Monday, March 14, 2016

Paid Off My Rentals! Goal Achieved! FI Declared!


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'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! it?  A few final observations about getting out of debt.

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.


Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Update - February, 2016 - Sooooo Close!

Paying off large amounts of debt is like moving a massive pile of dirt with a shovel.  It seems daunting at first, but you simply have to roll up your sleeves and get started.  At times it gets exhausting and discouraging when you've worked your butt off and still see a huge pile of dirt remaining.  At times, you might get to borrow a bigger shovel, or even a tractor and remove huge amounts of dirt all at once (such as in the case of a windfall, like a tax refund or a gift or selling an unused or unnecessary item and applying that money toward the debt).  But those moments are few and far between.  At many points along the way you just have to just take a deep breath and resolve to continue.  Slowly but surely you see that pile disappear.  Three years of shoveling is a lot of work.  The bottom line:  It's the sustained effort that gets the job done.

February turned out to be an unexpectedly fantastic month on the payoff front.  While we were beginning to hold out hope for the possibility of beating our original July, 2016 payoff goal by a month or possibly two, we voluntarily took a pay cut that began to erode those chances.  However, we got our hands on a bulldozer to move a large amount of debt...our janitorial company had been accumulating some additional monies in the bank over the past year and all of us owners met and decided to take a significant distribution totaling $6k each.  Since my lovely wife in one of the owners and totally on board with the payoffmyrentals plan, we pooled the distributions and plopped all $12k down and cut a couple of months off the goal.  This was in addition to the $4,600.00 principal payment already set aside for February.  Therefore, we paid an additional $16,600 on the balance.  In all honesty it feels painful and satisfying all at the same time.  Like taking too big a swig of Coca Cola.  It burns, but it burns good!

That leaves our pile of dirt, er, I mean, debt at only 4% of where we started just over three years ago.

Jan 1, 2013 (Beginning Bal).                                           February 1st, 2016                                Amount Paid Off
House #1 - $70,908                                         House #1 - $7,664                       $63,244
House #2 - $57,619                                         House #2 - $ 0                              $57,619
House #3 - $49,123                                         House #3 - $ 0                              $49,123
-----------------------------                                    -----------------------------               -----------------------------
Total:       $177,650                                                          $7,664                      $169,986 (-95.68%)

We're so stoked over this progress.  It's not hard for me to remember back to when we started on this debt payoff journey.  That mountain of debt loomed large, blocking out the sun while casting a dark shadow over our future plans for FI.  Now it's a mere wheelbarrow's worth of debt.  We should be able to finish this off in two more months.  So, we are officially calling April 1st, the projected end.  That would take the original 42 months required down to 39 months.  As a result, April 1st will herald the official proclamation of FI for this family.  If that isn't incentive, I don't know what is.

The bank will no longer extract $553.88 of our precious resource every month.  We keep every last cent and use it to enjoy freedom, independence and peace of mind.  Priceless.  There's great satisfaction to finishing a project.  Believe me, I've started many over the years only to allow life and distraction to get in the way and give up mid-stream.  NOT THIS TIME!  This project will be seen though to its utter completion.

Carry on, everyone.  Keep the vision in focus.  Let your sustained efforts keep you on track and join the chorus of the many thousands who have been able to enjoy the tranquility of debt-free living.

Friday, January 1, 2016

Update - January, 2016 - Minimilism

What a difference a couple of months makes. 

  • Two months ago we were living in a paid-off house.
    • Now we live in a paid off 29' R.V.(2006 bumper-pull trailer).
This is a move toward a more simplified, liberated, freer lifestyle.  What's really amazing is that my wife is totally on board (though not without having had to overcome some typical reservations, i.e. Where will we put all of our clothes?  Where will you put your office?  Where will I go when you start to snore?).  We've been able to resolve everything but the last concern.  That will resolve itself when I drop ten pounds.  Now I have no excuse since we are literally parked across the street from a gym...dang it!

We currently own seven houses.  We've lived in two of them over the years.  But now, living in what amounts to a "tiny home", we couldn't feel more content.  That's due in part to the fact that we have a reason, a purpose for this life-style adjustment:  We want maximum mobility at minimal cost.  We want to be able to travel and move around at the drop of a hat.  We want to live on a small passive income.  We don't want chaos and clutter.  We don't need a lot of room to be happy.  And you know what?  It's working.  For example, we just returned from a couple of weeks in Costa Rica and we're getting ready to fly to California for another week and a half to visit my wife's parents.  I'll likely do some volunteer work in New York this Spring for a month or so, and the list goes on.

