My wife and I hit our lowest point in April 2016, $170,409.52 in debt. We managed this feat in a variety of ways, but the bulk of our debt resulted from student loans. Neither my wife nor I hold any outside circumstances or institutions responsible for our situation. We had made more than our fair share of bad choices for our borrowing to get that far out of control. The key at this point wasn’t to assign blame anyway, we needed some serious introspection and to fundamentally change our behavior. We finally realized the need to overcome debt.
I don’t believe a change of this magnitude is sustainable without a great reason why. For my wife and I, our reason was our kids.
Discovering Our ‘Why?’
I had been toeing the water of financial independence for about a year before our debt bottomed out. I admittedly had a difficult time fully grasping exactly how that was possible and what it meant. So, of course, I had an even harder time relaying the concept to my wife; who couldn’t be less interested in this topic to begin with.
However, she was due to give birth to our 3rd little girl, and last child, in August of 2016. I don’t know if it was the fact that our family was finally complete or not, but something finally clicked for both of us, and we had the motivation necessary to make lasting change. We agreed that the lifestyle we were living wasn’t sustainable. In fact, most of the things we financed in the past made our lives no happier. It’s a hard realization to accept you are still paying for things you no longer use which aren’t making your life better. We were finally awake, we had a need to overcome debt.
Need to Overcome Debt
Once we both accepted the inevitable course our lives must take, we poured ourselves into it. We had to find more information on how we could eliminate our debt faster. There had to be other people in a similar situation, what were they doing to fix past mistakes? Finally, we had to convince ourselves that financial independence was actually attainable. The ability to overcome debt was one thing, but to be financially free seemed too good to be true.
Our new state of mind created a flurry of activity for both my wife and I. The problem was, it wasn’t directed at one single thing. We were acting like our 3 year old daughter in a video arcade/trampoline house…tons of movement, lots of attention given to whatever flashed brightest, no progress.
It was time to curb our excitement. Neither of us thought we were going to dig out of a $170k hole in a few months. To be cliche, this was a marathon, not a sprint. We needed to be focused…intentional…we needed a plan.
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