Since the spring of 2015, I have been obsessed with managing our finances. The ultimate objective is probably “Financial Freedom,” which is commonly defined as earning enough passive income to live off without working. Yet in the short run, my main focus has been to bring peace of mind by getting smarter at accomplishing financial goals.
Let’s take the area of debt. We’ll start with credit cards. I have written about them in the past, often not that positively. To be clear, credit cards can be used well. We have had a rewards card since last September and haven’t paid a dime in interest because we pay it off every month. There is one flat fee each year, but it is manageable. More importantly, the points we accrue are worth more than the yearly fee, so it is beneficial to use.
However, a few short years ago I had a high revolving balance on a credit card that I had for many years. I hadn’t made much progress towards paying it off, and every month half of my credit card payment went towards interest fees!
When I finally got serious about paying it off in 2015, I felt like I took my financial destiny into my own hands. I began aggressively paying it off, tracking my progress every month and eagerly anticipating each payment that brought the balance down. Within about a year, I had the entire thing paid off 🙂
The next debt-related goal I tackled was back taxes. We had accrued some unpaid back taxes. One day I remember my wife being upset as she talked to someone on the phone from the IRS about it. At that moment, I suggested we set up a fairly high amount of monthly payment on it, so that we could pay it off faster. We set about paying that off with the same pointed focus. Within a year or two, that was paid off as well.
My current debt-related project is to pay off my student loan. I haven’t been too concerned with it, as it has a low interest rate. I have paid it off leisurely over the past few years while I managed other things. However, I am down to the final few thousand, and plan to have it paid off by my next birthday. Happy birthday to me 🙂
These areas of handling debt are just several examples of how a consistent commitment to financial well-being is making a significant positive difference in our life. The BEFORE and AFTER picture couldn’t be more difference. I used to be constantly stressed and worried about money. Nowadays, I generally enjoy the game and the progress we are making. I used to be very negative and pessimist about this topic in general. Nowadays, I’m enthused.
This area has probably been the single biggest passion for me in these last four years. It is paying off by giving me much-desired peace of mind and a sense of empowerment around our lives.
And these things are certainly worthwhile, don’t you think?