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92 Quotes About Debt That’ll Make You Think, Laugh, & Tweet!

in Pay Off Your Debt

I love quotes.  In fact, I can’t get enough of them!

A passionate quote can provoke thought, encourage laughter, or inspire thousands into action.

Originally, I set out to compose a resource of famous quotes about debt to enrich my own projects, but it quickly became obvious that I needed to share this list so everyone could benefit.

I didn’t want to just post a bullet point list of all the quotes, so what I did was compile those which were short enough to be quoted on Twitter. Of course, you don’t need Twitter to draw inspiration from the list!

For those of you who do use Twitter here are some benefits of this list:

  • All quotes are designed to be 120 character or less (so they can easily be RT’d by others).
  • I’ve included a ‘Retweet This Quote’ button, which will automatically fill in your Twitter profile with the quote (you will still be able to edit and hit ‘update’ before it actually posts it).
  • Using the button will also add a link back to this resource on the end of the shorter quotes (where there was room).
  • Alternatively, you can just copy/paste them directly into your Twitter or Facebook clients.

If you find this resource valuable, please consider sharing it with your friends!  I’d like as many people as possible to be able to use this in the future.  I’ve highlighted a couple of my favorites.

Don’t forget to follow @ManVsDebt!  Here we go…

So true…

“Some debts are fun when you are acquiring them, but none are fun when you set about retiring them.”
-Ogden Nash
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“Good times are when people make debts to pay in bad times.”
-Robert Quinlin
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“What can be added to the happiness of a man who is in health, out of debt, and has a clear conscience?”
-Adam Smith
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“It is the debtor that is ruined by hard times.”
-Rutherford B. Hayes
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“We all think we’re going to get out of debt.”
-Louie Anderson
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“The man who never has money enough to pay his debts has too much of something else.”
-James Lendall Basford
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“I’m in debt. I am a true American.”
-Balki Bartokomous
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Proverbs, Sayings, and Unknown

“He who promises runs in debt.”
-The Talmud
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“It is poor judgment to countersign another’s note, to become responsible for his debts.”
-Bible
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“Debts are like children: the smaller they are the more noise they make.”
-Spanish Proverb
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“Interest on debts grow without rain.”
-Yiddish Proverb
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“There are four things every person has more of than they know; sins, debt, years, and foes.”
-Persian Proverb
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“The only man who sticks closer to you in adversity than a friend is a creditor.”
-Unknown
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“Before borrowing money from a friend, decide which you need most.”
-American Proverb
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“In God we trust; all others must pay cash.”
-American Proverb
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“Promises make debt, and debt makes promises.”
-Dutch Proverb
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“Christmas is the season when you buy this year’s gifts with next year’s money.”
-Unknown
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“A hundred wagon loads of thoughts will not pay a single ounce of debt.”
-Italian Proverb
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“Running into debt isn’t so bad. It’s running into creditors that hurts.”
-Unknown
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“A church debt is the devil’s salary.”
-Henry Ward Beecher
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“The borrower is servant to the lender.”
-The Bible
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Benjamin Franklin (and other dudes like him)

“Rather go to bed supperless, than rise in debt.”
-Benjamin Franklin
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“When you get in debt you become a slave.”
-Andrew Jackson
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“Tis against some mens principle to pay interest, and seems against others interest to pay the principle.”
-Benjamin Franklin
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“The second vice is lying, the first is running in debt.”
-Benjamin Franklin
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“Never spend your money before you have it.”
-Thomas Jefferson
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“Lying rides upon debt’s back.”
-Benjamin Franklin
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“I say to you never involve yourself in debt, and become no man’s surety.”
-Andrew Jackson
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“Creditors have better memories than debtors.”
-Benjamin Franklin
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“Buy what thou hast no Need of and ere long thou shalt sell thy Necessaries.”
-Benjamin Franklin
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“Live within your means, never be in debt, and by husbanding your money you can always lay it out well.”
-Andrew Jackson
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“Those have a short Lent, who owe money to be paid at Easter.”
-Benjamin Franklin
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Funny…  well, some of them at least…

“If I owe you a pound, I have a problem; but if I owe you a million, the problem is yours.”
-John Maynard Keynes
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“If you think nobody cares if you’re alive, try missing a couple of car payments.”
-Earl Wilson
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“This would be a much better world if more married couples were as deeply in love as they are in debt.”
-Earl Wilson
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“When a man is in love or in debt, someone else has the advantage.”
-Bill Balance
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“Debt, n.  An ingenious substitute for the chain and whip of the slavedriver.”
-Ambrose Bierce
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“No man’s credit is as good as his money.”
-E.W. Howe
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“Today, there are three kinds of people:  the have’s, the have-not’s, and the have-not-paid-for-what-they-have’s.”
-Earl Wilson
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“Forgetfulness. A gift of God bestowed upon debtors in compensation for their destitution of conscience.”
-Ambrose Bierce
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“Some people use one half their ingenuity to get into debt, and the other half to avoid paying it.”
-George Prentice
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“A man who pays his bills on time is soon forgotten.”
-Oscar Wilde
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“I like my players to be married and in debt. That’s the way you motivate them.”
-Ernie Banks
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“Ten million dollars after I’d become a star I was deeply in debt.”
-Sammy Davis, Jr.
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Writer’s writers

