It’s one of those days where it just seems so far away. The day I will be out of debt seems so far out of reach, it seems silly to even think about it. But if I don’t think about it or plan for it, all my progress will fall to the way side and my 7.9% interest will blow things out of proportion.
I have classmates who don’t care about the student loan debt they accrued. To be honest, sometimes I wish I could feel that way. They easily dismiss the burden saying, “I’ll just pay the minimum for 25 years and then the government will forgive it”. I am not trying to be 53 years old when I pay off my student loans. I want to be focusing on bigger, better things. Living life, planning my next adventure.
When I was protesting student loans at Occupy Wall Street in October of 2011, I met a 72 year old woman who said the government was garnishing her social security wages due to an unpaid student loan.
This was my worst nightmare standing right in front of me. I kept thinking how awful that would be, to be 72 years old and have your meager social security check get cut in half because of an education you tried to pay for many many many years ago.
Although I am political and believe student loans are evil, I am beyond hope for a bailout and know full well what I got myself into. I just think higher education has become a scam.
So on this day, where I can’t even imagine what being debt free would look like, feel like, numerically or emotionally, I have to remind myself why it is important to me.
What does being debt free mean to me?
It means never having to fork over $1,000 a month or more, for an education that wasn’t worth it. It means that I get to own every cent of my pay and do whatever I please. Being debt free means having the freedom to make bigger life choices, like moving, weddings, kids, houses (not that I necessarily want those things) and not feel utterly trapped. It means being able to fulfill your potential, take bigger risks with your career and not have nightmares about your money getting flushed down the toilet. It means feeling secure, planning, saving, traveling, exploring and living! Most of all, it means freedom. Freedom to make the choices I want to or need to, without remorse or feeling like I’m stuck between a rock and a hard place. It means that all my financial planning will be increasing my net-worth and security. It means finally taking my mom on that trip to Italy, so she can finally see for herself why traveling is so important.
I have to remind myself of this everyday—like daily affirmations. It is so easy to lose focus, give up, pretend it doesn’t exist and say fuck it. But I am investing in my future. I am investing in my future happiness and the adventures that have yet to be written.
What does being debt free mean to you?