Hey guys! Happy Friday. Today we have an awesome dear debt letter from Jason Hull. Jason Hull, CFP® is the CTO of myFinancialAnswers, a comprehensive, online financial planning service. He is a graduate of the United States Military Academy at West Point, holds a MBA from the University of Virginia, and is a member of the U.S. national supporters group the American Outlaws. He and his wife (who brought no debt to their relationship but lovingly accepted his situation) paid off over $300,000 of debt and reached financial independence in under 10 years.
“I’m not crying because of you; you’re not worth it. I’m crying because my delusion of who you were was shattered by the truth of who you are.” –Dr. Steve Maraboli
High school reunions are filled with stories of people who knew each other in high school, liked each other, never took that next step, married the wrong person, got divorced, saw each other at the reunion, and voila! Flame rekindled.
Or they go on Facebook, reconnect, and suddenly love blossoms.
Well, that’s never happened with you.
I remember there was once a time when you and I cohabitated pretty peacefully. I used you. I thought you were convenient. Sure, there was the occasional hiccup when you’d refuse me when I was making some purchase, embarrassing me, making me use cash, but then you’d call me and tell me that our relationship had expanded, had grown deeper.
You encouraged me to date your sisters, and that it was OK to have more than one lover in our relationship. The more cards in my wallet, the deeper our love.
Somewhere deep down, I knew our relationship wasn’t sustainable. Like the brief summer fling that has a tempestuous passion but is, intrinsically, never meant to be, such was our relationship.
However, few of those summer flings of passion are so parasitical. You, debt, were a parasite, getting much more out of me than I ever got out of you.
You told me that it was OK to live beyond my means. I was living in Germany, single, and young. When would I ever get a chance to travel like I could, and to make memories that I did when I was in bed with you?
“You deserve this lifestyle,” you whispered. “Live a little. You’ll get pay raises. You can pay me off later.”
I listened. It’s hard to avoid that pillow talk when you’re so deep in the throes of lust.
At one point, we broke up. I’d moved back to the States. I sold things. I had my combat pay. I had money in hand. I got rid of you.
But, you kept calling. And I finally answered the call, and once I did, we reunited lustfully to make up for lost time.
Instead of saving up and preparing for graduate school, where I’d have no income except for summer internships, you told me that I was going to make a lot more when I graduated. I could break up with you then, but we could have a wild time in those intervening 3 years.
Fortunately, I met another lover who was a jealous lover. She never had debt. She was interested in a beneficial relationship between us, would take care of me when I was old, would love me unconditionally for as long as we were together, and didn’t cause me to feel guilty about my relationship with her. She was someone whom I could actually marry, happily.
But, she refused to let me have another lover on the side, so you and I had to break up. Sure, you sneaked back in the side door with your not-so-nefarious cousins, student loans and a mortgage, but even then, I realized quickly that despite the perceived benefits we were better off cutting off the relationship entirely.
It took 10 years from the time that my now wife told me that I had to break up with you, (Not So) Dear Debt, before we became completely financially independent. It was hard work. It required sacrifice, although not nearly as much as you told me that it would require.
I have never looked back. I’ve never had a flame burning for you. It is an amazingly empowering and freeing feeling to know that we can choose the life we want, don’t have to worry about money, and certainly will never be tempted to listen to your siren call.
The experiences we purchase now with cash are much more enjoyable than any of the trips I took with you. Food tastes better when bought with cash than it ever did when you and I used to go to restaurants. Having no mortgage or no student loan means no encumbrance of the soul, like I used to experience with you, your sisters, and your cousins.
You were the worst lover I ever had. It wasn’t love. You were a parasite on my soul, lying to me all of the time about how good you were for me.
I’m glad I had the affair with you. It taught me what to look for, what I wanted, what was important to me, and gave me a hunger to live a life without you.
I’m never looking back. I’m stronger for our relationship, but I hope others never fall prey to your cute little charms, for underneath, you’re simply one word:
Not so much love,