You’re Still Talking About Being Debt-Free by 40?

It’s quite possible that I spend far too much time focusing on debt-freedom and planning out the next few years financially then I should. Or, it’s quite possible that my forecasting and planning has helped us reach this debt-freedom-minus-the-mortgage in a shorter time than I would have had I ignored it over six years ago and kept shopping at Target on Friday nights as usual.

Some days I’m not sure which is right, but I do know I’m happier now with no debts other than our mortgage and I sleep a bit easier in the face of economic crisis (though, not much easier – we have 2 kids under 5) than I did a decade ago.

When we started our frugal financial journey at the ripe old age of 30, we were well behind the financially independent and retiring early (F.I.R.E.) curve. Most of the FIRE success stories have retired by 30-35 years old, but we’re making headway to get ourselves into a better position each year and closer to financial independence.

Years ago, amidst our own financial crisis, I stumbled upon JD Roth and Mr. Money Mustache. After getting sucked into their writing and fully believing you could live debt-free, we embarked step-by-step on a journey to where we are today.

We definitely want to:

“Live like no one else [now], so you can live like no one else [later].” – Dave Ramsey (Simple Dollar)

And these days it’s been quite rewarding to do so. We’re not normal, we’re not average, and we sure don’t fit in anymore. We are taking a liking to being outsiders and finding our way through the world on the road less traveled.

Not only have we started a myriad of creative ventures since focusing on a frugal lifestyle, we’re learning so much in the process and saving money as well. The more we learn to do for ourselves, the more we save on paying others to do it for us, and the more we have to offer others in the way of teaching, learning, or doing. I feel more open to what I have to offer an employer, or a freelance opportunity than I did a decade ago.

I grew up hearing, “Debt is a part of life.” Luckily, I never believed in that philosophy. I truly believe you can not only be debt-free on an average salary, but you can reach financial freedom and independence as well. We’re not two high paid engineers pulling in over six figures each, living at 50% of our income equaling well over $100k per year. We’re educators, with our modest salaries for the world to look-up online, and living below $40k per year including our not-so-modest mortgage expense.

It’s quite possible that Chris and I could be debt-free, including the mortgage, by the age of 40. Not just my 40, but his 40. He is a year and two months older than me.

I’ll be 35 in just a few short days.