Bank Loans and Financial Freedom in USA: US Financial Liberty Under Siege

Bank Loans & US Fin. Freedom: Confronting Predatory Lending

Bank Loans and Financial Freedom in USA: The Illusion of Prosperity

March 18, 2024

In the United States, the pursuit of financial freedom is often tied to the concept of bank loans. Gustave Le Bon’s insights into the psychology of the masses reveal a profound truth about human nature’s susceptibility to illusion.  He once said, “The masses have never thirsted after truth. They turn aside from evidence that is not to their taste, preferring to deify error if error seduces them.” This tendency is evident in the collective attitude toward bank loans, frequently perceived as stepping stones to prosperity.

Le Bon would argue that the general public, acting as a crowd, may overlook the long-term implications of debt in favour of the immediate gratification that loans appear to offer. The collective mind, once seduced by the promise of easy credit, becomes less discerning of the chains that such financial obligations may forge. The civilization that prides itself on economic brilliance, much like the edifice Le Bon describes, may not recognize its fragility—a fragility compounded by the weight of debt and the relentless pursuit of material wealth.

The concept of financial freedom through bank loans is thus a complex paradox. It is a mirage of wealth that can lead to an actual state of financial servitude, where the borrower becomes entangled in a cycle of repayment that can stifle true economic independence. The crowd, enchanted by the illusion of prosperity, may fail to appreciate the potential for enslavement by debt. It is a seductive error that promises liberation while potentially delivering bondage.

Le Bon’s perspective would urge a more critical examination of what constitutes genuine financial freedom. It would call for a discerning look beyond the immediate allure of loans and a thoughtful consideration of the long-term consequences of debt. In this light, the path to genuine financial autonomy may lie not in the accumulation of liabilities but in the prudent management of resources and the cultivation of financial acumen that sees beyond the crowd’s illusions.


The Upfront Interest Trap

Banks lend money to individuals, enticing them with the promise of financial freedom. However, they employ a cunning tactic: charging upfront interest. Philip Zimbardo, the American psychologist, explains, “The line between good and evil is permeable, and almost anyone can be induced to cross it when pressured by situational forces.” Banks pressure borrowers by front-loading interest payments, ensuring that most initial payments go towards interest rather than the principal. This leaves borrowers in a perpetual debt cycle, struggling to achieve financial freedom.

Real-life examples abound. Take the case of John, a small business owner who took out a $100,000 loan to expand his restaurant. Despite making regular payments for two years, John discovered that only a fraction of his payments had gone towards the principal. The bank had strategically structured the loan to maximize its profits at the expense of John’s financial freedom.

The Parasitic Nature of Banks

Cardinal Richelieu, the 17th-century French statesman, once remarked, “The art of politics is to make use of men, not to serve them.” Banks operate with a similar mindset, treating depositors as mere tools for their gain. When individuals deposit their hard-earned money into a bank, they receive negligible interest rates. However, when those same individuals seek to borrow money, banks are quick to charge exorbitant interest rates.

Sarah, a young professional, experienced this firsthand. After saving $20,000 over several years, she deposited her money into a savings account, earning a meagre 0.01% interest. When Sarah later needed a loan to purchase a car, the bank offered her an interest rate of 8%, a staggering difference compared to the interest they paid her on her deposit.

Fractional Banking and the Elimination of Reserve Requirements

Otto von Bismarck, the first Chancellor of the German Empire, once stated, “People never lie so much as after a hunt, during a war, or before an election.” Banks have been lying to the public about the true nature of fractional banking. In the past, banks were required to maintain a 10% reserve of deposits. However, this requirement has been eliminated, allowing banks to lend up to 100% of deposits.

This practice has severe consequences for financial freedom. Consider the story of Mark and Lisa, a couple who deposited their life savings of $50,000 into their local bank. Unbeknownst to them, the bank lent their entire deposit to multiple borrowers, creating money out of thin air. When Mark and Lisa attempted to withdraw their savings, they discovered that the bank had insufficient funds, as the money had been lent out multiple times.

The Path to True Financial Freedom

The English statesman Thomas Cromwell once advised, “Do not meddle with the affairs of others, for he who does so will be meddled with in turn.” To achieve true financial freedom, individuals must take control of their financial affairs and not rely solely on bank loans.

This can be achieved through financial education, disciplined saving, and wise investments. By understanding the true nature of bank loans and the tactics employed by financial institutions, individuals can make informed decisions and work towards genuine financial independence.

Strategic Financial Maneuvering – A Machiavellian Approach to Banking

Machiavelli and Cardinal Richelieu, known for their intelligent political strategies, would likely appreciate the cunning required to navigate modern financial systems to one’s advantage. In the spirit of these historical figures, let’s explore some tactical approaches to outsmarting the banking system and advancing one’s financial freedom.

