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Want to Live Like Daniel Suelo and Quit Money Then Just Don’t Worry About Having Credit

People frequently say to me that after a financial problem they want to avoid credit all together and not worry about rebuilding their credit, even though it’s so easy to do.

The reason they avoid credit is misplaced. It’s not the credit or having good credit that caused the pain they may have experienced because of a financial hardship, it was the debt. It’s cool to want to avoid debt. That can create a life of less stress and more peace. And that’s a goal worth achieving.

But if you extrapolate out the avoidance of playing in the financial system to the extreme, you can aspire to be The Man Who Quit Money.

The idea of giving up money altogether is an anathema to most of us. But living on a gift economy where you freely give and freely receive is just an alternative way to approach life. And truly maybe that’s how you aspire to live.

But if you don’t, then please don’t give up on having good credit, just give up on having bad debt.


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About the author

Steve Rhode

Steve Rhode is the Get Out of Debt Guy and has been helping good people with bad debt problems since 1994. You can learn more about Steve, here.


  • Religion born on the desert? Perhaps, but not quite the way Mr. Suelo implies. Jesus was a carpenter. If he were alive today, he’d probably drive an SUV filled with tools and equipment. And try living in a cave without money if you have children.

    There are millions of people who already live in a virtually cashless society, on about a dollar or less per day. Most of them are starving in abject poverty. Many live in huge  urban areas, where there is presumably a lot of extra stuff that could be given freely, but isn’t.  I’m glad Mr. Suelo is doing well, but I question whether his idea is workable in society at large.

    Money is just a medium of exchange that makes it possible to “barter” or exchange things and get stuff done without getting bogged down in a ton of hassle. Steve, your point about good credit/bad debt was spot on!

    • Yes, I applaud his independent ingenuity, and while it demonstrates a different approach to life and he appears to be a smart and intelligent guy it is obviously not for everyone. The “Embrace Homelessness” approach is intriguing but simply not for me.

      But I agree, so much of the world lives on so little and yet many of us have so much we forget to appreciate. While me might get impatient waiting in line at the drive through for our fast food we should not lose sight of the fact we can afford the food, we are in a car that works and someone wants to hand us food and drink out of a window.

      This is a great subject to have a larger discussion on. If I write the post I’m thinking about I’ll send you an email so you can comment on it.

      • I just returned from a trip to Memphis TN that changed my perspective on this topic. We drove down to Tunica MS for dinner at one of the new casinos (kinda like a Sizzler on steroids). Tunica was one of the most impoverished sinkholes in the country. Now the people have decent jobs in food service, hospitality, security etc. The roads are beautifully paved and landscaped (probably through public bond financing). The fields are lush and green with crops waiting for harvest. The casinos were almost certainly financed through debt and credit. This seems to reflect the proper use of debt – to create wealth. Whether Dan Suelo chooses to use credit cards or not pales in comparison to the impact of secured debt, properly used. Food for thought?

        • This blog was just brought to my attention.

          Hollis, to reply to your 2 comments.

          I do agree with Jason’s comment.

          First, it was Mark Sundeen’s idea that religions are born in the desert, not mine.

          It’s easy to have these conceptions of poverty and debt, our education since childhood coming from a commercial system, including commercial churches. Commerce can only see its own viewpoint.

          If you believe the Bible, it nowhere says Jesus was a carpenter or worked as such. The gospels state his surrogate father was a stonemason (tekton, mistranslated “carpenter”). And they clearly state that Jesus taught giving up possessions as well as family business ties. He even asked his disciples to drop their fishing employment and follow him. The Bible is quite clear on giving up wealth and working not for the sake of reward. And it’s quite clear that Jesus, John the Baptist, and the prophets had no house and dwelled in the desert. And, for families and community, the New Testament as well as the early church fathers taught communal living, with no private possessions. It’s almost comical how these core teachings of the New Testament are mysteriously missing from American church teaching.

          The idea that money = wealth is a myth, when you actually look at cultures that live and have lived without it. In fact, it is quite opposite. Anthropologists dispelled this myth by actually living with and studying true hunting and gathering cultures. It is money and debt, in fact, that create poverty, as well as wealth only for a few. The wealth that debt creates is not only illusory and fickle, but it is based on the poverty and degradation of other people and the environment, which is quite obvious.

          You might want to peruse the essays on my website, which address all of your comments (

          “Be debtor to no one, except to love one another.”

          • Thanks for your thoughtful comments. I think we’ll have to agree to disagree at this point. The topic is a rich and complex one, with lots to be said on both sides.

            About Mississippi: before they built the casinos in Tunica, wealth was indeed concentrated in just a handful of corporations and wealthy individuals. Now many people are living better than they lived before. I doubt that they would consider their paychecks “illusory and fickle”; for sure they no longer live in the poverty and degradation they suffered before. Just ask’em!

          • Thanks, too, Hollis. Things to consider. It is rich & complex. I would have to agree that I’d appreciate getting lifted out of poverty regardless of who does it, especially if I have a family to feed.

            The cocaine and opium/heroine trade have greatly improved Columbian and Afghan economies, bringing a lot of families out of poverty – families who grow coca and poppy. Yes, if I were one of those families I’d likely have high praise for it, unaware of the unbearable expense and corruption it creates on the rest of the world. Now we have to ask ourselves, does this justify the drug trade? The world is a funny, complex place, huh?

