With 2019 in the rearview mirror, I've been spending some time thinking about 2020 goals. The year …
Thank you for visiting! Our mission is to help young families pay down debt and live financially free.
We do this by sharing our personal story, stories of others, and best practices to inspire you to change your financial life.
We started our journey to pay down debt back in 2011. Nearly $200,000 in debt we were on a path to rack up much more in the next few years. If we followed the path our culture pushes, next up would be a bigger house, then nicer cars, then a slow and steady increase in all things to accommodate our new lifestyle. Thankfully we caught ourselves early enough in the process to turn things around.
In 2011 we were sitting in a bank lobby applying for a home equity loan because both of our bathrooms were leaking in to the basement. We had nearly $50,000 in student loan debt, a $100,000 mortgage, two car loans, and had just agreed to pay a few hundred dollars a month for a lake house that my parents purchased. At that moment we realized that we needed to change our financial story.
It has been a long road to get to complete debt freedom. Anyone who says that paying off debt is easy is lying. It’s really hard. Not because it’s complicated. Really it is the opposite. It’s so mind numbingly boring that it is difficult to remain focused. Paying off debt requires patience and discipline, both traits that humans aren’t especially good at nor find satisfying. Especially in our social media era where lifestyle envy is a few swipes away.
While the goal of achieving financial independence may seem impossible for some, the journey of a thousand miles starts with one step. We do believe that financial independence is a huge and maybe even unobtainable goal for many of us. We certainly would have thought this back in 2011. However, setting big goals leads to big results. Even if you fall short of a big goal, it will still put you in a much better place than many others.
I often hear people in the financial independence community say they wish they had known about this concept sooner. Let me just say that you’re not alone. I am college educated in finance and it took me five years after graduating to unlock this concept. The ideas behind financial independence are simple, but they are so counter cultural that it takes hard work to fight against the social norms that we’re led to believe about money.
When you truly understand the concept of financial independence your life will never be the same. You’ll look and think about every dollar you spend differently. That doesn’t mean you have to be overly frugal or give up living for today. It does mean you’ll find yourself constantly questioning if you are spending money on things that truly make you happy.
The journey starts by getting rid of your debt. You’ll start to almost physically feel the shackles of debt break one by one as you pay off your loans. You’ll develop a deep hatred for debt along the way.
There will be sacrifices along the way. Some will give up eating out. Others will downgrade a car or turn to an alternative mode of transportation. There are people who will cut out cable and other forms of entertainment. For us, our biggest sacrifice has been living in a home far below our means and putting off upgrades. However, as you start slashing debt, increasing your savings rate, and eventually begin investing aggressively, you’ll see that these sacrifices are more than worth it.
What I’ve observed is that people who reach financial independence are some of the most passionate and purposeful individuals who are incredible contributors to society. When you don’t have to worry about money it provides you the creativity to seek out your true purpose on this planet. Some people have found their purpose already regardless of their financial situation, but many have not.
Financial independence is about having options, control over your time, and ultimate freedom. It’s about leaving behind a legacy for your family. And maybe most importantly its about being able to give to causes that have the power to changes lives or maybe even the world.
My wife, two children, and I are for the most part ordinary people. We make good money, but for most of our journey have made less and now a little more than the average combined income for our education level. We do happen to live in a low cost of living area, which certainly helps. We have also been lucky to not have had any unforeseen life events that have completely thrown us off course.
Yes we are blessed, but there are millions of others in the world in a similar situation who remain on a treadmill of high debt, little savings, modest investments, and high financial stress. If you make median income or higher and don’t live in an extremely high cost of living area, you can do this as well. Our focus is primarily to help young families though these concepts can extend to others as well.
Join us on the journey to financial independence. Learn about the foolish mistakes we’ve made and will make. Celebrate along with us when we hit a big milestone. Ask us questions so you can learn from a family who paid down debt for seven years at what seems like a painfully slow rate. And finally, I want you to start a journey, or maybe even a pilgrimage, of your own to free your family from debt and eventually achieve financial freedom.