Money Quote: A man in debt is so far a slave.

Ralph Waldo Emerson Quote

“A man in debt is so far a slave.” ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

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Irina Vasilescu

Irina Vasilescu is our money-saving and DIY expert and also the editor-in-chief as she's always on the lookout for the latest online deals.


  • This is something that often crosses my mind. Debt aside, materialism and hedonism are relevant too. When we focus on chasing those two luxuries our lives become very repetitive and slavish. Work, gather some money together, spend it on materialistic and hedonistic pleasures, then repeat. The two wants are an insatiable desire. We’re always going to want more. People live and work simply to feed them. They’re enslaved to it if they let it lead their lives. Nowadays, it appears this is the accepted lifestyle of our culture.

  • I am a slave to work or slave drive myself as I call it. I work at home but have been in debt since 2010. And I am still trying to pay it off. I won’t be able to take a true break until this is done and out of the way for good.

  • I think many workers are “slaves”, even if they don’t have debts to speak of. Mostly because they WANT so much, more than they need, and they cannot work enough to get it all… They are slaves to their consumerism and to their materialism, and they accept to work so many hours of their lives away just so that they can buy more junk that they barely get a use of . I would much rather work in a field I love, the hours I need, than have all sorts of luxuries. Sadly for us, we don’t always have the benefit of choosing our working hours, so we are also slaves in this way.

  • Yes, I agree, a person who is in debt is a slave, a slave who works in order to pay someone else. If a person is working, only to get paid money from that job in order to pay a debt, then that person is a slave. If you have debt, even if you have money in your bank account, it is not really yours if in reality it is owed to another. Being in debt is not a good place to be.

  • A slave to money? Even without debts, aren’t we all slaves to it? We spend time to get money only to spend it. Yet, the ones in debts are those slaves with little hope of freedom unless they pay them all up. They are slaves that are free in the morning but their thoughts are captive at night. Seized by the anxiety and gripped by fear…that someone will come after them. Be it their friends, collections, the bank, and so on.

  • I don’t necessarily agree with the statement because debt is intrinsically part of our current world economic system. There is such a thing as necessary debt. Show me a successful business that hasn’t taken out loans or traded futures. This is acceptable because not everybody is paid at they same time they need the money. Humans operate at different schedules. It’s a part of the human condition to find compromises on these schedules. One such compromise is debt. Are we slaves if we’ve taken out a loan to supplement our business which will only start earning five months from now? The only thing that will make us slaves I think, is our irresponsibility when it comes to money.

  • It’s important to find the balance of what we need, versus what we have the means to afford. Too many people can’t wait for their next paycheck to get something they want, and they end up suffering in the long run.

  • That’s true. I think being in debt is really difficult, especially for those who have a loan and have to pay it back, it’s such a difficult situation. Being a slave to debt is also very damaging, when it comes to life, I always recommend everyone not to take a loan, not to go under your balance, never to have a credit card and lose money, buy only if you can, if you don’t have, don’t buy. I think it’s important to not be a slave to the system.

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