I just stumbled upon your site and I LOVE IT!! Great job on the site, you’re one of the few angels we have on Earth. Anyways, enough about you.. here’s my situation: I accumulated a little less than $100,000 of debt. 3 student loans and 1 car loan. I paid off ALL my credit cards and other various high interest loans.
I have the career of my dreams and I make a decent wage. I’m about to get myself a new apartment which with utilities will take a little more than half of my monthly income. Once you include the minimum monthly payments of all my loans and perhaps the cost of food and the essentials of life, I am barely squeezing by.
I can tell you, I feel blessed to have graduated college, to have a new car, and to own pretty much everything I ever wanted. The only thing I want now is to become debt free. Should I sacrifice anything to achieve a dream that so many fail to achieve? Or should I continue my life as it is, and wait till my girlfriend moves in with me so she can help pay half of the rent and utilities and I can finally start putting all my extra money towards paying off my debt?
What is it like to be debt free?
Let me give you my personal honest answer to your question. I’ve been in that debt free spot. I’ve had no mortgage, no loans and owed nobody and had no credit payments. And while it a worthy goal what I learned is that, even at that moment, I still owed a lot of people. I owed taxes to the IRS and property tax to the state, I owed income tax to my state and I owed the utility company for electricity, I owed the insurance company for health insurance and I owed the grocery store for the food we would need to buy, etc. You get the point.
The reality is that as long as we are alive we will never ever be totally out of debt or out from an obligation to someone else.
Since that time when I did not owe any creditor I have actually take out a mortgage and used part of the money to install solar panels on my house. After much contemplation I decided that if I had a choice of who to owe, I’d rather owe a fixed rate mortgage on my house than risk escalating utility costs. I managed to slice my monthly electric bill from $330 to $50.
Ultimately I think that it is not the fact that you are out of debt that is the end game but that you live your life in such a way that it brings you peace, joy, and happiness. Here is an example, maybe like me you love to ride motorcycles. Is your life richer for having no debt or for having a motorcycle, if you had to get a loan you could afford, that you and your wife can ride around the country and go exploring, something the two of you find fun?
Now I’ve admitted that I have some debt, and I’m comfortable with my level of debt. I just don’t want to take on so much debt where I can’t live the life I want. Right now I don’t have to work for anyone else but myself. If I loaded myself up on debt to the point where I would have to alter my life and go work for someone else, that would piss me off. That’s when debt for me would become a problem.
For you, you’ll have to find your own balance between obligations and life. Just know that the right answer for each of us lies not at either extreme but at some point along that continuum.
Live your life, control your debt.
P.S. Be sure to read ‘The Secret of Surviving Through Difficult Economic Times. What I Learned On My Journey‘.