99 Problems

Aside from just a little student loan debt, (you can read about it in full here) not having consumer or car debt is really a breath of fresh air. I truly don’t know why I thought having payments that accounted for about 95% of my income was how life was supposed to be.

 

As I make light of our student loan debt, unfortunately it is common place to just accept debt in today’s society. I speak from experience, I thought it was how you were supposed to live. When I wanted something I just bought it. When cash was tight, I would throw it on a interest free credit card and wait for bonuses from coaching to roll in.

 

Every dollar was spent. I wasn’t completely out of control and I saved some, but honestly I was not a good steward of money. Most of why I share our story is because my wife and I were not super savvy with our money up until 2016. Quite honestly, we still have a lot to learn and more to improve on. This should hopefully serve up some inspiration for you if you face money challenges.

 

How awesome would a debt free, young and wealthy generation be?

 

Considering the following stats when it comes to debt, don’t worry if you are reading this and feeling guilty about debt, because you are not alone. According to the federal reserve, debt in the United States in 2016 as follows:

 

debt stats 2016

 

Debt is not just part of life.

 

In regards to debt, more and more younger adults think it is OK and just part of life. I always reference how my grandpa never used credit and always lived below his means, where has that mindset gone?

 

Instead of spending more the younger generations could benefit from learning to save more. A fellow blogger friend, Bobby at M$M wrote an awesome article on the real reason he doesn’t have debt after his wife’s father passed away. The main theme – debt doesn’t have to guide every acting principal forever. 

 

A common misconception is to just take it on the chin and pay the minimum. I hate to be the bearer of not so good news, but no one is coming to eradicate your debt anytime soon. Student loans are not going anywhere, credit card debt is rising and houses are not getting any cheaper.

 

There tends to a be a common misconception that some sort of bailout will take care of debt. A recent LendEDU survey polled current college students and 1 in 2 think student loans will be forgiven. Don’t rely on the government or politicians to erase student loans or any debt!

 

The real mindset on how you should approach your finances lies in a great book called The Millionaire Next Door. I am actually almost done with a blog post summarizing the entire book, but the main theme boils down to a few words: Frugal, Don’t Compare Yourself, and Save.

 

Misconceptions about Debt

 

Debt is not some sort of necessary evil like people are sometimes taught. This happens to be one of the many common misconceptions about debt, along with the myths like you can never not have debt, debt is good in case of emergencies, and I am trying to improve my credit score.

Debt no Problem

I still remember justifying my first credit card I got in college.  It came with a free sub and a 34% interest rate. In American households that carry credit card debt (pushing $17,000) they justify their consumer debt. Newsflash – your debt is an emergency and you should probably stop overspending.

 

Want to retire one day millennial generation ?

You will need 1.8 million to do so according to this USA Today story.

 

The scariest misconception is the idea of taking out debt to cover the gap between income and expenses. Using debt to cover expenses is a short term solution to a really, really long term problem. Any time we consulted on our finances the first focus we heard was to create an emergency fund. People debate the specific amount, but we have 4 to 5 months saved if we ever had an emergency.

 

And savings is just that – savings. I used to tap into my savings to pay for my overspending. This was a very bad habit because I justified my spending knowing I had savings. I am guilty of just about every type of these misconceptions.

 

But there is great news! You can be debt free quicker than you think.

 

Debt Free Me

 

In my post about paying off $109,000 in 21 months I forgot to mention that it really wasn’t that hard. My wife and I just gradually incorporated lifestyle changes that allowed us to do so.

No we are not lucky, like some have said, we are just focused. I sold my truck. We stopped going out so much. And most importantly we stopped comparing ourselves to others. We streamlined our life and our accounts and it has been awesome ever since.

 

5 posts about debt that might help you:

Start with a Budget to GOOD (Get Out of Debt): Click Here

How to Pay off 60K in 40 Months: Click Here

Student Loan Help: Click Here

Side Hustles to Earn More Money: Click Here

Mortgage & Debt Acceleration: Click Here

 

Steps to take if you are serious about getting out of debt.

  1. Read the above posts that apply and use the GOOD sheet to track income/expenses

  2. Write down goals for when you want to be debt free

  3. Create an emergency fund first to get in the habit of stashing money

  4. Use the “How to Pay” post to understand the debt snowball and start chucking away at your smallest amounts

  5. Wash, Rinse, Repeat

  6. Re-visit monthly to see how you are progressing

Q: What hold you back from paying off debt?

 

Your future self will be glad you read.                  – Josh

6 Replies to “I Got 99 Problems, But Debt Ain’t One!”

  1. Good stuff, Josh. I am a big fan of that book “The Millionaire Next Door.” In fact, I’m thinking of that as a graduation present for each of my nephews. They all want to get rich and drive fancy cars, live extravagant lifestyles. Crazy.

    1. Hey Cube! Yes, it is such a good book. I always talk about my grandpa, he retired young, worked for himself, had rentals, never used credit or debt. What happened to those day?

      He was old school, at one time he had $50,000 in cash sitting around because he didn’t “like banks” haha. The mindset needs to change.

      Best graduation gift ever! Keep up the good stuff over at Abandon Cubicle!

  2. Great post. It’s sad that people just accept debt and aren’t taught any differently. Unfortunately I think the mindset is handed down through generations and people just expect to struggle. If only we had better financial education in this country…or if everyone just read our blogs!

    1. Thank you! I agree 100%,it is a mindset that needs changing. I speak from my upbringing, but it was never discussed that you shouldn’t have debt. We were always told not to have consumer debt, but other then that it has been widely accepted that debt is part of life.

      But it doesn’t have to be! Thanks for commenting.

  3. Changing my mindset and thinking about debt as an emergency was what helped me to pay off about $20k several years back. Before I ramped up my debt repayment I was paying the minimum on my student loan and car loan, and had accepted the debt as a way of life. If I can buy something in cash, that’s always better, but if I have to take a loan out, I try to pay it back as fast as possible. Right now, my husband and I are gearing up to build a house, but are saving to put 20% down.

    1. That is awesome! I had the same mindset, just pay the minimum and stay away from credit card debt but because I thought the rest was “good” or “necessary” debt. Personally, I can’t wait to be student loan debt free 🙂

      Congrats on the new home, throwing 20% down and paying off the principal fast will save alot over time! Here is something different I wrote about one time with regards to paying mortgages fast! http://moneylifewax.com/debt-acceleration-how-we-paid-off-100k/

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