Why You Should Start Paying Off Your Debt

pay off your debt

Why You Should Start Paying Off Your Debt

 

I have written a couple of posts now about our journey with paying off our debt. We are currently debt free, besides the mortgage. I did not realize until I started this blog, that there were so many people like us out there. I have been incredibly surprised by the supportive comments and how many other people have said they were debt free also. It truly gives me hope for our society. I read so many articles about how the majority of Americans could not pay for a $400 emergency and that most do not have enough saved for retirement. I hope that our generation will be the one to change that. So, if you are not currently paying off debt, here are a few reasons why you should think about it.

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Peace of Mind

It truly gives you financial peace. When you don’t have to worry about your car or kids play house being repossessed (yes that happens), you have security. It is a completely different feeling knowing you own all of your possessions and no one can come and take them away from you for missing a payment.

You Get to Keep Your Money

I don’t know about you but I like to be able to do whatever I want with my money. I don’t have to pay for anything that I don’t want to (besides the mortgage). I do still have monthly bills but most of those are wants and not needs. Obviously, you will still have bills each month, like power, water, and trash. But it sure is nice not having a car payment, a four wheeler payment, a trailer payment, a 401k loan payment, or any credit card payments. I actually have spending money now that I don’t have an outrageous car payment. I get to go on trips, concerts, or anything else I want to do for fun.

Retirement

Once you are debt free, you will have more money to save for retirement. Dave Ramsey recommends saving 15% for retirement. If I had to guess, most people if they save at all, save maybe 5% or 6%. I know that a lot of people only save up to the company match if there is one and most of the time that is up to 5%. I know that my husband and I were only saving 6% before starting this journey and that was more than a lot of people we know. Our plan is to start saving 15% once we finish our emergency fund in a couple of months. If we hadn’t paid off our debt, we could not have saved 15% for retirement.

Kids Future

If you have more discretionary income, you are more likely to save for your kids college, wedding, or whatever else you want to help with. This should not come before your own retirement. This may be something you decide you are not going to do for your kids and that is okay too. But if you do want to help your kid through school, it will be a lot easier to do so if you don’t have any debt. Plus, most people don’t realize this but if your child applies for FASFA, the government decides how much you will contribute to your kids college. So, even if you do not plan on contributing, you may not have much say in it unless your kid can pay for it all themselves.

Giving

Dave Ramsey’s biggest reason for wanting people to be debt free is so that you have more money to give. Imagine how much money you could give back to your community if you were debt free. Is there a need in your community that you want to help with but can’t afford to right now? Would you like to do random acts of kindness but don’t have the extra money right now? Imagine all the good that could happen in our country if people had extra money.

Less Risk

I know that there is always that person that wants to argue that debt is good and it’s better to invest at this interest rate than pay off a lesser rate. Well, there is always a thing called risk if you have debt. When you lose your job, the payments will still be there. I would much rather own all of my things and my house eventually than worry about losing it all if something happens. It certainly seems to me that this type of mentality is what causes every type of financial bubble we have had. Sure, buy a house you can’t afford because the prices are going up. You can always sell it later for a profit. That didn’t work out so well for thousands of families in 2008.

Look at the student loan crisis that I’m sure is getting ready to explode. We have an entire generation of kids with insane amounts of student loan debt that they can’t afford to pay back. Why would a bank loan an 18 yr old kid thousands of dollars for a degree that won’t have the same return on investment. I personally know several people that have student loan payments over $1000 a month and they only make around $2500 a month! This is not sustainable for our society even though people want to argue it’s “good debt”. No debt is “good”. Being in any debt means that you owe someone money and that restricts what you can do with your own money.

So, whether your want peace of mind, want to build wealth, be able to give, or all of the above, now is the time to start your journey to becoming debt free. Do something today that your future self will thank you for.

If you are ready or at least thinking about paying off debt, I highly recommend reading The Total Money Makeover by Dave Ramsey. This book has literally changed my life. I love it so much, I am constantly giving it as gifts to people.

For ideas on how to pay your debt off quicker, check out my post here. If you need help getting started on a budget and the program, click here.

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58 comments on “Why You Should Start Paying Off Your Debt

  1. You are absolutely right. Right now I am caught in what I consider the student loan conspiracy BUT I am making my payments and paying more than the monthly requirement. One day I will be debt free!!

  2. I have recently acquired a little bit of debt and I absolutely hate having any sort of debt!
    These are definitely all very valid reasons – I think the biggest one for me is the peace of mind.

  3. I so agree with you – I am doing my best to pay for college and my bills right now, but as soon as college is over I intend to start paying down debt immediately. My boyfriend is really bad about this and has no savings to his name – it drives me crazy!

