My Why for My Debt Free Journey
After some recent events, it's never been clearer that there's an opportunity to be more intentional with money. While money can be taboo to write about, I'm going through some lifestyle changes that will impact what I write about. It only makes sense for me to share my inspiration.
Since before I could remember, my grandpa was inspiring me to invest wisely and never pay a dime in interest. He was a very smart business man who believed in a good education and traveled the world. Yet he lived well below his means and gave so much to others. Not many men sign up to be a stepfather to 7 children and take care of their family as well as he did.
I always valued his advice, but didn't feel like I could follow it while my tuition increased 400% in my final years of school. I already spent many years either paying cash and taking advantage of tuition reimbursement when it was available. I went back and forth on the ROI of a degree, but ultimately made the decision to push through with the help of student loans.
Now I've always been against the idea of carrying debt or at least more than you can pay off in a few months. However, student loans felt like they were inevitable for my situation. Somewhere along the way, I convinced myself it was the "normal" thing to do. 80% of Americans carry some form of debt and mine were mostly going to be student loans.
It wasn't until his funeral, that I knew I owed it to him to start living out everything he ever taught me. I needed to make sure I was able to honor him by first cleaning up this mess.
I've been carrying around some guilt knowing I didn't practice everything he preached. While I can't change the decision I made years ago, I can change how I choose to move forward. I've reached the point where borrowing and being a slave to a lender is not how I want to live; yes, it's very much a choice. If I want to be debt free and be able to give to others like he did, I can't continue to be "normal."
To keep this top of mind, I've been listening to Dave Ramsey's podcast every morning. If you haven't heard of him, he's helped millions of people not only get out of debt, but build wealth with 7 baby steps. His teachings are very simple - live below your means, don’t borrow, and give back.
I just started my debt free journey in April and I'm currently on baby step #2, where I've started to aggressively pay down debt. It means pausing all investing (even 401k with matching) and throwing all savings at debt with the exception of the $1000 emergency fund.
For me, it's going to require a few years of being incredibly intentional to tackle baby step #2. It means delaying gratification, trusting the process, and learning to be content with what I have. Statistically, it's the quickest path to financial freedom, so I'm ready to give it my all.
I know there'll be plenty of lessons I learn along the way, so this won't be the last post. I hope that by sharing my journey, others can feel inspired to be intentional in whatever area they're working on. It'll also makes me feel more accountable knowing others are aware of my goals. It's going to be a big change, but I now have a "why" that's big enough. My why is so that, like my grandpa, soon I'll be able to live and give like no one else.
Are there any specific posts you'd like to see? Would it be helpful to share a breakdown of a monthly budget and how I'm saving in specific areas?