The Machiavellian Move: Leveraging Zero-Interest Loans

Machiavelli, who advocated for pragmatism and foresight in “The Prince,” might suggest taking advantage of zero-interest introductory offers on credit cards or loans. Using the bank’s interest-free money gives you a free loan for the promotional period. This could be used to purchase necessary items or invest in blue-chip dividend stocks, where returns could outpace borrowing costs. Cardinal Richelieu, a proponent of calculated risks, would advise this only if you’re confident you can repay the total amount before the promotional period ends, avoiding high interest rates that could negate any gains.

The Richelieu Route: Extra Mortgage Payments

Emulating Cardinal Richelieu’s strategic foresight and making extra mortgage payments can be a powerful tactic in homeowners’ financial arsenals. This method involves paying more than the required monthly instalment, directly reducing the loan’s principal balance. This effect is twofold: it diminishes the total interest accrued over the life of the loan and hastens the journey to outright homeownership.

The mechanics of this strategy are straightforward yet impactful. Each additional dollar paid towards the loan is a dollar less bearing interest, which can compound significantly over the typical span of a mortgage. This can result in a substantial reduction in the amount of interest paid over time. Furthermore, by accelerating the repayment schedule, borrowers can achieve financial freedom from their mortgage debt well before the standard term.

This approach does require a disciplined financial outlook. Homeowners must evaluate their budgets to ensure that the extra payments are feasible and sustainable over time. It’s a balancing act between current financial comfort and future financial gains. Those who can manage this balance may be free from the burden of mortgage debt ahead of schedule, opening up opportunities for other investments or economic pursuits.

 The Political Play: Loan Term Shortening

A strategy often espoused by shrewd financial tacticians is reconfiguring debt through refinancing existing loans to terms more conducive to rapid amortization. This manoeuvre, harking back to Machiavellian axioms of strategic dominance, becomes particularly potent when the economic climate yields a downturn in interest rates. Homeowners, for instance, might capitalize on such opportunities to transition from a 30-year mortgage to a 15-year term. While this recalibration ushers in an increment in monthly outlays, the long-term financial implications are profound. The total interest burden over the loan’s lifespan is curtailed, igniting a swifter equity accrual in one’s property.

This approach is not confined to mortgages alone but extends to various forms of personal and auto loans, where similar principles apply. By truncating the period over which the debt is serviced, borrowers not only witness a decrease in the total interest expenditure but also expedite the liberation of future income from the shackles of debt obligations. This fiscal liberation strategy aligns with the broader objective of attaining financial autonomy.

Moreover, this tactic potentially insulates the borrower from future market volatility. Shorter loan terms are generally associated with lower interest rates, which inherently reduces the risk of being adversely affected by unpredictable interest rate hikes in the future. Additionally, during periods of economic growth and wage inflation, the increased payment requirements of a shorter-term loan could be offset by rising household incomes, thereby mitigating the impact on the borrower’s disposable income.

It’s worth noting that this financial manoeuvre is not devoid of risks. The elevation of monthly payments demands a stable and reliable income source and disciplined budgeting to accommodate the heightened financial commitment.

The Diplomat’s Gambit: Renting as Leverage

In a move Richelieu might find clever, those not yet homeowners could use the flexibility of renting to their advantage. Instead of being tied to a mortgage, they could invest the money that would have gone to a down payment and home maintenance into diversified investments. This could potentially provide higher returns and greater liquidity, though it trades the stability of home equity for market exposure.

These strategies require a careful balance of risk and reward, much like the political gambits of Machiavelli and Richelieu. They illustrate that with knowledge, strategic planning, and a bit of audacity, it’s possible to potentially employ the banks’ instruments to enhance one’s financial standing. However, it’s critical to understand the risks involved and proceed with a solid backup plan, lest one fall prey to the traps they seek to exploit.


The relationship between bank loans and financial freedom in the USA is complex, filled with hidden traps and deceptive practices. By shedding light on the upfront interest trap, the parasitic nature of banks, and the dangers of fractional banking, we can empower individuals to take control of their financial destinies and pursue true financial freedom.

Plato once remarked, “The measure of a man is what he does with power.” When applying this philosophy to financial dealings, one must act with integrity and foresight, using the ‘power’ of financial tools responsibly and strategically to build a stable future.

Charlie Munger, the esteemed investor, has often spoken about the importance of patience and discipline in investing. “The big money is not in the buying and the selling, but in the waiting.” This wisdom is particularly pertinent when employing financial strategies that require a long-term perspective, such as investing in dividend stocks or making additional mortgage payments. The consistent and prudent application of such a strategy often leads to genuine financial freedom. With careful planning and disciplined execution, the journey towards fiscal autonomy becomes both a possibility and an achievable reality.

In conclusion, navigating the intricate lattice of bank loans and financial freedom requires a blend of Machiavellian cunning and Richelieuan strategy. Individuals can outpace the banks at their own game by wisely leveraging zero-interest loans, accelerating mortgage payments, and considering non-traditional investment paths.

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