When people find out we are working towards getting out of debt we generally get one of two reactions:
The first group of people think it’s really neat, but then explain to us the 5,975 ways they would never be able to do it.
The second group of people just blatantly tell us how ridiculous that is, car notes are just a way of life-you know?
Of course there is a small group of people who cheer us on; who have gotten out of debt already, or are currently on this journey as well. Those people are the ones that keep me encouraged and going as we begin what I know is going to be a hard time. “Living like no one else,” Dave Ramsey calls it, “so that later you can live and give like no one else”
By far the question we get asked the most frequently is simply, why? Why get out of debt? Why say no to everything? Why live on such a tight budget for so long just to say you’re debt free? I’ve thought long and hard about the answer to the infamous ‘why’; and have come up with not one, but several reasons. Reasons why we are getting out of debt, and why you should too.
I want to build experiences for my children without the burden of debt on our shoulders. I want them to tour Europe, to see the Northern Lights, to surf in Australia. I have so many dreams that I want my children to experience, and I want to experience with them. These things are expensive in and of themselves, but they are unimaginable when you have the burden of debt on your shoulders.
I want to be able to give. I want to sponsor a refugee child, to pay an entire months bills for my church without batting an eye. I want to set up a foundation to help families like ours get to Colorado to access medical cannabis for their loved ones. These are just a few, there are so many ways I want to give back to this world. But I can’t do that when I feel like the money I’m making isn’t really mine yet, it belongs to all the people and business’ I have borrowed from. I have to pay them back before I feel comfortable calling my money my own, and then giving it away to people who need it more.
I want to retire. I want to retire, and I want to retire comfortably. I don’t want my husband and I to have to work until the day we die (unless we are doing something we love, then we might want to keep working). I don’t want to rely on the government’s meager social security pay out to live on, or worry that I will have to go in a Medicaid funded nursing home when it’s needed. I want us to be able to live comfortably, on our own money, until the day we die. Without being a burden on our children, the government, or our community.
I want to leave a legacy for my children. I mean this in two ways. I, of course, want to leave a financial legacy for my children. To help them buy their first house, send their children to college, or just have money sitting in the bank. But I also want to teach them financial responsibility. I want them to know how to say no to things they cannot afford, to know the importance of telling every dollar where to go before you spend a penny, and to never fall into debt themselves. Money is a big responsibility, and I feel it is our place to teach our children how to handle it.
So there you have it, my reasons for getting out of debt. And for the record, yes when we say debt free we mean no car payment, no mortgage, no student loans. No money owed to anyone but ourselves.
The road ahead is both daunting and exciting. But we’re ready, are you?