What Can You Do When Debt Free?
We talk a lot about debt here – what it does to you, how to get out of it. But what will your life look like once you’re debt free?
Once debt is out of your life, there are tons of new ways that you’ll be “free” – below are two of the best that will make for more peace of mind and a better life!
Magic act 1: Save More
When you crush debt, you have more to save. Play with me for a second — instead of plowing $500 per month into credit card payments, you’ll be able to better fund your retirement accounts, starting with your company-sponsored 401K or a Roth IRA. Your 401K is particularly attractive because most employers offer a match. That means free money for you!
Let’s say you’re already contributing to your retirement accounts and you want to have a bit more scratch. Another great option is to open up a brokerage account. It takes very little time to open up a new account. The fees are cheap, the rewards are many.
So what should you do with this new brokerage account? Well to quote one of my favorite characters in all of Fooldom, the Duke of Wall Street, “Get thee to a newsletter!” To learn more about tons of high-quality businesses, head over to Stock Advisor. It’s our flagship service, it’s crushing the market, it’s cheap, and it can help make you piles of golden ducats.
Magic act 2: Give More
A very good friend of mine says that the secret to living is giving. And if you’re debt-free, you have more to give. Whether it’s your favorite charity, your church, an animal shelter, a food bank, a cause, there are plenty of places to send your loot. And frankly all of them are better than Visa, MasterCard, or American Express.
Please, don’t underestimate the power of giving. After all, what’s the sense of being the richest man in the graveyard? There is a power, a fulfillment, to giving beyond yourself, and anyone who does it consistently will tell you that. Whether it’s money, time, or both, try it on for size. I promise you, it feels so good, you get addicted to it.
– via Motley Fool Answers
What it’s like to be done with debt
There’s no doubt that to get out of debt means more freedom in your financial life, but it’s also important to realize that big changes can often come with emotional responses that you don’t expect.
A good change can leave you feeling listless or unsure. That doesn’t mean the change is bad, you just need to let yourself acclimate to the new lifestyle and recognize that a shift in perspective can sometimes do you a world of good!
After a couple of years digesting and living as closely as possible to many of the cost-saving tenets advocated on Get Rich Slowly, I was able to send off my last student loan payment!
I remember the first scooter ride I took after clicking “Submit.” The air smelled different, sweeter even. I wanted to throw my arms out wide to celebrate like something out of Shawshank Redemption. Instead, I dutifully gripped the handlebars because a scooter crash is hardly a good way to celebrate.
Life after debt?
I remember getting home that day, sitting on the back porch, and thinking “Now what?” So much of my brain was taken up with getting my financial life in line that I never stopped to ask myself the question, “Am I happy?”
I spent so much of myself getting out of debt that I didn’t have much left when the debt was gone. Happiness and financial aptitude are obviously not mutually exclusive; but for me, after missing holiday after holiday away from my family because of work, it definitely seemed like they were.
Paying off the last of my debt felt great, but it gave way to asking myself new questions:
- Are my financial decisions getting in the way of my happiness?
- Is successful financial management coming at too high a cost?
- What is work/life balance for me?
- Do I get to see family enough?
The five-minutes-more experiment
Small changes matter. I realized that, although I was making strides toward financial wealth, I was lacking richness in time. Gone was my debt, but so were my Sunday morning strolls and nursing a cup of espresso for hours. One of my mini experiments involved lingering five minutes more whenever I could. If I didn’t have a place I had to be, whenever I would get up to leave somewhere, I’d sit back down for five more minutes. The only rule I had was that I couldn’t pick up my cell phone in those five minutes. I had to simply be.
Yes, I do think that time poverty deserves its own Wikipedia page; but for many of us, our time poverty is a frame of mind. The free time I did have was spent stressing about how plentiful it wasn’t, which isn’t much fun at all. So I’d try to fill that time with yet another activity. The five-minutes-more experiment shifted my relationship with time, making it less of a commodity in a way that made me stress about it less. With this small experiment, I didn’t have more time, but the time I did have felt so much better.
– via Get Rich Slowly – Personal Finance That Makes Cents
How do you think your life will change once you get out of debt?