Today is our one year anniversary!
Okay, our one year anniversary was in April. But this is almost even more exciting!
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August was our 12th straight month of using every cent of my husband’s income as principal payments on our mortgage while living solely on my income.
We closed out the year with a bang by paying $5,303.29 in principal in August alone. Our last payment brought us to $36,594.84 paid total in 2017.
Our final total for the last 12 months: $51,107.45.
We’re just a tad more than pleased with our progress!
I am also proud to say that one year later, we have had zero money fights and still have zero regrets.
But looking back at the past year, my views on money have changed. In fact, my views constantly change – that’s the point of devoting as many hours per day as I do to learning as much as I can about how to build wealth and obtain financial independence. I don’t look at my desires or decisions the same way as I did even two weeks ago.
Which is great in terms of constant growth and evolution, but it does tend to make me feel lost from time to time.
One year ago today, I had it all figured out.
Paying off our home was 100% the correct decision, no doubt about it.
Dave Ramsey was the god of personal finance.
Debt was dumb.
Leverage was a fancy term for debt and that was all I needed to know.
A credit card would inevitably lead to overspending.
Working until 65 never received a second thought.
Freedom meant not being in debt.
As with all things though, the more you learn, the more there is to learn. I no longer think I have it all figured out.
A year later, I am no longer of the opinion that paying off your mortgage early is the right thing to do no matter what. I have no regrets about our decision to pay ours off, but that is mostly because of the small amount owed and short amount of time to accomplish the goal. At a certain point, I think math does need to come into play when debating on whether to pay off your home early or to invest that money instead. After all, our interest rate on our mortgage is only 3.375%, so if several more years were needed to accomplish the goal, I think investing instead would have been the better option.
Dave Ramsey’s plan is wonderful for getting out of consumer debt, but that’s where it ends. I listened to his podcast every weekday for years and wish I would have stopped sooner than I did so that I could start opening my mind to other ideas. Looking back, I think I limited myself for a long time by being such a fanatic and automatically shutting down any ideas that didn’t fit his plan.
Debt – for liabilities – is still dumb. Leveraging debt for a greater return on assets no longer bothers me. At all, actually. I’m perfectly willing to use borrowed money to invest in real estate, but my husband wants to play it on the safer side. At this point, we’ve decided to use cash only for at least our first couple of real estate investments until we get more comfortable.
As far as credit cards, I’m no longer opposed. I am actually pretty intrigued by the idea of using them for travel hacking and brought this up to Ron last month to try to start warming him up to the idea. (Wish me luck!)
I refuse to retire traditionally at 65. It’s not that I don’t want to work, I just desire the freedom to work on what I want, when and where I want, whether it is profitable or not.
And on the note of freedom, debt freedom is just the foundation. If you follow my weekly podcast recaps, you should be aware by now that I am engrossed in learning the ways of the FI community. Finding this community gave me so much reassurance and insight while I was feeling lost on what to do after the mortgage is paid off, though now I am learning so much new information that I am not sure which path I want to take.
But it’s fun being a little lost.
So, that’s where we are right now in regards to what we will do next – a little lost.
We estimate four to six more months until our mortgage is completely paid off.
We will continue to live on one income but plan to take it a step further. Instead of living on my take-home salary of $3,416 per month, we plan to live on my husband’s base monthly take-home pay of $2,400 per month and use his overtime plus my salary for investing.
We’re just not sure yet about how we want to begin investing – real estate, maxing out retirement accounts or a compromise of doing as much as we can in both areas.
I know we’ll figure it out as we go. I just can’t wait to be done with this goal so that we can take action on achieving financial independence and living life the way we want to live it.
I would love to hear from anyone on the other side of debt who is working to attain financial independence. Comment below, message me on Instagram or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org!