Monday, March 14, 2016
The title says it all. Earlier today I took a wad of $100's (43 of them to be exact) and visited my local mortgage company. I walked in the door, handed over $4,279.22 and in so doing paid off the final rental house. I am now officially debt free (aside from a fixed interest credit card loan I arbitraged for a higher tax refund). Just over three years of blood, sweat and tears...Okay, I exaggerate a little. But as you can imagine, it wasn't easy by any stretch of the imagination.
In doing so, however, there was no drumroll, no trumpet blast marking the occasion. I never even got a "congratulations!" from the mortgage office secretary who handled what would prove to be my last mortgage related transaction from the bank. But it's okay. I know what I accomplished with my three plus years of sacrifices and determination. My laser focus hit the bulls-eye. I'm proud of the accomplishment and no anticlimactic secretary is gonna take that away. No, sir!
I beat the stated goal of paying off 3 rental mortgages totaling $177,650 in 42 months by three-and-a-half months. I now have an additional $1,476.46 in my pocket each month. That is now added to the previous passive income and it is enough to declare myself...
I now work because I want to. I don't have to keep a job to pay my bills. My passive income can take care of us now. I'm not rich. Don't even have a savings account. But I currently have enough passive income to live comfortably. With all my volunteer work, I'll be busier than ever--doing the things I want to do. Ahhhh! Gotta admit...it's a great feeling. And yet it, for all the hype, it feels just a bit anti-climactic at the same time. Weird. Must be a combination of having blogged about this eventuality for the past three years and just not having had enough time to let it all sink in. I don't know. I'm sure I'll gradually feel the reality instead of the theory sink in.
That's easy. I've been wanting to build up a diversified, dividend growth portfolio for some time now. I've learned a lot about myself over the years and one lesson I've learned well is that I don't have the discipline to ride out the ups and downs of the stock market while I have debt hanging over my head. Now that the debt's gone and my monthly financial needs are cared for outside of the stock market, I can comfortably ride out the volatility while collecting dividends which grow faster than the rate of inflation. I still have a business bringing in a fair amount of income. Income that will now flow to our dividend growth portfolio so that we can diversify into another passive income stream. Sounds like great fun and a personal challenge to boot!
Don't know. Maybe I'll write an occasional post describing how I'm meeting the above challenges. Either way, this is THE blog post I've been waiting more than three years to write. I hope that my posts will encourage others pursuing FI and debt-free living. Getting out of debt is not easy. Getting into debt is about the easiest thing to do in our consumer-oriented society. It's like walking downhill, whereas getting out of debt is just the opposite. Uphill all the way. Exhausting. Daunting. Excruciating at times. It tests your resolve each and every month. I just kept remembering that time passes. I needed to do my part and time would take care of the rest. And, true enough, here I am. It is done. Previous posts layout my method of staying motivated. If you want or need motivation, just go back to the beginning - January 1, 2013 and read forward. The story technically goes back further than that and the debt deeper than $173k. I was actually closer to $300k at one point. I started with my personal residence and then just kept paying off houses one by one letting the snowball effect help me along the way.
Share your stories here. I'd love to read them. I was motivated by one particular blogger who had accomplished that same goal of paying off and blogging about his monthly progress. Help others by sharing the good, bad and ugly of it all. Just writing and sharing will help you stay the course. Blog for accountability. It helps.
Here's wishing the best to all! Keep up the fight. It's worth the sacrifice.