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60 Powerful Quotes About Debt

We all need a little financial inspiration every now and then. When you’re trying to dig your way out of a hole, sometimes it feels like the debt is overwhelming.

It’s important to realize that many other people have been there as well. And a lot of them have said profound things about debt.

If you’re feeling stuck or frustrated, here are some inspirational quotes about debt to provide motivation.

quotes about debt to inspire

Taking on debt

These personal finance quotes were penned by people who know quite a bit about what it’s like to take on debt.

  1. “Never have a debt payment of more than 25% of your take-home pay.” – Dave Ramsey
  2. “Your student loan debt will not be discharged in bankruptcy. It is the Velcro of all debts.” – Suze Orman
  3. “A bank is a place that will lend you money if you can prove that you don’t need it.”- Bob Hope
  4. “To preserve their independence, we must not let our rules load us with perpetual debt. We must make our election between economy and liberty, or profusion and servitude.” – Thomas Jefferson
  5. “Rather go to bed without dinner than to rise in debt.” – Benjamin Franklin
  6. “Never a borrower nor a lender be.” – William Shakespeare
  7. “A national debt, if it is not excessive, will be to us a national blessing.” – Alexander Hamilton
  8. “When you get in debt you become a slave.” – Andrew Jackson
  9. “Anyone who lives within their means suffers from a lack of imagination.” – Oscar Wilde

Paying off debt

These are some motivational quotes about paying your debts.

  1. “We tend to focus on assets and forget about debts. Financial security requires facing up to the big picture-assets minus debts” – Suze Orman
  2. “We buy things we don’t need with money we don’t have to impress people we don’t like.”- Dave Ramsey
  3. “It is incumbent on every generation to pay its own debts as it goes. A principle which if acted on would save one-half the wars of the world.” – Thomas Jefferson
  4. “If you would know the value of money, try to borrow some.” – Benjamin Franklin
  5. “He that dies pays all debts.” – William Shakespeare
  6. “You load sixteen tons, what do you get? Another day older and deeper in debt.” – Merle Travis
  7. “I say to you never involve yourself in debt, and become no man’s surety.” – Andrew Jackson
  8. “It is only by not paying one’s bills that one can hope to live in the memory of the commercial classes.” – Oscar Wilde
  9. “Debts are like children – begot with pleasure, but brought forth with pain.” – Moliere
  10. “A man who pays his bills on time is soon forgotten.” – Oscar Wilde
  11. “Debt is a trap, especially student debt, which is enormous, far larger than credit card debt. It’s a trap for the rest of your life because the laws are designed so that you can’t get out of it. If a business, say, gets in too much debt, it can declare bankruptcy, but individuals can almost never be relieved of student debt through bankruptcy.” – Noah Choamsky
  12. “There are but two ways of paying debt-increase of industry in raising income, increase of thrift in laying out.” – Thomas Carlyle
  13. “A hundred wagon loads of thoughts will not pay a single ounce of debt.” – Italian proverb

The burden of debt

Having too much debt can be a bad thing in the long run. Here are some quotes about how much of a burden debt can be.

  1. “In January we start saving money, getting out of credit card debt, funding our retirement accounts, and we’re doing wonderful. Then, every single year like clockwork, starting in November, all of you fall into this trap that says, ‘I have to buy this gift… I can’t show up at this party and not have something for everybody.” Suze Orman
  2. “Act your wage.” – Dave Ramsey
  3. “Money is a terrible master but an excellent servant.” – P.T. Barnum
  4. “It is the debtor that is ruined by hard times.” – Rutherford B. Hayes
  5. “Debt is the prolific mother of folly and of crime.” – Benjamin Disraeli
  6. “The debt is like a crazy aunt we keep down in the basement. All the neighbors know she’s there, but nobody wants to talk about her!” – H. Ross Perot
  7. “Small debts are like small shot; they are rattling on every side, and can scarcely be escaped without a wound: great debts are like cannon; of loud noise, but little danger.” – Samuel Johnson
  8. “One must have some sort of occupation nowadays. If I hadn’t my debts I shouldn’t have anything to think about.” – Oscar Wilde
  9. “Good times are when people make debts to pay in bad times.” – Robert Quinlan
  10. “Some debts are fun when you are acquiring them, but none are fun when you set about retiring them.” – Ogden Nash
  11. “Debt is the slavery of the free.” – Publilius Syrus
  12. “Wars in old times were made to get slaves. The modern implement of imposing slavery is debt.” – Ezra Pound
  13. “Creditors have better memories than debtors.” – Benjamin Franklin
  14. “If you think nobody cares if you’re alive, try missing a couple of car payments.” – Earl Wilson
  15. “The man who never has money enough to pay his debts has too much of something else.” – James Lendall Basford
  16. “Debt is the worst poverty.” – Thomas Fuller

Making and saving money

Sometimes, people get into debt because they’re spending too much money before they have even earned it. These quotes are about not spending next year’s money today.

