one who actually pulled the trigger on OBL. As a "thank you for a job well done" he is now without pension, without medical care for himself or his family, and without safety and security for him, his wife, or his children. Think he needs it? Well, I don't know, let's see . . . Al-Qaeda is actively seeking his identity and location. And no, there is no such thing as a kind of "witness protection" for Navy SEALS!

    By the way, the pension is not technically (legally) a pension. It is a type of employment payment. That means that, unlike with social security, if you should decide to renounce your US citizenship like Tina Turner or Eduardo Saverin did, you lose the income you've worked so hard and sacrificed for the day you do.

    I could go on and on as to why I think the military is such a bad idea, but take it from me (former USAF), FIND ANOTHER WAY TO SOLVE YOUR PROBLEM!

  14. I am not advocating for committing fraud AT ALL, but since the banksters have committed fraud against the hard-working among us, I'd like to let a gigantic secret out of the bag, a secret the lenders do not want the majority of the public to ever know.

    There is such a thing called "statute of limitations". You may have heard of it in relation to the crime of murder, stated as "there is no statute of limitations on murder". However, if you take a look at the opposite of what that statement says, it at the very least implies that there is a statute of limitations on everything else. YES, EVERYTHING . . . including your debts!

    Now this statute of limitations does not apply to student loans, but only because the private lenders who grant student loans hired lobbyists who campaigned to our "elected leaders" to grant their industry an exemption to this rule. So credit cards and most other unsecured debt DOES have a statute of limitations in the USA, which means that after a certain time period (varied by state law) the debt becomes uncollectible . . . but only if you follow certain things within the law. And the first thing is, you have to PROPERLY CALL THE COLLECTORS OUT ON IT. In other words, if you don't know this then they will hound you forever demanding their money even long after you are no longer legally required to pay. And if you don't know this then the collectors can trick you into resetting the clock to start all over again, which is the bare minimum they seek to do when they hound you repeatedly about repayment.

    Each state has a different length of time before a debt falls into the situation where it can no longer be enforced due to the statute of limitations. And although my understanding may be wrong (I'm not a lawyer), I was under the impression it's all about where the DEBTOR lives, not where the creditor operates from. There are a lot of UGLY UGLY collectors out there who break laws in order to get their money. And you can learn about this and how to legally fight back, as well as other details that may be of interest to your particular situation by searching the web for credit-related websites that provide info on how best to fight back. There is a ton of info in the forums of some of these sites on how to fight back against the ugliness of the debt collection industry, and they cover just about every segment of it. There are charts out there where you can find a list state by state of what the statute of limitations is for those in the USA, after which the debt becomes unenforceable unless the debtor does something that resets the clock.

    The true beauty of the statute of limitations, though, is that after you get the collectors to go away you can then dispute away the negatives on your credit report by stating to the credit bureaus that the debt is beyond the statute of limitations. The credit bureaus are supposed to remove this type of debt from your file once it gets past that point. However, you have to battle it out with them because many times the debt reappears later even when it's not supposed to be there . . . which also happens when you PAY the debt. It's not in the credit bureaus' interests for your file to be accurate, because they make more money when it's not. Your file with wrong bad info in it gets you a denial that gets you to apply someplace else. Maybe you get approved at the second place, at a higher interest rate (benefiting the lenders) but the credit bureaus have now sold 2 or 3 reports instead of the 1 they would have sold if the info would have been 100% accurate in the first place!

  15. More advice for RJ . . .

    What if instead of setting aside money for retirement you used the funds to start an online business? You could look into Fulfillment By Amazon, and likely be able to find things to sell at your local Goodwill store. There's a lot more to it than that, but with the savings from the retirement now going into the "start a business" fund you will likely be able to flip a few finds to increase the pool of money on a pretty regular basis. Your qualified retirement investment is highly unlikely to do that and with the shrinking buying power of the dollar it's likely your retirement money will not buy you enough to live on when you actually need it in order to retire.

    It does not take a lot to get started, and through Amazon's FBA program they will do all the heavy lifting involved in selling things online, things they are set up to do more efficiently than we could ever do on our own.

  16. RJ, There are a couple of things you can do.

    There's a guy named Lamar who has a website called simplesolarhomesteading, and he shows you how to build a cabin for fewer than $2000 and not be a debt slave to the system. He's got a step-by-step ebook, or you can see enough from his videos to get the idea. I, too, am stuck in Alaska, far away from family and missing them. I have been giving thought to selling my house for a loss, losing most of my equity, and opting for a very simple home that can be paid for in cash, so that I will not be giving $600,000 to a non-working banker over a 30 year period for a house that's only worth $200,000. JJ Luna is so right-on when he tells you never to borrow money ever. I wish I got such advice and heeded it much earlier in life.

    While the blog thread is mentioning bible verses, there's another one in Psalm 37:21 that says "the wicked one is borrowing and does not pay back..." So, if you can, it's good to try to pay back your debts. Something that may help you rapidly increase your ability to pay back the debts you owe and get on your feet is something I have done--learn something that your public education system (with it's curriculum highly influenced by a self-serving federal government) intentionally failed to teach you: the law and the Constitution. More specifically, the fantastic truth about the income tax. There is a book called "Cracking the Code--The Fascinating Truth about Taxation in America" (available free online as a PDF) by a researcher, analyst, and legal scholar who became the first of tens of thousands of Americans to present the correct legal arguments to the IRS to permit those working in the private sector (95%+ of all Americans) to keep all of their private sector earnings--there are hundreds of full 100% refund checks from the IRS (and 38 state versions of the IRS) by people who have learned and upheld the law. I used this information to pay off my $21,000 student loan just last week. So, as a start to helping you more quickly pay off your debts, you might be interested in looking up this book to see how to force the IRS to recognize your legal right to keep all of your money that you earn. If you work for the Federal Government in rural Alaska or get paid by the federal government, this information will have limited use to you, but if you are like 95% of us working in the private sector, this will prove to be immensely useful to helping you do the right thing and pay back your debts. And, it is our civic duty also to help government agencies as well as companies for whom we work to know and uphold tax law. Just knowing this part of the law is a big help to push back against the legalized counterfeiting and other widespread fraud being engaged in by the Federal Reserve and international banksters.

    best regards,



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