Grace & Peace To You,
Debt as of 06/09/2012: $92,645.00
Debt as of 06/13/2014: $21,959.38
Total Debt Paid Off: $70,685.62
We recently celebrated our two year anniversary. Originally, we had hoped to be done with our debt by that day. While we did not achieve that goal, we are celebrating being $70,000 less in debt. Our new goal is to have our debt completed by the end of 2014.
The road to debt freedom is certainly not an easy one. It is a marathon, not a sprint. When we first started, our intensity was high and the journey was fresh. Two years in, the journey can be exhausting and, at times, very demoralizing.
A few months ago, Emily and I came to the realization we would not meet our two year goal. We started to contemplate stopping our debt journey and putting it on hold to save for a house. That is one of our big life goals. While we would still pay on debt, we were thinking about slowing down and putting more money towards a home. It was something we were seriously thinking and praying about. Isn't that the American Dream? House, white picket fence, 2 kids, and a golden retriever?
Our prayers were answered in the form of a friend who works in the financial education field. He was familiar with our story and what we are trying to accomplish. When we shared our thoughts on stopping to buy a home, he offered a different perspective on the "American Dream." He said he believed what we are doing is the "American Dream"...being debt free. He broke down our situation and reaffirmed our plans for the future. Here are some things that changed our perspective from that conversation:
1. Your American Dream can be different than what society tells you it should be. Don't be defined by what the masses tell you is standard.
2. Just because you are out of college or there is a 3 in front of your age doesn't mean you're behind the rest of the world if you don't have a house, kids, etc. Live your dream, not someone else's. Rather than focusing on what's not there, focus what you have and how it can enhance your life. Our lives are not defined by not having a house yet.
3. Figure out what you want and what makes you happy. Don't change it based on what society says is normal. For example, society would tell us at 28 and 32 years old, we should have a house and kids by now. We don't. Do we want a house and children? Absolutely. However, our goal right now is to spend the first years of our marriage becoming debt free and traveling together. If you already have those things, we are not saying that you are wrong and we are right. It's okay and normal for everyone to have different goals. What we are doing is abnormal and seems weird to a lot of people. We believe it has strengthened our marriage and has been the right path for us. We are not saying it is the right path for everyone. No matter what your situation is, if you are hampered by debt then we would encourage you to take a look at your life. How is the debt defining you? Is money holding you back from what makes you happy? Our dream is to travel together the first few years of marriage and to set up a good future for ourselves and our family. Debt was holding us back. Therefore, we had to reexamine how we lived and make changes to reach those goals.
4. Our New American Dream: Being debt free. Living and working on our own terms. Holding all 52 cards. Choosing how to spend our time and money!
Bryant and Emily