What is your debt story?


#1

We are writing an article and would like to include some quotes and stories. Either about debts or savings.

Please share your story, will link back and share.
Thanks!


#2

Cool idea. Not sure how many words you are looking for but here’s our story. If it’s too long, feel free to use only what you need:

I had $40,000 in student loans that I paid off before graduating. I started looking for a job 1 year before graduation just in case it was going to take me a long time to find a job. But I got a job right away, and did a lot of overtime while still attending evening classes. I was able to pay off that $40,000 within a year just before graduation.

My husband also had a $35K car loan/credit line that we paid off right after getting married.

Currently we are trying to pay off our $500K+ mortgage within 5 years by 39 years. We are halfway through and on track. It’s very tough and challenging especially that we just had a baby and we are no longer DINKS, but it helps that we are part of the Dave Ramsey community. We are looking forward to reaching BabyStep7: Build Wealthy and Give. Dave likes to say “Live like no one else so later you can live and give like no one else”
Our advice is:

  1. Make sure you are on the same page as your spouse
  2. Make a plan
  3. Pay it off as fast as you can manage (Dave Ramsey calls this Gazelle intensity)
  4. But don’t stress yourself too much, have option A, B, C,…
  5. Cut unnecessary expenses and spend mindfully
  6. Find ways to increase your income.
  7. Find a community to keep yourself motivated and accountable.

About your second question about saving, with some determination we were able to increase our income to $400K+ which has allowed us to live on only 15% of our income, and the rest goes to taxes, paying down the mortgage faster, giving and saving/investing.


#3

Interesting idea! My story with debt is that I was told debt was bad growing up, but didn’t appreciate it until I experienced it myself.

My husband and I graduated college both debt free, but then bought two new cars at once because we could “afford” it. Turns out, life happened and we couldn’t afford it. We had to sell one within a year (luckily we weren’t underwater). The other we paid off as quickly as possible (and intend o keep as long as possible!). I had planned to cash flow my master’s degree as I went through, but didn’t end up doing it because we had the car payments, so I took out student loans.

I learned that debt limits your opportunities and can exponentiate when you are giving your paycheck to past priorities. My debt problem grew because I couldn’t pursue the things that my life had moved on to without more debt.

The silver lining to paying off debt intensely is that when you are used to throwing big chunks of money at debt, it easily translates into large savings contributions if you have the discipline to make that transition once the debt is paid off.


#4

Here is our story: https://myfamilyonabudget.com/our-story-of-working-the-baby-steps-since-may-2011/

Here are the guest posts from others that have paid off debt and shared their story on our site too: https://myfamilyonabudget.com/category/guest-post/debt-free-stories/

Hope this helps out! Looking forward to seeing what you come up with!


#5

I always looked at both as tools that can help greatly when used correctly in the right circumstances, but are often misused.

For debt I look at the cost of the borrowing versus the expected return I could generate from using the borrowed funds. Unless it will more than comfortably pay for itself, without compromising my lifestyle, then it is a bad idea.

When viewed through that lens borrowing to purchase well located investment properties or profitable businesses were a good way to super charge returns. On the other hand borrowing to pay for a holiday or a car or to fund a degree in a field that won’t earn significantly more than the cost of the school fees were all generally bad ideas.

For savings I adopt a similar approach as to debt. There is a huge opportunity cost associated with squirrelling money away in the bank or under the mattress, as that same money could be invested productively and put to work. I maintain a sufficient float to cover my day to day expenses, and hold an emergency fund to cover genuine emergencies (i.e. cost of accommodation between a disaster and an insurance payout, or the cost of flights home should a close relative suffer an accident and need assistance).

Everything else I invest.

I also don’t view saving up for a future expense (a wedding, a holiday, a car purchase) as saving… that is just a deferred spending.

Good luck with the article.


#6

I have published the “savings” part this weekend, hope you enjoy it!

http://ourfinancialpath.com/spend-less/

The debt part will come out soon…


#7

I agree with @FemmeCents on the debt part. I’m sure I heard a million times how debt was not a good idea, but it didn’t hit home until realized the connection between debt and cash flow. Having free cash flow is a massive boon in your personal finances, and debt severely restricts that.
When we decided to pay off our non-mortgage debt, we had $75k of it. The original plan was to not change our lifestyle much at all and it would take about 6 years. We ended up going to a single car (family of four), banking small windfalls and salary increases, and getting it all paid off in 3.5 years.
The extra cash flow has allowed us to refinance to a 15yr mortgage at 2.75% which will save a ton in interest, and I plan to purchase our next car with cash next year.


