In February 2014, we submitted our final payment for our final debt to pay off the house.
Years later, I find it hard to imagine ever having significant debt again.
We got close a couple of times while sitting at the car dealership considering a loan. I could hear, in my head, all the reasons why a low-interest loan was a better way to go. We could, after all, just write a check at any time for the cost of the car if needed.
No. We are not going to do it. We are not going to be beholden to anyone voluntarily for a debt.
There is mental freedom that comes with not owing anyone a payment. Instead, we pay ourselves by having a high savings rate and a conservative lifestyle.
This freedom made it possible for our son to go to college debt free.
This freedom allowed my wife to work part-time.
This freedom reduced my stress levels during times of change at work resulting in layoffs.
This freedom gave me the courage to do a career pivot, with a demotion, in 2020 to a new role with new challenges.
This freedom has put us on track for an abundant retirement life that will be absent of financial worries.
We are quietly the poster family for how someone with a modest income can live a life filled with joy, adventure, and financial security.
There was a time when I would evangelize to others around me about how easy it is to be debt free and to build wealth. Just some education, small sacrifices, and a forward-thinking view can lead to amazing results. The strategies easily found in books, podcasts, and youtube videos do work. All you have to do is take action and have patience.
Heck, I have a 20+ year spreadsheet to prove that keeping things simple works. What I have found is that most people will politely listen but very few will make changes. That indeed is why Dave Ramsey is so angry. It is not rocket science, it is simple math that even a guy like me that flunked algebra can figure out.
I remain positive and believe there is hope for everyone to find their own path to financial success and the mental freedom that comes with it.
Meanwhile, we will keep plugging along as we begin the transition from scarcity savers to a mindset of abundance. I am thankful for that moment in 2014 and will continue to honor our past by building our future.