    • > I question whether his idea is workable in society at large. <

      It depends on how large 'society at large' is.  

      The human population is now larger than at any time in our history.   It's quite possible there are no longer enough natural resources to sustain us all. 

      How has this happened?   Through centuries of striving to defeat Natural Selection.

      Example 1:  you're a tribal human or a non-human organism.   You pick up a life-threatening illness.   When your vitality has nearly expired you lay day and die.   There's no other choice.   Your body decomposes and feeds the soil that feeds plants that feeds animals that feed humans etc.

      In other words you've submitted yourself to natural selection.

      Example 2:   you're a person living in 'monied' society.   You pick up a life-threatening illness.   You go to a hospital and say 'help me, I'm dying'.   The hospital asks 'how are paying for our help?'.  You answer:  'with money'.   On that condition (not out of love or compassion), they treat you, you survive, your life is no longer threatened, and you continue living.

      So by using money you've defeated natural selection.

      From your perspective, everything's great.   Over time, however, your planet fills up with human beings who've also defeated natural selection.   And human beings are rapacious and destructive to their environment (at least the 'monied' ones are).  

      And THAT is the reason why society at large couldn't live the way Dan does:  because there are so many of us and not enough natural resources to sustain us.   We've been SO 'successful' at defeating natural selection that our huge numbers can only be sustained by living coccooned in our artificial life-support systems.

      In other words, with money as our weapon, we've managed to win the battle against natural selection, but we're losing the war.

      Of course, prior to the 'success' of monied society humankind DID live the way Dan does:  in direct relationship with the natural world.

      Which raises a curious question:  why are the members of monied society so averse to laying down and dying when naturally selected?  I mean, many of us like to wear our 'faith' on our sleeves and profess a great desire to be reunited with God.   So why are we so determined to avoid Death when God calls?

      Dan Suelo, on the other hand, stares Death down every day.  His faith in Providence is so strong that he literally walks the talk.   And you can bet that when 'naturally selected' to shuffle off this planet, Dan will go gracefully and with immense dignity.

      He is one man courageous enough to live without artificial life-support systems;  to make a REAL stand against environmental carnage;   to dare to re-harmonise himself with ALL of God's creation.

      For these reasons, Dan Suelo deserves nothing other than our gratitude, awe and respect.

      Kind regards,


        • Hi Steve,

          That’s the point: there is no plan.

          Does a tree plan for future inconvenience or potential suffering? Does an atom? Does a star? Does an ‘enlightened’ being such as Jesus, Buddha, Meher Baba or Franz Bardon take out life insurance or attempt to defeat Death when it calls?

          They instead accept EVERYTHING that occurs – good and bad, including their demise. They are prepared to let go of their material possessions, including their material bodies.

          There might, of course, be a *Divine* plan; Dan has decided there is, and has submitted himself faithfully to it.

          This all raises an interesting thought: it suggests that the natural world is NOT the regenerate, sub-par ‘thing’ we’ve come to believe. Instead, it may possess the ‘enlightenment’ that some people also possess … an enlightenment that permits an acceptance of Death when it calls.

          In other words, if Jesus et al can be accepting of Death, and everything in the natural world is also accepting of Death, and Jesus et al were ‘enlightened’, then the natural world is also ‘enlightened’.

          Dan’s friends – who knew him prior to his ‘change’ and still know him now – profess that he bears the hallmarks of ‘enlightenment’: he is supremely happy and content, and he is a magnet for affection amongst all he encounters: humans, animals and plants. Compare with St Francis, for example.

          Dan’s ‘enlightenment’ has come about through re-harmonisation with the natural world. For the rest of us, happiness remains a fleeting experience of limited quality and quantity. And it’s contingent upon the acquisition of more ‘stuff’.

          Incidentally, regarding the origins of religion, there’s a school of thought that all of the world’s spiritual systems originated with Hermetics, whose founder (Hermes Trismegistus) was ancient Greek … not a desert dweller! 🙂 Hermetics came to Egypt in the 4th century BC, made its way to the Middle East, then into the West via Spain.

          Kind regards,


          • Jason,

            I get all of that and I understand the philosophy.

            But just as a practical matter. If Suelo requires medical care or long-term care for some unexpected reason, is the plan that because he is enlightened or elected to not plan that the rest of us should be happy about paying for his care out of our taxes?

            He’s made a choice to avoid the material world. Congratulations for that choice. But if he is going to be equally self-sufficient in the end of his life or an unexpected emergency is the plan to just roll him over under a bush? If it is, that goes along with the philosophy. Ashes to ashes, dust to dust and all that.

            And what’s the plan for when he becomes too feeble to take care of himself? Who will care for him, if anyone commit to a remainder of care for the rest of his life at no expense to society?

            Jesus didn’t have to worry about those practicalities, he was never sick that I’m aware of, didn’t have prostate cancer, never fell and broke a hip and he passed on prematurely before he needed elder care.

          • Will you take care of him? If not, then we know that you won’t. If someone decides to take care of him in his elder years (if necessary), we will know who it is then and not before. Provided we live long enough to see it, of course.

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