Our Debt Free Journey: We Did It!

The journey to debt freedom is step 1 for those wishing to pursue a life of financial independence. My wife and I are happy to announce that we have finally reached this step!!

I found the FIRE movement back in early 2015 after I had paid off my own credit card and student loan debt. It inspired me to start investing, pay off my car loan and cash flow our wedding back in 2017. However, my wife still had her own debt for us to contend with after the wedding. It is paying off these loans plus the loan we took out to fix the main drain line on our first rental property for which we are now claiming victory. We had made the goal to pay off all of these debts before my 30th birthday and we made it with 3 months to spare!

As I paid off each of my student loans, I hung every congratulatory letter on my wall to keep me motivated.

What was the grand total of all of these debts?

$181,329.67

Wow. It never really seemed like that much when we accumulated it all. From what I’m seeing as a financial coach now, this is completely normal. We paid for school with loans, we paid for our cars with loans and we built credit card debt by spending $5 here and there. At the time, it never seemed like it would have added up to much, but seeing it all together as one big number like that is staggering.

On the bright side, we have now freed up A LOT of cash in our monthly budget to tackle our next goals: buying another rental property and planning for mini Fierbirds. We are both over the moon to be done with this part of our FI journey. After having these debts for almost 8 years, we are now consumer and student loan debt free!! All that remains is the mortgage on our rental property, which we’re planning to pay off once we have reached financial independence to further open up our cash flow before I leave my 9-5 in the pursuit of financial coaching full time.

Here is our general timeline for this LONG debt payoff journey:

  • December 2011: We both graduate college, both working two jobs.
  • July 2012: I finance a brand new car once my beater died because “Hey, I deserve it, right?”
  • September 2014: Kayla finances a used car.
  • December 2014/January 2015: I make my last student loan payment, quit my second job and discover MMM/ FI refocus on investing.
  • Summer 2015: We meet *Queue “Summer Nights”.
  • February 2017: I pay off my car.
  • August 2017: Kayla pays off her CC just before our wedding, for which we did not take on any additional debt. Kayla quits her second job.
  • January 2018: I convince Kayla that her debt is not something she has to pay off alone and we financially team up to build our new life together. Debt remaining: ~$40,000
  • April 2018: We buy our first home/investment property.
  • June 2018: Discover $11,000 plumbing issue, but we also find tenants for the upstairs apartment. Debt remaining: Still $~40,000
  • December 2018: Pay off plumbing bill.
  • February 2019: Pay off Kayla’s car.
  • July 2019: Pay off last student loan. Party.

As you can see, the road wasn’t quick and it wasn’t easy. There were so many ups and so very many downs. There were days when we were frustrated, tired and waking up to work our part time jobs before full time work felt impossible. Our biggest turning point together was Kayla being able to let go of her guilt that her debt should be solely her responsibility. She didn’t want to drag me down with it. Instead, I could see her feel like she was sinking on her own. In the end we’re a team in our finances, just as we are with everything else. Once we teamed up, we’ve been unstoppable ever since.

It’s a beautiful day to be consumer and student loan debt free and I’m off to celebrate with a date-night-in with my favorite person in the world.

Life is good

Where are you on your debt payoff journey? Or have you already paid off you debt? How do you keep yourself motivated? Let me know in the comments below!!

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