Last week, my husband and I conquered a goal we’ve had for thirteen years. THIRTEEN YEARS of talking about this goal, fighting about this goal, feeling defeated because we seemed to be going no where with this goal.
WE. PAID. OFF. 100%. OF. OUR. DEBT.
Honestly, it’s still a little bit surreal. I looked at Jordan yesterday and asked, “You mean we get to keep the money we work for now?” (Sans taxes). He laughed and replied, “Yep. Finally.”
Finally, is the truth! About 5 years ago, despite consistently making over six figures on my own salary we had stalled out on paying off debt. At that time, we carried debt in a car payment, school debt (undergrad and two graduate degrees) and some medical debt. Later, we added another car payment and it just kept going up despite our consistency in paying over the minimum amount. We couldn’t dig out and we were “normal” for it. We were tired and the mountain of our debt still loomed over us.
BE a weirdo
In our society it is absolutely normal to turn eighteen and immediately go into debt for your education, transportation or living costs. You’ve been a legal adult for 2.5 seconds and WHAM- Here’s $10,000 of debt that will accompany you through the rest of your young-adult life straight into middle-age. A faithful frenemy, whether you want it or not. The cycle of this debt machine is relentless, and many people will continue to live within the labyrinth with no exit in sight for many, many, many years. A year ago, the labyrinth shifted for us.
In early Spring of 2020, I lost my job. This event started a series of decisions that would challenge me greatly. We went tiny. This decision stretched me in redefining my identity, how I viewed success and Eventually helped shape me into a stronger and more genuine version of myself. Financial stability was one of the many appealing reasons to adopt this lifestyle, but we never thought it would allow us to break free so quickly from that debt cloud. But it did.
Fourteen months after going tiny we were able to pay off the rest of our debt. COMPLETELY. It equates to right around $48,000 that we’ve paid off in that amount of time. Originally, we were putting back money for additional investments when it hit us. “Let’s invest in ourselves.” With no debt on our table we immediately would get a 7% return (the average of our interest rates for our loans) and the ability to set back even more for investments.
What does this mean for us now?
This financial freedom lends itself to different, additional freedoms.
Many of you reading this, might be in the same debt boat that seems to have holes no matter how you try to plug them. You don’t have to sink. There is a path to the shore. It’s just a bit unconventional (according to our society norms). Simplify. Downsize. Live within your means. Have a budget. Have an emergency fund. Have a plan.
I tell you all of this not from a stance of bragging, but from a stance of ENCOURAGEMENT. I know many people with stories similar to mine. It is for them, that I write this- Don’t give up. Don’t give in to the cyclical nature of loans and credit. Don’t buy into the cheap façade of success (big house, new car, jet ski, boat, job that drains you blah blah blah) Keep going and find your financial freedom. We found ours by thriving tiny.
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