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T-10 Years to Financial Freedom!!

September 4, 2013

As we’re getting into the swing of being more conscious of our spending habits, and getting back into our school and work routines, I have been genuinely excited about our plan to pay off all of our debt in the next three years.  When I mentioned this, I excluded mortgage debt on purpose because I felt like it would be too big to tackle. But the more I think about it and the more it feels like the ultimate key to financial freedom. Think about it – with no debt and no mortgage, we would cut our current living expenses by half. With our current income, that means we’d be able to save almost $50,000 per year!! $50,000 A YEAR!!! That is how much my starting salary was out of undergrad!

So naturally, being the excel nerd that I am, I created an amortization table to see how long it would take to pay off the mortgage after we paid off all of our student loan debt. The answer was truly surprising, in a good way! If we take the money we were putting towards student loan debt, and put all of our anticipated tax refunds towards the mortgage payments, we’d be able to have our house paid off by June 2023. And that is assuming that any pay raises we got would go to savings and/or growing our travel fund. How awesome would that be?

This really, really motivates me. It would mean that we could take our kids to Europe and Africa. It would mean that we could have more time with our family, cut back hours at work, and spend time doing the things that we are really passionate about. It would also mean that we don’t drive designer cars, continue living in our townhouse in the ‘burbs and continue shopping at Macy’s instead of Neiman Marcus. But truth be told, that is a trade-off I am more than willing to make! I would be happy to coupon and keep tabs on our grocery spending and limit my spending if it means that I get more time to spend with the people I love, doing the things I loved.

Yesterday evening was one of the most magical ever! I cam home from work, hubby was busy cooking dinner, I scooped up the kiddo b/c he had just pooped, changed his pull up, then we built a puzzle (well, he did it and I watched/encouraged him). After dinner, we played some more as a family – the kiddo peddled his tricycle, we did more puzzles, and we listened to Pandora. We sang songs from the Sound of Music and Raffi and we danced, and skipped, and twirled and acted silly before taking a bath and reading some stories.

The point of all this is that I would much rather have one night like last night than a designer bag, or designer shoes, or a nice car, or even a fancy dinner out each week. It’s easy to value clothes or shoes or cars or even meals, but how do you value experiences?  We know that buying a $300 purse means that we have to work x number of hours at the office, but too often we miss the connection that x number of hours at the office also means x number of hours away from our loved ones. What is the price of that? Is it $300 or is it more?

Pondering that point is what really motivates me to gain financial independence. It’s not to have millions of dollars in the bank (though that would be nice), it’s really about being able to spend the most valuable currency, TIME, the way I want to spend it: with my friends and with my family.

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