“A man in debt is so far a slave.”
-Ralph Waldo Emerson
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“He that dies pays all debts.”
-William Shakespeare
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“Debts are nowadays like children begot with pleasure, but brought forth in pain.”
-Moliere
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“Wouldst thou shut up the avenues of ill, Pay every debt as if God wrote the bill.”
-Ralph Waldo Emerson
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“Neither a borrower nor a lender be; for loan doth oft lose both itself and friend.”
-William Shakespeare
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“Debts and lies are generally mixed together.”
-Francois Rabelais
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“There are but two ways of paying debt: Increase of industry in raising income, increase of thrift in laying out.”
-Thomas Carlyle
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“Poets, like friends to whom you are in debt, you hate.”
-William Wycherley
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“He looks the whole world in the face for he owes not any man.”
-Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
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“Who goeth a borrowing. Goeth a sorrowing.”
-Thomas Tusser
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“Debt is the worst poverty.”
-Thomas Fuller
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“Speak not of my debts unless you mean to pay them.”
-George Herbert
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“Youth is in danger until it learns to look upon debts as furies.”
-Edward G. Bulwer-Lytton
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“Small debts are like small shot; they are rattling on every side, and can scarcely be escaped without a wound.”
-Samuel Johnson
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“Do not accustom yourself to consider debt only as an inconvenience; you will find it a calamity.”
-Samuel Johnson
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Government, Politics, and other boring topics

“Blessed are the young, for they shall inherit the national debt.”
-Herbert Hoover
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“I found this national debt, doubled, wrapped in a big bow waiting for me as I stepped into the Oval Office.”
-Barack Obama
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“A liberal is someone who feels a great debt to his fellow man; a debt he proposes to pay off with your money.”
-Gordon Liddy
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“I go on the principle that a public debt is a public curse.”
-James Madison
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“A billion here, a billion there, sooner or later it adds up to real money.”
-Everett Dirksen
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“You cannot spend your way out of recession or borrow your way out of debt.”
-Daniel Hannan
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“Debt is a prolific mother of folly and of crime.”
-Benjamin Disraeli
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“Simply put, unsustainable debt is helping to keep too many poor countries and poor people in poverty.”
-Bill Clinton
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Modern ‘Gurus’

“Debt is dumb. Cash is king.”
-Dave Ramsey
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“Debt can turn a free, happy person into a bitter human being.”
-Michael Mihalik
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“Chains of habit are too light to be felt until they are too heavy to be broken.”
-Warren Buffett
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“If you’re thinking of debt, that’s what you’re going to attract.”
-Bob Proctor
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“Debt is normal. Be weird.”
-Dave Ramsey
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“If you have debt I’m willing to bet that general clutter is a problem for you too.”
-Suze Orman
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Kickin’ it Old School

“Debt is the slavery of the free.”
-Publilius Syrus
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“A small debt produces a debtor; a large one, an enemy.”
-Publilius Syrus
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“Crito, I owe a cock to Asclepius; will you remember to pay the debt?”
-Socrates
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“It shows nobility to be willing to increase your debt to a man to whom you already owe much.”
-Cicero
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“It is thrifty to prepare today for the wants of tomorrow.”
-Aesop
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Hard to categorize quotes…

“It takes as much imagination to create debt as to create income.”
-Leonard Orr
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“A habit of debt is very injurious to the memory.”
-Austin O’Malley
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“In the long run we shall have to pay our debts at a time that may be very inconvenient for our survival.”
-Norbert Wiener
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“The impulse dances inside the debt.”
-Jareb Teague
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“A mortgage casts a shadow on the sunniest field.”
-Robert Green Ingersoll
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“One of the greatest disservices you can do a man is to lend him money that he can’t pay back.”
-Jesse Jones
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“Debt is like any other trap, easy enough to get into, but hard enough to get out of.”
-Henry Wheeler Shaw
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“Many delight more in giving of presents than in paying their debts.”
-Sir Philip Sidney
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“Wars in old times were made to get slaves. The modern implement of imposing slavery is debt.”
-Ezra Pound
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“Home life ceases to be free and beautiful as soon as it is founded on borrowing and debt.”
-Henrik Ibsen
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“Debt is the secret foe of thrift, as vice and idleness are its open enemies.”
-James H. Aughey
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“Worrying is like paying on a debt that may never come due.”
-Will Rogers
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“One can pay back the loan of gold, but one lies forever in debt to those who are kind.”
-Malcolm Forbes
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Grand Finale!

