So, it’s been one year. A year since we tallied up just how deep in debt we were and decided to eliminate it on a ten year deadline and document it on owningburtonfarm.com. This is a special post. Not only will I be talking about March and April’s numbers, I will also be talking about how we eliminated $108,210.80 in debt in our first year. I’m putting the numbers in a spreadsheet in our resource library so you can see exactly how we did it.
You can see where we started HERE. But first, I want to talk about March.
So, we were coming off a really exciting three months at the end of February, after selling both the townhouse and the land. We probably then did a year’s worth of discretionary spending in March, but the Burtons are now back to business.
The goal is still to pay off the house before December 2026, but after running a debt calculator at calcXML.com, I started thinking bigger. You see, I discovered that if we stopped contributing right now to my retirement (assuming 7% growth and 3% inflation) we could retire at 62 years old with 75% of our combined salaries. But who wants to work that long? Would we need a combined 75% of our salary if we paid off the house by the time we’re 50?
My husband and I are the same age four months out of the year so I ran the calculator again with 65% of our income replaced…With 50%…Yes, I know we could live on that, especially without a house payment…
Okay, so now I’m really pumped.
How much would I have to save to retire at 55 with 50% of my salary? What about 54? 53? Needless to say, but oh, let’s say it anyway:
The dream is born. We’ll retire at 50 with the house paid in full, in good mental and physical health.. Shooting for the moon, here, we have two million dollars in the bank. Sure, it sounds outrageous, and that’s on purpose.
Read on, and I’ll tell you why I’m believing this.
But first, this month’s debt chart as of April 1, 2017:
|Emergency + Checking||$20,870.85||$0.00||$20,870.85|
|Total Debt Payoff Percentage:||39.17%|
Welcome to the jungle, debt.
Three things we did in March to Drill Down our Debt:
The original plan I had was to increase my retirement contributions by one percent each year, coinciding with my expected raise, essentially making the contributions painless, because I work very hard to earn more than a 1% raise every year. It was going to take just six years to max out at 17%. But since we survived double mortgages for nearly two years, I had proven to myself that maxing out my retirement now is totally doable if I just commit to it.
Yes, it still hurt, but it’s temporary and I won’t have to do it again (unless they raise the maximum contribution limit) and all future raises belong to me. But don’t worry. This old planner already has any raises earmarked for extra principal payments on the mortgage. We are in total beast mode for debt destruction. I am determined that we will pay off this mortgage way before our ten year deadline.
Looking forward, we have now turned our attention toward eliminating this $3,149.53 in credit card debt. The goal is the end of the year, but I’m expecting to do it much, much sooner.
I wrote in my bullet journal VISUALIZE FAT BANK DEPOSITS. Although I haven’t been as consistent in DAILY VISUALIZATION exercises as I’d have liked, I did routinely imagine being surprised by checks showing up in the mail every time I’d flip past my April spread.
Look at what happened last month:
I didn’t realize we had not requested all the refunds out of our Dependent Care Account last year. So when I filed for the first quarter’s reimbursement, they paid me out the last of our 2016 funds! Who forgets money? Deposited funds: $2,618.81
This year, my Flexible Spending Account automatically processes and direct-deposits my reimbursements based on the Explanations of Benefits created by the insurance company. Zero-effort reimbursements deposited in March: $81.94
The escrow reimbursement check came in from the sale of the townhouse. $452.98
Even the Department of Motor Vehicles sent us a refund check of $3.00 for overpayment of tag fees.
What’s funny to observe is that every one of these is just my money coming back to me.
I visualized fat bank deposits, and behold, fat bank deposits did arrive.
Total amount of unexpected fat bank deposits we received in March: $3,156.23. I swept all those extra dollars into our emergency savings and they sat there a few weeks, on top of the ten thousand dollar goal we had already met.
Wait just a minute.
I have thirty five bucks.
::Cue the Jungle Music:: Hear that?
Folks, Imma need to change my chart, there. On April 11, 2017, we murdered all our credit card debt. We have only the mortgage remaining. I kind of expected angels to sing and the sky to open up, but it’s still early. I’ll let you know. In the meantime, I’d have to say that visualizing fat bank deposits worked pretty well. I believe I’ll be trying another visualization exercise this month. (Who’s with me?!)
|Emergency + Checking||$17,721.32||$0.00||$17,721.32|
|Total Debt Payoff Percentage:||
Our total debt is down over forty percent!
I’ve also been reading a lot about POSITIVE AFFIRMATIONS. In exasperation last year after seeing the land and townhouse on the market for months without any sufficient offers, I was game to try anything, even if it sounded hokey. I didn’t tell you about it because, well, I was embarrassed. But today I’m going to take a look back a few months to show you how some of our change manifested.
At work, our passwords expire every 90 days, and we have to come up with a long, convoluted 15 letter/character securepassword with a capital letter, lowercase letter, number, symbol, first born’s blood type, etc. I changed my password to H0useNLandSold! (I can tell you this now because it’s already been changed again) and every time I logged in to any application, I repeated the statement to myself until it seemed natural, as if it had already happened. Day after day, so many times a day, I logged in and repeated the words as I typed them out, “The house and land sold!”
We closed on the sale of the land December 2, 2016, and on the sale of the townhouse on February 27, 2017! That’s 88 days. If you want to get technical, we also were trying to sell Noel, our stud goat, after he’d attacked my husband a couple of times. Two days after the townhouse sold, we sold Noel.
That’s ninety days. My password was good for 90 days.
This is a good place for a mic drop, but I’m going to keep talking.
Call it the power of positive thinking or being one with the universe. Call it affirmations-in-action or the law of attraction. I don’t care if you call it a mere coincidence. I call it God, exceeding my expectations yet again. It’s staying positive and having faith. You’d better believe I put some real thought into my new password for this quarter. My husband and I still have our ears perked to money-making opportunities that will get us closer to our goals. And we’re striving every day to become better humans.
So yeah, I’m retiring at 50 in good mental and physical health, with two million dollars in the bank. I have safe travels, solid relationships, and am a giver of thousands. Believe that.
Maybe it’s time for you to change your password.