For the young couples and parents that are reading this, I think it’s safe to say that a whole bunch of you are looking for a little more freedom and fun in your lives. And I truly believe that when you become debt-free, you will experience that freedom. You’ll also experience a reduction of stress like you never have before.
I know that just spouting off words and phrases like “debt freedom” or “stress reduction” may not motivate you to jump out of your seat and start crushing debt. But perhaps if we get a little more specific together, it may just do the trick.
Here are 7 dreams that can come true when you’re debt free:
1. Raise Your Children at Home
As a young parent, you may be working at a job and sending your kids to daycare during the day. A lot of people do this and there’s nothing wrong with daycare.
But perhaps you have a feeling, a calling and a desire to raise your kids at home the way you want to. Debt freedom can make this desire become a reality.
When you’re not putting a bulk of your income toward paying your student loans, your car debt or your credit card debt, your budget will have more room in it. More room to make decisions that work for you, your family and your future.
This dream resonated with my wife, Nicole, after we learned we were going to be parents. She wasn’t so much inspired by becoming debt-free or living on a budget. She was more inspired by the byproduct of our debt freedom … she’d be able to go down to part-time work and then eventually become a full-time stay at home Mom during our kid's younger years.
That’s what we did. When we became debt-free, we could all of a sudden “afford” for her to go down to part-time and then eventually full-time.
I share that dream of raising children at home first because that was the driving force in our relationship to clean up our debt. It definitely inspired us.
(And when kids aren't driving you nuts, they're a lot of fun.)
2. Start Your Own Business
Let’s say you absolutely love photography. You shoot weddings, family photos and headshots for events on the weekends as a side gig to make extra money, but mostly because you’re passionate about photography.
You love it so much that you’re ready to make this your real-life full-time business … and not just a side thing anymore.
When you’re debt free, dreams like this can become a reality.
Vincent Pugliese had a very similar story to this. He and his wife eliminated $140,000 of debt and he was able to become self-employed as a photographer. The “time freedom” he has now is inspiring.
3. Travel Guilt-Free
Okay, picture this … It’s the dead of winter and you’re really in need of a warm getaway vacation.
You find some beautiful resort in Mexico for you and your spouse to relax and recharge. (Oh, and if you buy the trip in the next 48 hours, you get 25% off taking the total to only $5,000!)
Without thinking if you actually have the money, you throw it on the credit card.
The date of your trip arrives, you travel to sunny Mexico, you relax by the pool, you laugh and party with your spouse, but the whole time in the back of your brain you have this nagging feeling that won’t go away. “How long is it going to take for me to pay this vacation off?”
You try to ignore the feeling by throwing back some margaritas and reading a good book on the beach, but that pending high interest credit card debt still pulls at you.
Wouldn’t it be nice to really enjoy that vacation without that sense of guilt? That sense of … “Oh man, I’m going to be paying on this vacation for a while. I better enjoy it now because I’m going to be paying for it for the next year or more.”
Debt freedom, budgeting and saving up your money will give you that freedom. It’ll give you the gift of guilt free travel.
When you're debt free, you want to stay that way. That’s when you incorporate awesome life hacks like the Sinking Fund. This tactic has you split the cost of high priced items/experiences into 12-month increments. That way you’re factoring in the cost of this awesome experience every year.
Guilt free relaxation every year sounds awesome to me!
4. Leave a Toxic Job for a Better One
Your boss treats you poorly. You are not inspired by your daily work. And there is no room for growth.
It’s time to leave your job and find a better one.
The better one might pay less, but it’ll give you a better life. Isn’t that what it’s all about?
Well, it’s a lot harder to do the right thing when you have loads of debt to deal with.
Let your toxic job be your motivator to eliminate your debt as fast as possible. At the same time, keep a look out for other jobs in your industry that pay well and will treat you better.
One incredible plus that comes from your debt free journey is confidence. You’ll become more confident in yourself, your abilities and doing what’s best for you.
Self-care rocks. And that starts with the work we choose to do.
Related Article: Take Your Salary from 5-Figures to 6-Figures in 7 Steps
5. Have a Fully Funded Emergency Fund
Wouldn’t it be incredible to never experience money emergencies again?
With a fully funded emergency fund, your emergencies won’t feel like emergencies anymore.
- “The roof is leaking!” No worries. We’ve got this covered.
- “I’m having transmission problems again!” There’s money set aside for that.
- “Zoey threw a glass and cracked our bathroom sink!” (this actually happened to us) And my wife’s response … we’ve got an emergency fund for that.
When you’re debt free, you can now focus on building up your savings to a point where you eliminate your future worries. This can be 3 months of expenses, 6 months or even 12 months. I know people who absolutely LOVE having a year’s worth of savings. It makes them feel like they are protected by a warm blanket all the time.
And then I know others who’d prefer to have 3 months.
We currently have 3 months, but I like the idea of 6 months so we’re building up ours right now. We’re planning on getting there in the next 12-24 months.
Peace of mind is what comes from this dream goal. It’s one of my favorites.
6. Help Your Kids Graduate Student Debt Free
The student debt problem in our country is truly disheartening. Right now, we have $1.5 trillion in student debt and it's growing rapidly.
Social security checks are being garnished because people in their 60’s and 70’s are still paying their student debt.
With our debt freedom, we can focus on investing for our kid’s future so they don’t have to worry about any of this mess.
Invest in a 529 account early in their lives and take advantage of compound interest. The earlier we start, the better off our accounts will be. While you're at it, create an automatic recurring investment so the money grows without you even thinking about it. Your kids will thank you.
7. Give Back in Your Community
I truly believe that when we give our time, our money and attention to charities and causes we’re passionate about we get so much in return.
With our extra money, consider donating a portion of it to organizations that move you.
I’m inspired by charities that help kids have a better shot at life like Together We Rise. I know that I have been blessed and priviledged in my upbringing. I want to give back so others can have some of the opportunities that I’ve had.
If the idea of giving away your money spooks you a little bit, consider increasing your giving by a percentage at a time. That’s what we’ve done in our family.
In 2017, we gave just 1% of our income. Last year, we upped it to 3%. This year, we’re shooting for 5%.
Maybe one day, we’ll become a 10% giver. What’s impressive to me about the 10% givers out there is that they are going to teach their children the same sense of selflessness and kindness. That attitude of “taking care of your neighbor” will continue to grow.
That’s the kind of country and community I’m inspired to be a part of.
I hope just one of these 7 dreams gets you excited about becoming debt free. That’s really all it takes … a dream, a goal, and vision. The numbers alone aren’t going to get you all geeked. The destination will.
But be sure to enjoy the journey. Because the debt free journey can be a lot of fun too.
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Money Master of the Week
This month, Josh Overmyer from Florida used an extra paycheck and his tax return to fully fund his Traditional IRA for the year!
Instead of taking a vacation, buying a car or a new laptop, Josh decided to invest in his retirement. Talk about discipline.
You get an infusion of cash and you have to decide what to do with it. Josh looked toward the future and invested in it.
If you want to get more inspired by Josh and his financial journey, please check him out at JoshOvermyer.com.
Josh is our Money Master of the Week!
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Carpe Diem Quote
“Our greatest glory is not in never failing, but in rising every time we fall.”