“Don’t let your mouth write no check that your tail can’t cash.”
-Bo Diddley
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Thanks to Andrew Norcross for his last minute help with the tweet graphic!  Follow: @Norcross.

Which quote is your personal favorite?  Have a great quote on debt that I forgot to include (I’ll add it)?  Let me know in the comments below!

{ 32 comments… read them below or add one }

Jeff October 19, 2009 at 10:36 AM

Great quotes, baker. So many ring so true to the current times, especially the one saying “Good times are when people make debts to pay in bad times.”
I think the problem is that when times are rosy, it’s assumed that things are always going to be rosy, and when times are bad, the opposite is true. It’s not always going to be great times, and it’s not always going to be bad times…..
As they say in the movie BLOW….
“Sometimes you’re flush and sometimes you’re bust, and when you’re up, it’s never as good as it seems, and when you’re down, you never think you’ll be up again, but life goes on.”
.-= Jeff´s last blog ..My Net Worth =-.

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Baker October 19, 2009 at 1:13 PM

I agree! Another favorite quote of mine (not sure if originally Dave Ramsey or not):

“Even a turkey can fly in a tornado.”

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Michelle Traudt October 19, 2009 at 10:47 AM

These are great quotes. Thanks for sharing them with us!
.-= Michelle Traudt´s last blog ..God Loves Me Even Though He Knows My Past =-.

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B Kinch October 19, 2009 at 11:00 AM

“One of the greatest disservices you can do a man is to lend him money that he can’t pay back.”
-Jesse Jones

This is my favorite. I wish this ruled the world! My dad has “loaned” me money a couple of times, and both times when I’ve asked to make some kind of payment plan, he’s welcomed me to pay it back if I ever become ridiculously wealthy. Short of that, I’m to consider it a gift.

I try to have the same attitude. I don’t loan money. I’m rarely in a position to, but if I find a can spare a $20 for a friend in need, I make it a gift. A loan when someone is in a tough spot just makes everything so much worse.
.-= B Kinch´s last blog ..10 thoughts on 7 days of 200 channels =-.

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Baker October 19, 2009 at 1:14 PM

That is definitely one of my top 3, as well. I agree with you completely. If you want to give… give. That’s our philosophy.

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Diggy - Upgradereality.com October 19, 2009 at 11:09 AM

Both thumbs UP Adam :)
.-= Diggy – Upgradereality.com´s last blog ..Be True to Yourself – Tyler Durden Style =-.

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Neal@Wealth Pilgrim October 19, 2009 at 11:33 AM

DUDE!

Are you insane????? These are so fantastic…..I’ll have to take the day off work just to digest all the wisdom you’ve laid at my feet.

Love it!
.-= Neal@Wealth Pilgrim´s last blog ..3 Reasons Why You Are A Genius For Not Investing In Gold (Now or Ever) =-.

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MarliO October 19, 2009 at 12:00 PM

LOVE the list. Thanks!

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Jill MacGregor October 19, 2009 at 12:43 PM

Yum! I love quotes, too! Thanks for this heaping helping!
Take Care,
Jill
.-= Jill MacGregor´s last blog ..Lucid Dreaming =-.

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MLR October 19, 2009 at 12:49 PM

Indeed, Billy boy! Dug it!

(“Simply put, unsustainable debt is helping to keep too many poor countries and poor people in poverty.”
-Bill Clinton)

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Kosmo @ The Casual Observer October 19, 2009 at 1:03 PM

This one is my favorite.

“Those have a short Lent, who owe money to be paid at Easter.”

Why? Because I’m a Catholic, and the meatless Fridays make lent very long for me.

(Yeah, I know, vegetarian is healthier … ain’t gonna happen.)
.-= Kosmo @ The Casual Observer´s last blog ..Why I Hate HSBC (again) =-.

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Baker October 19, 2009 at 1:17 PM

Remember, you can be a fat vegetarian, too… *looks around*

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Jun Loayza October 19, 2009 at 1:05 PM

My favorite quote:

“Before borrowing money from a friend, decide which you need most.”

I am Tweeting it now :)

How long did it take you to write this?
.-= Jun Loayza´s last blog ..True happiness or Settling for less? =-.

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Baker October 19, 2009 at 1:17 PM

Way longer than I estimated. o.O

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KelsaLynn October 19, 2009 at 1:25 PM

LOVE IT! I love quotes! I uploaded one of them to my facebook- the 6th from the top from Basford. I’m bookmarking this post because I like it so much!
.-= KelsaLynn´s last blog ..Frannie is a wench =-.