We are beginning to reap the rewards of our rental mortgage payoff journey.  But that goal has always been combined with the reduction of spending and increase of savings.  As our budget now stands, we live on just under $2,000 p/mo.  That includes $670.00 per month for a high-deductible health-care plan.  Our cost for the ACA plan rose 50% for 2016.  That was a shocker and one that caused me a mini-fit.

Mind you, this is all completely voluntary as we still reap the rewards of a business we own and draw about 75k a year from.  This money has largely been earmarked for the rental mortgage payoff plan that is the subject of this blog.  We have that business on the selling block and are readying ourselves for the loss of most of that income going forward.  If it sells, than we'll pay off the balance of this final mortgage.  If not, then we'll stay the course with the high monthly principal payments and just invest the rest until things change. Either way, it's all good. 

Speaking of that final mortgage balance...

Jan 1, 2013 (Beginning Bal).                                           January 1st, 2016                                Amount Paid Off
House #1 - $70,908                                         House #1 - $24,733                      $46,175
House #2 - $57,619                                         House #2 - $ 0                              $57,619
House #3 - $49,123                                         House #3 - $ 0                              $49,123
-----------------------------                                    -----------------------------               -----------------------------
Total:       $177,650                                                          $24,733                     $152,917 (-86.07%)

Looking back over last year, we have paid off nearly $40,000.  The balance last January was $63,163.  It now stands at $24,733.  Wow!  That's a lot of smackers thrown at the mortgage!

While we sent an additional $4,000 to the principal this month, that's not as much as we should've sent.  We decided to maximize the tax advantages of sending the final contribution of more than $2,000 to finish out the 2015 HSA contributions.  I feel good about that.  Also, we had tiled the floor and shower and replaced the water heater of our house before moving out.  We also paid for the Costa Rica and California trips on top of everything else.  That set us back a bit.  However, I believe we are looking forward to a hefty principal payment for next month as we'll dip into the rental monies to add to our payment.  I relish the thought of getting that balance under $20k.

This is the final stretch.  Three years ago when I started this blog we said we would pay off $177,650 in just forty-two months.  We are now down to the last six months and it looks like a checkered flag I see waving in the distance.  Once we pay that last house off, I will officially declare ourselves FI!  The additional $1,476.46 added to our other previous rental real estate income will be more than enough to make that declaration.  We're turning the page to a new and very exciting chapter of our lives.

In the meantime, let's all make this a productive year and stretch forward toward the realization of our goals.  I know we're not the only ones out there working hard, making sacrifices and displaying resolute determination to achieve financial freedom.  Let us know how your doing.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Update - November, 2015 - Keep on truckin!

Another few months have passed and I thought I'd update the few of you out there that may still be following my Rental mortgage payoff journey.  I am now nine months shy of the goal date which also means I'm 33 months into this marathon.  I now have far more mortgage payoff miles in my rearview mirror than I have left to go.  Time is doing what time does best...keeps moving relentlessly forward and stands still for no one.  It's both a friend and an enemy.  A friend to those with a plan and the determination to stick to it, but the enemy of those who just live from one day to the next, never planning beyond tomorrow.  Okay, okay enough waxing philosophical!

I can't tell you how often I thought the whole debt payoff process through from several different angles and entertained different ideas on how to accomplish it over the past several years.  I've gone back and forth on saving and paying in lump sums to sending every spare cent in the minute it cleared my bank account.  At times, I've decided to invest, only to end up selling the investments and sending those monies to pay down the mortgage.  I keep coming back to the simple realization that I've never wanted anything so badly as I want to see this goal through to its completion.  Having said that, I've just sent another $8,900.00 in addition to November's regular payment to the bank and taken a chunk out of this last mortgage.  As of November 1st., the balances look like this:

November Payoff Stats:
Jan 1, 2013 (Beginning Bal).                                                        November 1st, 2015                                Amount Paid Off
House #1 - $70,908                                         House #1 - $29,639                      $41,269
House #2 - $57,619                                         House #2 - $ 0                              $57,619
House #3 - $49,123                                         House #3 - $ 0                              $49,123
-----------------------------                                    -----------------------------               -----------------------------
Total:       $177,650                                                          $29,639                     $148,011 (-83.31%)

My last update was in August and the balance was $39,824.  It felt good to be under $40k but it feels even better here in November to be under $30k!!!  We just keep on truckin' and it just feels right. 

