Debt as Art

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A former banker is happy he got laid off. He switched his lavish lifestyle to a frugal one and now works as an artist.

NBC News has the story of Eric Leppanen, who went from a successful banking job and a huge-debt lifestyle to working as an artist and shopping at Goodwill…

By the time he was laid off in 2009, he was making about $70,000 a year and had amassed about $60,000 in credit card debt.

He and his wife cashed out some of his retirement savings to stay afloat. They were eventually forced to file for bankruptcy protection.

Now his family – the Leppanens have two kids, 9 and 16 – is going without health insurance but is down to a credit card balance of $3,000. Leppanen “feels healthier, happier, more connected to his community and more spiritual,” says NBC, even though he’s making half of what he used to.

One of his recent art projects was to take 23 years’ worth of his credit cards (169 of them!) plus 50 quarters to make an American flag piece he calls the “Indebted States of America.” Check out the photo at the link.

Stacy Johnson

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