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Suzanne October 19, 2009 at 1:38 PM

An addition:

It is neither wealth nor splendor; but tranquility and occupation which give you happiness.

- Thomas Jefferson

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Marko October 19, 2009 at 3:54 PM

My fav quote, and I admit it freely, from personal experience is:

“Debt is like any other trap, easy enough to get into, but hard enough to get out of.”

So true, it is hard to get out of the trap – but possible. :-)
.-= Marko´s last blog ..It’s Not Just About the Money =-.

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Ignacio Kehyaian October 19, 2009 at 4:37 PM

Hi Baker!!! I am following you for a month. It´s my first comment. I think I was wrong when I believed that my country was undeveloped because there is no credit available for entrepeneurs !!!! But far from being undeveloped, I think we are blessed….
I believe, that debt is debt, is neutral. We should be responsible when dealing with it.

Congratulations for the blog, is very interesting. Regards.

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Ken Faulkenberry October 19, 2009 at 9:50 PM

Good stuff. Fun way to deliver needed truths.

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Financial Samurai October 20, 2009 at 12:30 AM

Love all the quotes Baker! Thanks for gathering them up.

My favorite is, “Confucious say go through airport turnstile sideways and go Bangkok!”
.-= Financial Samurai´s last blog ..Go To Grad School, Get Rich Or Die Trying =-.

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Anthony K. October 20, 2009 at 1:02 AM

I had two favorites from this list.

The first one: “I like my players to be married and in debt. That’s the way you motivate them.” -Ernie Banks
That one really made me laugh. As a baseball fan, some players really do give us memorable quotes (on not just about the sport) that many people can relate to (I am both married and in debt…..coincidence?).

The second one: “Debt is normal. Be weird.” -Dave Ramsey
I do not know much about Mr. Ramsey, but I have noticed he has quite the head on his shoulders when it comes to debt and finances. He had a few other good quotes up there, but this one topped the list for me.

Thanks for the list of quotes Baker. I have “borrowed” some from you to motivate me to further stay on top of my finances (And to help me continue to work on my debt).

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South Texas October 21, 2009 at 12:04 AM

One of my favorites from Dr.Phil: “It’s just math. It doesn’t matter how much you think you deserve it, you can either afford it or you can’t!”

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Kerri October 25, 2009 at 8:26 PM

Fantastic compilation! Very thorough and well organized. Thanks for all the work; I enjoyed this and will refer back!

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KimC January 22, 2010 at 6:38 PM

Thanks for giving me the link. I found some real gems, and used many of these in my quote generator!

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KimC January 22, 2010 at 6:39 PM

oops – just realized it was one of your readers who gave me the link. I thought you left the comment yourself. [looks around sheepishly]

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Tracy Needham January 14, 2012 at 3:13 PM

I know your post is a few years old, but you had so many great quotes, I had to add a few of my favorites:

“A bank is a place that will lend you money if you can prove that you don’t need it.” – Bob Hope

“Being pre-approved for a credit card does not mean you have to apply for it.” –
Stephen Colbert

“Procrastination is like a credit card: it’s a lot of fun until you get the bill.” -
Christopher Parker

“Friendship, like credit, is highest when it is not used.” – Elbert Hubbard

“Buying on the installment plan makes the months shorter and the years longer.” -Anonymous

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Deane Alban June 28, 2012 at 10:56 AM

Tracy, I love your first quote. I’ve heard that before but couldn’t remember the source. I’m impressed that was Bob Hope. He did a lot of one-liners that were pretty corny, but this one is a classic!

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Bob March 29, 2012 at 10:57 PM

I love quotes too! Great way to get inspired, change your thinking, or just get a good laugh. I will definitely be bookmarking this page.

Thanks!

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Alan September 17, 2012 at 8:37 PM

Great list. Let me add one. I don’t remember who to tribute
“Those that understand interest, earn it. Those that don’t understand it, pay it. Be a good student of interest”. And Albert Einstein. “Compound interest is the 8th wonder of the world”. Dave Ramsey. “Bank of America – Doofus’ On Parade”.

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brady October 25, 2012 at 9:45 AM

all of these quotes were super help full for my debate project. thanks for all of the quotes. And keep them coming

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Dave April 24, 2013 at 4:39 PM

Great blog, very impressive stories on the rest of site. Had fun reading these quotes.

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Alan April 24, 2013 at 11:43 PM

“Pay the debt thou have contracted with the printer. Release thyself from bondage.” Doctrine and Covenants 19:35 as spoken by Jesus Christ. http://www.lds.org. Website of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (the Mormons).

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