It's always super cool to see what the accelerated payoff plan does to the Principal/Interest ratio.  Just a few months ago back in January when the balance on House #3 was $63,163, the Principal/Interest ratio was $335.60 Principal / $218.28 Interest.  Now, having paid the balance down to $29,639 the ratio stands at $450.45 Principal / 103.43 Interest.  That's an additional $114.85 applied toward principal every month.  $114.85 each month  ($1,378.20 yearly) more money going (or "staying" if you prefer) in my pocket instead of going into the bank's coffers.

The reward is just around the corner and the payoff will have been well worth the sacrifices.  I'm on track and dare I say, may even be able to meet my mortgage payoff goal sooner than next July.  $177,650 paid off in forty-two months equates to an average of $4,229.76 per month applied toward the payoff.  Of course it hasn't been quite that linear, but it still amounts to a great deal of money applied month after month after month.  A short sighted person only looks at how they could spend an extra $4,200 and all the nice things that would buy.  A far-sighted, big picture kinda guy sees getting out of debt and converting that into a nice income as the reward in itself. 

I obviously haven't been posting every month.  I'll post every few months when it seems worthwhile to update everyone.  No money being made or sought on this blog.  It serves the purpose stated at the top of the page and hopefully encouraged a few who are travelling the same path toward FI and debt-free living.  To all of you I can only say, "Keep on truckin!"

Saturday, August 1, 2015

Countdown to FI

10...9...8...7...6...Financial Independence!!!!!!!!!

FI is fast approaching. The "Countdown" has begun.  That's the day when I can and will officially declare myself "Financially Independent".  What does that term mean to you?  It's certainly better than "retirement". Why?  Because retirement often evokes a picture of someone in his 60's or 70's lazing about, playing golf or bridge all day long.  For many, it can even create a negative image of someone who has no real purpose in life, drifting along in a life raft of leisure (Wait a minute!  What's wrong with that?) 

While "Financial Independence" tends to simply say that you no longer have to earn a living.  You're no longer trading hours for dollars.  You've already earned it.  You now get to pursue  whatever work, passion, hobby or [insert productive activity here] you darn well desire.  Full-time, part-time, what is time for that matter? Heck (pardon my language), do whatever you wanna do!  You're the master of your time.  Unlike many people's vision of retirement, you've not punched your last timecard and now ride off into the sunset.  No!  You are just getting started, but now YOU call the shots.  YOU decide how you'll spend your time without a job or a boss's interference, (unless you so choose).   That's the flipside of our reason for having undertaken the goal to pay off our last three rental property mortgages.  The other reason was to relieve ourselves of ALL, that's 100% of all debt.  What steps are we taking to live on our rental income?

New budget - Categories with amounts.

We have refined our budget to include all the little incidental expenditures that can bust a budget. Clothing, Property Taxes, Home Insurance, Home and Auto Maintenance to name a few. Beginning this month, we are attempting to live on the amount of income we anticipate from our rentals.  How much is that?  Approximately $2,323.00 per month or $27,876 per year.  That's the conservative figure.  It already takes into consideration the cost of Taxes, Maintenance, Insurance, Vacancies and professional property management.  This number could even improve by several hundred dollars a month if we decide to rent our personal residence and live in our 31' RV.  Decisions, decisions... 

It gets even better because we haven't even considered the passive income we'll be receiving from our Commercial Janitorial Company until we decide what to do with it.  Right now that additional income is fairly significant.  We'll likely convert that money to dividend growth equities and further add to our passive income with another income producing stream. 

Minimalism a.k.a. "Simplification"

What else will we be doing during the remaining nine months counting down to FI?  I'm taking a real interest in the Minimalist way of life.  No, I'm not talking about extreme minimalism where you own 100 items or less.  But I am talking about really simplifying and culling out those things that take up space.  Everything we own has a price attached.  You either have to clean it, maintain it, insure it, protect it, think about it or at least make room for it.  All those items big and small add up to a lot of clutter, mental and otherwise.  I want to minimize those things and add to my new-found sensation of freedom.  I want to have more time and energy to devote to things that are important to me, the things that have the most meaning for me.  Minimalism sounds like a worthwhile path to pursue during this countdown to FI.

Practice and refine for the next nine months

Nine months.  Wow!  It could possibly even be sooner than that.  Either way, this will be a lifestyle transition.  It's a big deal.  Like all other worthwhile endeavors, why not prepare and practice living my future right now in the present. I will have to show more self control with my spending habits than before.  Up to now, I've been able to buy anything and everything I wanted.  That's certainly not realistic when living on a fixed income.   

