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Thread: Life after debt?

  1. #1
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    Life after debt?

    I am curious about those of you who were at one time in considerable debt but have since paid it off. What are the biggest or most notable differences between your life before debt and your life after debt?

    When you were still in debt did you have a vision or plan for your life after debt? How close is the reality to what your vision/plan was?

  2. #2
    Senior Member SteveinMN's Avatar
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    We are not debt-free, with two mortgages (different properties) on our balance sheet. However, both of us in previous lives were at the point where we had to scrounge around the couch for any discretionary income. Those situations were accomplished largely by spending money "the way everyone else does".

    I think the biggest difference in our lives (for both of us) is a tendency to not want to waste money. n.b., that does not mean pinching pennies until Lincoln screams. Well, at least not for us. It's just that we do evaluate what we're spending our money on, especially the big-ticket items, and try to honor our priorities in that.

    Neither one of us drives a coughing, wheezing wreck; we bought both of our cars new (though hers was a floor demo) with the stuff we wanted on them and we'll drive 'em till they can no longer be replaced economically (a combined 23 years to date). It's entirely possible one of the cars won't be replaced when it breathes its last. We're planning a cruise next year and it's not going to be inexpensive even with an inside stateroom and a distinct lack on spending on board (compared to other passengers; that's just us), but DW really wants to go and she's willing to work another month or two past her retirement date to pay for it.

    Kind of the YMOYL message, arrived at without having read the book.
    Last edited by SteveinMN; 12-6-18 at 7:05pm. Reason: clarification
    Success is to be measured not so much by the position that one has reached in life as by the obstacles which he has overcome. - Booker T. Washington

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by SteveinMN View Post
    We are not debt-free, with two mortgages (different properties) on our balance sheet. However, both of us in previous lives were at the point where we had to scrounge around the couch for any discretionary income.

    I think the biggest difference in our lives (for both of us) is a tendency to not want to waste money. n.b., that does not mean pinching pennies until Lincoln screams. Well, at least not for us. It's just that we do evaluate what we're spending our money on, especially the big-ticket items, and try to honor our priorities in that.

    Neither one of us drives a coughing, wheezing wreck; we bought both of our cars new (though hers was a floor demo) with the stuff we wanted on them and we'll drive 'em till they can no longer be replaced economically (a combined 23 years to date). It's entirely possible one of the cars won't be replaced when it breathes its last. We're planning a cruise next year and it's not going to be inexpensive even with an inside stateroom and a distinct lack on spending on board (compared to other passengers; that's just us), but DW really wants to go and she's willing to work another month or two past her retirement date to pay for it.

    Kind of the YMOYL message, arrived at without having read the book.
    Sounds like you have some rather noticeable differences between your life now and your life then! Nice!

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    Once in a while I think to myself: If I do my ten years and the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program works for me, what will I do if my student loan debt flips to $0.00?

    So I ask myself: What will my life after debt be like?

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    I guess I know there are a handful of things I would really like to do if the PSLF program forgives my loans.

    I have a few pipe dreams, like buying a campervan or a little tear drop camper and traveling all over the US and Canada. Or take two months and bum around Eastern and Western Europe.

    These types of things would take some considerable savings. And who knows if I could save that much or if I would be in any kind of position to do these pipe dreams anyway.

    I would like to get a job where I could be a bit more physically active and where I could dress casually or even wear a uniform.

    Of course, I would like to finally get down to 100 possessions. This has been a long term goal of mine. And I have never gotten there.

    As you can tell, my ideas for life after debt are very, very nebulous... so vague...

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    Steve, I laughed out loud. We always drive our cars until too expensive to repair. We don’t drive nearly as much now so our cars will probably last 20 years each. We buy 3-4 yo cars from the dealer pre-certified so everything is fixed. When young we were frugal by necessity. No other debt than a small mortgage. Old cars that my ex fixed himself. The lifestyle inflation we have now is on purpose so we can enjoy ourselves. That’s money spent on travel, eating out and other experiences. Steve, we have found good deals on repositioning cruises because they don’t want to take the ship empty. We can usually book a Royal Caribbean 8 day cruise for 500 each. They are usually booked a year in advance or a month before leaving. In both cases the timing determines the price. Sometimes it is cheaper to fly through the cruise line and sometimes not. We do pay for ship excursions. We don’t buy stuff onboard either. They try to upsell restaurants and the food in the dining room is excellent. They also want to take your picture all the time and sell you them. Ugh! We never had big debt of any kind.

  7. #7
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    We are currently debt free. Paid the house off about seven years ago. Then five years ago I was laid off my long term job - suddenly. (As in, I walked out that day having no previous warning. My walk saved others for eight more months.). Then, during my retirement, we bought two motorcycles (one for cash), and a new car. Back into debt! Paid all that off, and hubs had a near death medical experience - huge debt! I got a job. Insurance decided to pay most of the medical, I'm still working.

    That's the long version of - debt free might be temporary. Retirement might be temporary. Ones concept of "enough" might change. We are building a bigger cushion of cash with me working, so as to give us more peace of mind that we can weather the financial storms when we can't get jobs in later years

    As always, ymmv.

  8. #8
    Senior Member razz's Avatar
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    UL, DH and I had the usual debt for a mortgage, some car payments paid off ASAP, kids schooling etc but we were both thrifty in our goals and spending. Years later and debt-free, I have taken occasional trips that are a little pricier than earlier years paying the single supplement. Other than that, my clothes last forever, my home is easy to maintain, my diet is still simple, my car will go until maintenance is too pricey (maybe the next will be a self-drive model ), my recreation is similar to years ago. Basically I was content before, I am content now and still thrifty living within a simple budget.
    Gandhi: Happiness is when what you think, what you say and what you do are in harmony .

  9. #9
    Senior Member jp1's Avatar
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    I have never had significant debt, but SO has, mainly credit card debt. (for 15 years we have kept completely separate finances and have no intention of merging. I don't want to be the debbie downer who tells him he shouldn't spend X. If he needs to work until he's 80 to pay for the nice clothes he likes that's his choice.) I'll be retired (and wearing my schlubby gray t-shirts like minimal dude every day) long before then. He's always put a decent chunk into his 401k, but recently he stopped having any credit card debt and actually had money just sitting in the bank and asked "what do I do with it?" With my help he's now got a Roth IRA and a plan towards funding it.

    For me the biggest thing about having a decent positive balance sheet is just knowing that I could quit my moderately soul sucking mega corp job tomorrow if I wanted to. I'm not sure SO has been debt free long enough to have figured out what it means to him but I'll ask and report back if he offers up any profound insights.

  10. #10
    Senior Member dmc's Avatar
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    I remember it was nice when I paid off the mortgage, we just increased our savings though, so not much difference. We did take out a car loan recently due to the low rates at the time. Which I still debate about just going ahead and paying off. But it’s 1.9% and our money market account is paying 2.4%.

    Since my goal had been financial independence for quite some time I didn’t think to just go out and spend the extra funds we had available. Now we did have good incomes so we really didn’t do without much either. But buying a classic car or land that actually appreciates was where we put some of our play money.

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