  4. We use Dave Ramsey’s plan, and it has served us well! It feels great to be paying off debt, and we know it will be even BETTER when we are debt-free and feel that financial freedom that comes from that!

  5. This is so important. I use to think that buying things made me happy. Now I realize that buying things and staying in debt is a prison. Not knowing anyone anything is absolutely liberating.

  6. Great post! I’ve recently started making payments on my student loans and sometimes I feel like I’ll never get out of them, but you’re totally right – I can’t wait to have that financial freedom!

  7. This is what my partner and I are currently focusing on. It’s a lot of work and careful planning but the results will be so satisfying!

  8. This is so true! My main debt is my student loans, and I’m so happy because I just refinanced them this week to lower my interest rate and my monthly payment, and this saved me so much money long term! I’m doing everything i can to pay these down. This is a great post!

  9. Excellent advice! I think way too many people live with a high level of debt and the idea that it’s “ok, everything’s fine.” But really, they’re totally underwater! We are working to pay off my husband’s student loans. It’s a major undertaking!

  10. Hi Ashley, thanks for the wonderful post. I love your thoughts on paying down debt as a way to secure your future. Your tip so save 15% towards retirement was an eye opener for me, but makes a lot of sense.

  11. All true! It is very hard to budget at first but it is truly rewarding when you are debt free and you know that you have enough savings.

  12. Ugh…I have so much debt and it scares me. I dodge calls from collectors and I know it’s dumb but it’s so hard to face money issues!

  13. Paying off my debt was the best thing I have ever done. I wish there was more focus on personal finance management in schools. I don’t think a lot of people realize that it is possible to live without debt.

  14. We have student loans we are paying off and I’m so thankful we have the ability to, but I’ll be so happy when we are debt free. We made bad decisions in our 20s partly because we didn’t know. Our parents talked about money, credit, etc. but didn’t actually teach us. We are doing it differently for our children.

  15. Now is a good time to talk about paying off debt. As many households start getting tax return money, there’s no better place to put that “extra” cash than towards debt. I love having the ability to pay down credit card debt particularly, because in the end I’m saving by not accruing interest that has to be payed down the road.

  16. There are more people living hand to mouth than have adequate liquid savings. Its a shame, but its a consequence of the immediate gratification lifestyle we see every single day on TV, the Internet.

  17. I am a huge Dave Ramsey fan and also a personal finance blogger. Being debt free is so freeing, I am debt free except for my home at the moment and will work to get that paid off.

  18. I love Dave Ramsey’s teachings too, and am currently working my way through his “Baby Steps” program, in the process of rebuilding my life after a disaster of a relationship. The strange thing is that I’m pretty well debt free at this point after he ruined my credit and I ended up with nothing. Still, you gotta start somewhere, and with Dave Ramsey’s strategies, I’ve made remarkable progress already.

  19. We thought about buying a house this year but we would have to borrow heavily just for the down payment. So, instead we are waiting a year and paying off debt and saving for the down payment. I think in the long run we will be so much better off.

  20. My debt is my enemy right now but I have paid it down before and you’re right, it does make me feel a lot better! Time for round two of clearing up my debt.

  21. I have been putting away more for retirement than I use to. As for the kids, I decided not to put into their college fund and instead, it goes to paying off debt. I homeschool my 3 kids and if they dual enroll, college is paid for (except books).

  22. I completely agree. these days too many people buy things and then work out how to pay for them later – its all on credit. If you can get rid of your debt you’ll have so much less stress!

  23. so true, I can definitely see the benefits of paying off your debts – something I’m working on at the moment although its going to take a while. I can’t wait for financial freedom.

  24. I agree with you that they debt is not exactly good debt, especially when people don’t get jobs that can afford to pay them back. The problem is for the people who already have that debt and no way of paying. And the government doesn’t allow them to go bankrupt on the debt. So what do we do with these people?

  25. This is a good reminder for me and my hubby. Especially we’re planning to move back to the Philippines for good. No debts at this point, but we need to avoid it.

  26. This is a really good read. We are not debt free yet, my family is still pating for the house and car. But I am proud to say we don’t have any aside from that. Saving for retirement is really important too.

  27. Debt is such a headache and I never want to have any. I try my best to pay off existing ones and not make anymore as I go along life. It would be so much better if you can just save the money you have instead of using it to pay off debt.

  28. For several years my debt kept increasing a little each year but now I have stopped adding to the debt and have been working on paying it off. It will take discipline but I am looking forward to getting back to being debt free again.

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