August Payoff Stats:

Jan 1, 2013 (Beginning Bal).                                                         August 1st, 2015                                Amount Paid Off
House #1 - $70,908                                         House #1 - $39,824                      $31.084
House #2 - $57,619                                         House #2 - $ 0                              $57,619
House #3 - $49,123                                         House #3 - $ 0                              $49,123
-----------------------------                                    -----------------------------               -----------------------------
Total:       $177,650                                                          $39,834                     $137,816 (-77.57%)

This month I was throwing money at this balance like a man on fire.  Every time I had available monies, they barely had time to register in the checking account before they were quickly transferred.  I made seven separate additional principal payments totaling $9,307.39.  Add to that amount the additional principal portion of  my August payment totaling $415.56 and you see a total reduction to the balance of  $9,722.95.  That's just stinking awesome!  The ability to apply monies that previously went toward mortgage payments is really helping the snowball efforts here. 

One way to highlight that is to look at the Principal/Interest ratio just a few short months ago:  May's principal & interest payment broke down to $340.24 principal / $213.64 interest.  Whereas with the snowballing of payments in May, June and July totaling $20,807.39 the August principal/interest ratio was $415.56 principal / $138.33 interest.  That's $75.32 more towards principal and less in interest every month (before compounding) going forward!  In short, if you divide the saved interest x 12 months then divide by the total principal invested, you arrive at your loan APY (Annual Percentage Yield) interest rate as the rate of return or just over 4.125% APR (Annual Percentage Rate).  Link to APY vs. APR

Compounding debt payoff is almost as exciting and fulfilling as compounding interest income.  The effect on net worth is the same, just different sides of the ledger except that often your trading a lower ROI (Return on Investment) or a lower reward in exchange for removing market risks.  And while that's a calculated trade-off for most who chose to pay off a mortgage over investing those monies, I can't wait to reverse the two sides of the ledger.  ;-)

The countdown has entered the final stage...

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Update - July, 2015 - You can do it!

"The man who begins to say it can't be done is often interrupted by somebody else doing it." -Elbert Hubbard

Excuses, excuses!  I am often appalled when after reading an encouraging personal debt payoff story submitted by someone who has patiently sacrificed the pleasures of today for a better life tomorrow, the reader responses are littered with the skeptics who spend energy and digital ink condemning the contributor as a liar or exaggerator because in their minds it couldn't be done.  Then there are others who simply must justify themselves and their inability to accomplish something similar because they just don't have it as good as the author.  They may feel better about their lack of success, but in the end they've been interrupted by the man (or woman) who did it.
I've been in the debt payoff mode for several years now and I can tell you from personal experience that it's NOT easy.  To be successful you must constantly swim against the current of self-indulgent consumerism promoted by the commercial system whose economic life depends on your living beyond your means.  You fight boredom as the same basic incremental payments seem to ever so slowly whittle away at the mountain of debt month after month for years on end.  You wrestle with discouragement when unforeseen bills such as medical expenses or house and car maintenance costs eat away at your debt repayment efforts.  The list is endless and any one or all the above becomes the fodder of excuse-makers.
If that has been your experience, take heart!  You can become the one who by your bold, patient persistence interrupts the naysayers.  Don't let their defeatist attitudes and excuse-making become a source of discouragement.  I've said it before, but the secret to success lies in visualization.  You must be able to see yourself living your new debt-free life.  You've got to imagine the feeling of satisfaction, having reached your goals.  Feel the freedom.  See the better life.  Meditate on the positives.  I find writing this blog helps me.  I frequently go back and read what I've written and I'm amazed at how encouraging that can be.  Associate with like-minded people who are working hard to liberate themselves from the bonds of debt.  Read their stories and rejoice in their accomplishments with the full expectation that your day will come.  If they can do it, so can you!

Jan 1, 2013 (Beginning Bal).                                              July 1st, 2015                                Amount Paid Off
House #1 - $70,908                                         House #1 - $49,547                      $21,361
House #2 - $57,619                                         House #2 - $ 0                              $57,619
House #3 - $49,123                                         House #3 - $ 0                              $49,123
-----------------------------                                    -----------------------------               -----------------------------
Total:       $177,650                                                          $49,547                     $128,103 (-72.10%)

Well, as you can see, we've paid off $128,103.  That has certainly not been easy.  What could I have done with $128k over the past two and a half years?  Plenty!  New cars, trucks, home remodel, gadgets galore, tons of travel.  We could have become drunk on consumerism without the hangover of debt.  But at times when I'm feeling weak or bored, I just go back and read more on debt-free living and imagine what life will be like by this time next year when I can fully enjoy the fruits of my labors and call an official end to this forty-two month rental property payoff marathon.
The battle will have been worth the sacrifices.  I can see that clearly.  Can you see it in your case?  Let me know how things are going in your debt-payoff adventures.  What issues are you battling?  How close are you and what "future reality" helps you carry on in your efforts? 

