Monday, July 20, 2009

A New Beginning

My sister in law posted this video on Facebook and when I watched it, tears instantly came to my eyes. Please watch it, it's very short, and then I'll explain.

We're suppose to close on the sale of our house today. I know that I've been mostly focusing on the desire to be done with the sale and our need for the money that will result from the sale. What I haven't focused on, and what really should be the focus, is what the sale of this house is enabling us to do.

Every day on the news we see headlines shouting about the current "economic crisis"'s enough to make me want to quit watching the news. Oh wait, I already hated watching the news. But I digress. Thing is, this economic crisis can be chalked up to one thing and one thing alone: our country has been spending money it doesn't have for years. Unfortunately, that travels all the way down the line to me. And to you.

There's a belief out there that is embraced by millions and it's slowly killing us, financially. The belief is that debt is ok. Debt is normal. Debt can even be a good thing. I subscribed wholeheartedly to that belief for years. But here's the thing, and I'm not pulling any punches here: that belief is a lie.

I'll break it down a little bit. Between our equity loan, our student loans, our credit card, and our medical bills, Nathan and I were paying out $1000/month...TO THE PAST! This wasn't money we were paying towards today or tomorrow, we were still paying for yesterday, for things we did or bought years ago. That's $12,000/year that we weren't able to put towards our future, or the future of our sons. Each month, approximately $300 of that simply went towards interest on that debt...that's $3600 each year spent only on that wasn't even going towards paying off yesterday, but instead is paying the bank for the pleasure of taking our money.

Another myth believed widely is that we NEED credit cards. Don't even get me started on that one, because it's bogus. If you believe you NEED that credit card (or multiple credit cards) that is monopolizing the space in your wallet, you're lying to yourself and buying in to the crap that the credit card companies have been feeding us for years.

I could go into several more of the numerous myths that our society buys into, but I'll save those for later posts. Right now is a celebration of where we stand today and where we will stand in just a few days from now.

Today we still claim over $80,000 in debt. That is a sum that makes me cringe and puts my teeth on edge. Before we found out we needed to move and sell our house, we were on track (through sacrifice and tightening the financial belt) to pay of that debt in five years. FIVE YEARS! In our fast-paced, "I want it now" society, that seems like a lifetime, but not compared to the track we were on which would have seen us paying it off about the same time the boys go to college.

While losing my job and having to move brought a lot of frustration and anger with it, we've come to realize that it was a huge blessing in disguise. With the sale of our house, in just three to four days we will be paying off 100% of our debt. That is where the tears came from. This has been a long hard few years, and yet ALL of it has been bringing us to this point. And now we're here, standing on the brink of a brand new life. That may seem overly dramatic, but if you really think about it, it's not. It really IS the start of a brand new life, a life free of the bonds of debt.

That $1000/month that we were sending to the bank to pay off our past? That can now go towards our future, towards a home that we don't owe any money on and a retirement that will be amazing. The huge savings we're going to keep instead of immediately dropping into a house we can't afford? We will suddenly become our own credit card, one without interest, where we can make our money work for us instead of for the bank; one to be used wisely, for sure, yet one that gives us the freedom to control our money instead of our money controlling us.

With our nation's economy the way it is, and with no up-swing in sight (despite what the news tries to tell you), I'm proud of the fact that our boys will never have to see Mommy and Daddy fret over how to pay for the past. I'm proud that we will be leading by example, refusing to pay for anything unless it's with cash. I'm proud that we will be teaching them that debt doesn't have to be the norm, that debt isn't "good". I pray that this will help them be smart and successful in their futures.

Our sign says:



Arly said...

I LOVE IT!! Congrats. We have one month and we'll have our full emergency fund furnished!

Go Go Go! ;)

Lindy said...

Yeah, our emergency fund will be 100% done with the money left over from the house after we're done paying off all the debt. So exciting! Congrats to you guys too!

Kate said...

I know how you feel about the video... it reminds me of why we life the way we do, and why it is worth it.

We are DEBT FREE except for the house and have NO credit cards at all, and we are 6 mo away from finishing our emergency fund (if not sooner)! YAY!