I ran across a little piece of information recently that stopped me in my tracks. Did you know that the word mortgage translates to death contract (or pledge) in French? Wow! If you are anything like me, that provokes a strong emotional reaction.

To me, debts are a powerful tool, like a sharp knife. It can be used as a tool, but it can also cause great damage and so they must be used cautiously and respect for the power they imply. And a mortgage is a good example of that power — the power to get you into a house now, while also creating a responsibility that will last for thirty years.

I’ve read that a mortgage is so called because the deal dies either when the debt is paid, or when payment fails, which makes some sense, and is a bit less dramatic than the implication. But I don’t think it is an accident that such dramatic language is used to describe a debt. Does the term “death contract” change how you feel about your debts?