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Update - May, 2015

It's all downhill from here.

Long term goals are not easy to accomplish, especially when you are sacrificing to achieve them.  If you love working-out or running, then reaching goals just sort of happens without any real effort because you love what your doing.  This idea fits in nicely with the saying: "Love what you do and you'll never work a day in your life".  However, reaching a long-term goal involving real sacrifice like, for example,  dieting to lose weight or, dare I say, paying off consumer debts like credit cards or mortgages is certainly a different beast.  It's easy to tire out along the way or get bored over the span of several years as you trudge along ever so slowly reaching your goal.  I know, it happened to me over the past several months since paying off rental property number two in December.  I wanted more excitement, a break from the self-sacrifice we'd been exercising over the previous twenty-four months of mortgage debt pay down.  So, what have we been doing the past four months?

Investing in the stock market

It's no secret to anyone reading this blog that I enjoy buying dividend growth companies.  During the last swoon in oil prices we bought Exxon, Shell, Conoco, Kinder Morgan, BP and BHP Billiton.
We made about a thousand dollars dabbling.  It was fun and I liked the choices over the long term, but despite our success in picking some good stocks at the right time, I just couldn't get past the guaranteed return of mortgage paydown vs. the risk of being in the equities market.  More than that, the real advantage of paying off a rental property is that not only do you get the automatic return of your interest rate savings (4.125% in this case), but you get that plus principal as cash flow, a sort of  "dividend" that comes right to your bank account month after month after month.  In this case involving the third and final rental property the amount of cash flow we'll receive in approximately one more year would look like this:

          Balance on mortgage: $63,149.10
          Principal & Interest:   $553.88 monthly or $6,646.56 annually.

How much would we have to invest in dividend paying stock in order to receive a yearly dividend income of $6,646.56?  Obviously the answer depends on the yields with which you fill your income-producing portfolio.  I'll err on the high side and use the average of the stocks we had purchased above.  After all, energy companies offer some of the richest yields available:
Average energy portfolio yield:  4.67%
Amount of investment dollars required to produce $6,646.56 @ 4.67% yield:  $142,324.63

What does it all mean? 

     1.  It means that I would have to invest $79,175.53 more than what I currently owe on this last 
          rental property in order to generate the same return that I can get by just buckling down and
          paying off this last mortgage over the next twelve months.

     2.  If we opted for the dividend portfolio, we would have to accept the market risks and possible
          loss of capital.

     3.  It would take considerably longer to save and invest the additional $80k and reap the full
          dividend reward of $553.88 per month.

So, as you can see, it is worthwhile to re-evaluate what you want to accomplish and when.  In our case, we still want to remove this last vestige of debt and be 100% free.  We also want to get this additional income generated as soon as possible while avoiding the market risks inherent with an equities portfolio.  That day will come, but only after we've reduced or eliminated all other controllable risks to our personal financial profile.

Where are we in May, 2015?

Well, as I mentioned in my previous post and as a result of selling the aforementioned stocks, we were able to make a large principal payment totaling $11,000 this month bringing our balance to $50,809 from $62,149.  That's a wonderful chunk of equity and get's the snowball rolling downhill a lot faster.  I can't wait to see the effect on the interest saved next month and how much additional saved interest is added to that snowball.

We're back and we're as determined as ever to see this goal to its completion.  We have some medical issues looming and those costs will cut into our ability to make some larger payments, but on average we anticipate knocking this debt down by an additional $3k to $4k per month until paid off by this time next year.

Where are we in May, 2016?

Now that's a good question!  I see us claiming the glorious title of "Financially Independent".  We will begin to build our equities portfolio and do more travelling.  WooHooo!  Since our modest house is paid off, we don't have to spend any precious passive income to pay rent or mortgage anymore.  Outside of a modest amount to cover insurance and taxes plus a bit of maintenance, we keep the rest.  That means our housing costs are and will be less than $200.00 per month.  It won't take much to support our debt-free lifestyle and the additional $553.00 per month from paying off Rental House #3 will go a long ways towards supporting our Financially Independent lifestyle.  Looks like the Summer of 2016 will be an exciting one for us.  Let's reach those goals together, shall we?