  1. “Never spend your money before you have earned it.” – Thomas Jefferson
  2. “If you owe your bank a hundred pounds, you have a problem. But if you owe a million, it has.” – John Maynard Keynes
  3. DEBT, n. An ingenious substitute for the chain and whip of the slave-driver. As, pent in an aquarium, the troutlet Swims round and round his tank to find an outlet, Pressing his nose against the glass that holds him, Nor ever sees the prison that enfolds him; So the poor debtor, seeing naught around him, Yet feels the narrow limits that impound him, Grieves at his debt and studies to evade it, And finds at last he might as well have paid it. – Ambrose Bierce
  4. “Pay every debt as if God wrote the bill” – Ralph Waldo Emerson
  5. “Knock out a small debt first so you get a quick win. Momentum is key.” – Dave Ramsey
  6. “It’s very tempting to spend more than you earn, it’s very understandable, but it’s not a good idea.” – Warren Buffett

The impact of debt on living your life

Debt can impact your quality of life. In addition to impeding your financial goals, having a lot of bad debt can impact your overall quality of life.

  1. “Put your life in service to your values rather than putting your time in service to money.” – Vicki Robin
  2. “You know what you can do when you don’t have any payments? Anything you want.” – Dave Ramsey
  3. “If a man owes me money, I never seem to forget. But if I do the owing, I somehow never remember.” – Aristophanes
  4. “We must not let our rulers load us with perpetual debt.” – Thomas Jefferson
  5. “What can be added to the happiness of a man who is in good health, out of debt, and has a clear conscience?” – Adam Smith.
  6. “It is very iniquitous to make me pay debts, you have no idea, of the pain it gives one.” – Lord Byron
  7. “I learned early on what debt means, how vulnerable it makes people, what the security of owning a home means.” – Elizabeth Warren

Quotes about our nation’s debts

Debt isn’t just a factor in your personal life. The United States often increases the public debt to solve the next crisis. Here are some quotes about people considering our public debts.

  1. “Never has so much been owed by so many to so few.” – Winston Churchill
  2. “We can never truly repay the debt we owe our fallen heroes. But we can remember them, honor their sacrifice, and affirm in our own lives those enduring ideals of justice, equality, and opportunity for which generations of Americans have given that last full measure of devotion.” – Barack Obama
  3. “I could end the deficit in 5 minutes. You just pass a law that says that anytime there is a deficit of more than 3% of GDP all sitting members of congress are ineligible for reelection.” – Warren Buffett
  4. “I will guarantee if you run up big credit card debts, you will be in trouble probably the rest of your life in terms of your financial situation. On the other hand, if you get ahead of the game, even on a modest scale, so that money is coming in from investing and people owe you money or equities owe you ownership, you’ll be way ahead of the game as opposed to you owing your creditors every month. So my advice to you is: if you can’t pay for it, don’t buy it.” – Warren Buffett
  5. “When national debts have once been accumulated to a certain degree, there is scarce, I believe, a single instance of their having been fairly and completely paid. The liberation of the public revenue, if it has ever been brought about at all, has always been brought about by bankruptcy; sometimes by an avowed one, but always by a real one, though frequently by a pretend payment.” – Adam Smith
  6. “Blessed are the young, for they shall inherit our nation’s debts.” – Herbert Hoover
  7. “We owe the Greatest Generation a debt we can never repay.” – Tommy Tuberville
  8. “College costs continue to rise, and student loan debt threatens to price many Americans out of a college education and out of the middle class.” – Dianne Feinstein

Wrapping up

The path to financial freedom is more a marathon than a race. So make sure you’re keeping yourself motivated for the long run!  

It takes more than a few personal finance quotes to keep you on the path to financial success. But the lessons these leaders impart in their magic words have remarkable value.

If you’re looking for other ways to start tightening up your finances, make sure you aren’t making these common personal finance mistakesYou’ll be glad you did.

What other personal finance quotes have you heard that inspired yours?

Leave a comment below and let us know!  Maybe you’ll be able to inspire someone else!