Celebrating 8 years of debt-free living

Imagine how you would feel if you had no debt obligation to anyone? 

Imagine how you would feel if your savings and retirement were on a mathematical path that provides confidence that you will have a comfortable retirement starting at a time of your own choosing? 

This is the reality for my family thanks, in no small part, to being debt-free.

Feb 23rd is our 100% debt-free anniversary. That was the day, in 2014, when we made the final payment on our house. I celebrate this day each year with a plea out to anyone willing to listen about the joys of debt-free living. 

It is kind of amazing to think that we have now gone more than eight years with ZERO debt. 

Life without debt obligations brings a sense of freedom that is hard to express. Having no debt opens doors to many things. It is the best step on the path to financial independence, it protects you from the blows of economic uncertainties, and it frees you from being held captive by the golden handcuffs of a job. 

You are in control, not the world around you. 

Here is my annual debt-free plea.

Get out of debt as quickly as you can!

I totally understand that a mortgage is hard to avoid so that is a longer game. As for car debt, credit card debt, and even new phone debt, these are 100% personal choice debts. You are making a choice with each of the decisions to giveaway a bit of yourself and put someone else in charge of your life.  

Have a 3 to 6-month emergency fund

Just yesterday I saw an ad where a family has their car breakdown on the side of the road. The woman exclaims to the child in the car that she is not worried. She can get an emergency loan thanks to her credit score. The interest rate she was selecting was over 16%. Wait! What? 

Cars break down. Pipes burst. Phones stop working. These are not real emergencies and instead are just part of life. Have good savings for the oh shit moments and you will be far less worried when they happen.   

Save at a high rate

Best yet, make this saving automatic by sending a large percentage right to your 401K, IRA, or whatever is best for you. This is often referred to as paying yourself first. Don’t let having the money available tempt you into buying something stupid. Instead, keep it from ever hitting the wallet by sending it straight to savings.

Live below your means

Common sense and certainly not common practice when you consider the amount of credit card debt many people have. That $100 pair of jeans caught your eye? Well, if you have paid yourself first, have all your bills covered, and margin in the bank account that would allow you to pay for them. Go for it!

If you do not have money on hand. You can’t afford them and should not buy them. 

Keep it simple

Day trading, 0 down house flipping, Beanie Baby saving, Enron stock buying, blockchain, crypto, next big thing whatevers are all well and good. I am sure, with these things, there are many that have made buckets of money and are very happy. The path for me has been the simple one with high quality, low cost, mutual funds. 

Do the saving first and then use the leftover for speculative playing. 

Educate yourself

The number of resources available right in the palm of your hand thanks to youtube, podcasts and other resources just amaze me. Get obsessed. Soak in a wide range of opinions and then take action based on deep knowledge based on the success of others that are now where you want to be someday. 

That is it! If you have made it to the end of this post then you are indeed a winner. Now, take action! 

Thanks for listening