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Looking to Make It Big? Avoid the #1 Success Killer

Aug 17, 2007
I recently had the opportunity to talk to radio talk show host Dave Ramsey. And Dave told me what he considers the biggest killer of success -- debt.

"That sounds very wacky in a business setting, in particular, because going into debt is so normalized. But if you've had three finance classes in your life, you start to realize quickly that debt causes risk. In a sophisticated setting like the stock market, if a company gets too heavy in their debt load, their stock price goes down. The marketplace will devalue them. Why? Because their risk of failure overall is increased.

"The first thing an entrepreneur is going to think when they get a new idea is how they're going to capitalize it. But I've got to tell you, if you look down at the two palms of your hands and look at the gray matter between your ears, that's your capital when you're an entrepreneur.

"Warren Buffet was profiled not long ago in the Wall Street Journal. He gave 10 tips to investors and business people. One of them was, very bluntly, to stay out of debt. When you don't have debt payments, you have lower risk and increased cash flow. He's exactly right!

"In the Forbes 400, the 400 wealthiest people in America were surveyed (and, by the way, 69% of them were first-generation rich). They were asked what the most important key to winning and wealth building in business is. Eighty percent of them said to get out of debt, and stay out of debt. Eighty percent! These are rich guys, not your broke brother-in-law who's been to the Chamber of Commerce lunch once and has an opinion. When I talk to wealthy people, I find them, by and large, to have avoided huge amounts of fatal risk."

And Dave Ramsey knows first hand what it can do. He lost everything when he over-leveraged his real estate holdings. He said, "At one point, I had over $1.2 million in 90-day notes with one lender. That's putting a gun to your head and pulling the trigger. Of course, I didn't know that. I was invincible at 24 years old. I was a genius. So, I got into too much debt and the wrong kind of debt, and then the bank was sold to another bank. They changed management, called in my debt, and I went from genius to idiot in one personnel change."

Debt truly is a success killer!
About the Author
Steve Kroening writes for Success magazine and also publishes Wisdom's Edge. You can get Biblical tips on health, finance, relationships, parenting, and success, delivered to your email inbox every week. Simply visit http://www.wisdomsedge.com and sign up for this free e-zine.
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