#8

Quotes (my own - though they are rehashes of the ideas of others):

Debt is a tool, it is neither inherently good or bad. As with any tool, it can be used well or poorly.

Do not limit your finances by eliminating one of your most powerful tools: leverage.

Never pre-pay debt that is at or near the rate of inflation.

Always remember to adjust your debt service to account for taxes.

Wise use of debt is the surest way to build wealth.

Never take out a loan strictly for any perceived tax advantage (they’re nice, and icing on the cake, but not a sufficient reason for debt).

Consumer debt should be avoided like the plague with a few exceptions.

Story:

My story about debt is that I take on as much debt as I can. I use debt to purchase rental properties with zero to limited money out of pocket. One of my biggest regrets is that I financed my primary house with a 15 year mortgage rather than a 30 year mortgage as this is affecting my ability to a small extent to take on more rentals. It also makes it the only investment property I have that has negative cash flow.

For any cash flowing asset, I will pay the absolute minimum on any debt as the interest is already accounted for. In other words, it doesn’t matter if the APR is 1% or 20%. In either case, I evaluated the deal with the interest rate in mind. Paying anything above the minimum limits my ability to use additional leverage and hurts my cash flow.

I rarely use debt for consumer purchases. I occasionally do, but only if the APR below the rate of inflation, at which point using debt costs less than paying cash (so long as you finish paying off the debt before any promotion ends). As an example, take the purchase of a set of appliances for a new rental unit. I may need a washer, dryer, refrigerator, stove/oven, and dishwasher. I can purchase them at Best Buy / Home Depot / Lowes / or whoever is running a promotion and put $2k onto some random store card at a 0% APR for 24 months. I can then setup $100/mo automated payments to ensure the debt is paid off several months ahead of time, and put an event in my calendar to close the account the month after it’s paid. Because money becomes less valuable over time due to inflation, I end up with a discount on my purchase equal to the purchase price minus the rate of inflation (not quite that simple, but gives the idea). And, by investing the $2000, if I earn the average ~8% historical return in the stock market, I end up several hundred dollars ahead by using the consumer debt.


#9

We would like to thank everyone who shared their story. We published today:

www.ourfinancialpath.com/debt-success-stories/

Please share along on social media :slight_smile:


#10

The article turned out really good, and thanks for featuring our debt story ! Shared on twitter.


#11

I’m join 10 minutes ago, and this is the first post a click, looks like I’ll learn a lot here, Thank all of you guys!


#12

We Just Became 100% DEBT FREE!!! (for the second time in 20 months…)


#13

I read all of these inspiring stories such as I was 1 billion dollars in debt and paid it off in 6 months. I wish I had some great story like that to blog about. Taylor Swift would not have so many hit break up songs if she didn’t have so many boyfriends. I have always been frugal. I have never had any debt other than a mortgage. See, so boring! Shawn @ TheSmartFi http://thesmartfi.com


#14

My debt story is that I totally stay out of debt. However, this means giving up some lofty opportunities but I like it that way


#15

Born-and-raised prairie girl with nothing more than $600 in the bank account after graduating with a pile of student debt, I made it my personal mission to slash that debt asap.

For two years, I moonlighted as a model, tutor and as an environmental engineer and conquered that debt. It wasn’t easy. 70+ hour work weeks combined with long work days and occasional overnight shifts in the office resulted in massive stress.

I decided NO MORE. Rather than working harder, I decided to work smarter.

I didn’t grow up with a silver spoon so I had to scrimp and save and used almost all of my income to buy rental properties, stocks, and other investments to build a financial fortress to create a life that I want to lead.

Diving into real estate and surviving 7 years later, I built up my money stash and reached my financial bliss.

Around the same time, I reached my goals as an environmental engineer so I left my engineering job after 13 years.

Freedom, continuous personal growth and able to try new things became my biggest motivation. I dreamed about what it would be like to spend more time with my twins, dance, travel, and do work that I truly loved to do.

Leaving a secure 6-figure government job with an immediate opportunity for promotion, cool traveling opportunities, incredible benefits, and a GOLDEN pension was not easy. I knew if I didn’t do it, I would never do it and my life would be filled with regret.

Living a life of regret is incredibly scary to me. To crush that fear, I stopped settling in life, took action and changed my life.