Yes, stop paying down your debt so fast and furious that it is causing you to have such tunnel vision you stop living life, can’t see where you are going or how far you have come.
I talk to a lot of stressed out people that if they are not meeting their goal of becoming debt-free on a certain date you would think the world would end.
Now, don’t take me wrong. I am all for you hustling hard on getting your finances in order. Pay off your debt, boost your savings and join financial freedom, but if you are going to be a stress-case while doing it then we need to talk.
I’ve heard money guru’s tell people they shouldn’t go to their best friends wedding that will cost them 1,500 dollars, even if they have it in cash, because they have 4,000 in credit card debt.
That kind of nonsense drives me up the wall. You cannot replicate going to your best friends wedding!!! Go to the wedding and then come back with a plan to hustle even harder. And I mean hustle! It’s all in having a plan. If you’re just wandering around with no plan, then yes, going to your friend’s wedding will keep you going further into debt.
“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than the things you did. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” ~Mark Twain.
Now, if you’re in debt and want to go buy a new car because you are bored with your perfectly fine 8 year old car that is still running great and that’s paid off then I’m sending you a virtual smack on the head! Buying a new car is not a life experience you can never replicate.
If you think that manicures, 200 dollar a month cable-TV subscription and weekly dining at Morton’s steakhouse with a few bottles of wine are more important than paying down your debt, here’s another virtual smack on the head.
My approach is balance. If life has thrown you a bunch of curve balls while working your way to a better financial life, realize that as long as you are not using those as an excuse to give up and go back to your “use credit cards for everything” life then moving that finish line is okay. Focus on how far you have come, create a new plan and keep going.
If trying to keep that finish line date is going to cause you so much stress you’ll end up at the hospital with a stress related illness – move the darn finish line! Make a new plan with a new time line that includes balance.
Life experiences like your best friend’s wedding, anniversaries, family gatherings cannot be replicated. They are once-in-a-lifetime experiences. Find a balance between enjoying life and becoming debt-free. Only you will know what those are and what is more important to you but don’t get so tunnel visioned while getting out of debt that you’ll cross the finish line only to have regrets of missing out on life experiences you can never get back.
It’s easy to get so focused on an end-goal we forget to enjoy the journey. I would love to hear what you think. Share in the comments below.
Gina Horkey says
Agreed! Sing it girlfriend:-)
Gina Horkey recently posted…January, 2015 Freelance Income Report
Tammy Helfrich says
yes!! Great post! You have to live life.
Thanks Tammy! I agree…with some good planning you can have a life and get control of your finances. Life can be short.
Great article! I think we get caught up in “choosing sides” and taking an all-or-nothing approach far too often, even in issues like this where balance is the better approach.
Kate recently posted…I Locked My Keys in the Car (Or, How Not to Meet People)
Thanks Kate! The all or nothing approach can be great but sometimes we definitely take it overboard. I’ve seen this with Paleo diet too with people panicking about following the diet. There are so many ideas out there on what is the “real” Paleo diet. Balance, trying different things and then decide on what works for you is a much better approach, and healthier 🙂
Thank you so much for that. I was living with a very generous family to help me pay down my debt after a yucky divorce that left me with lots of stuff and I was sticking to my budget and paid almost 60% of my debt off in the 5/6 months I lived with them.They always found ways to make me feel like i wasn’t doing good enough if I bought myself a small thing or did something that was taking care of my mental and physical health. So thank you for writing this.
Wow! First of all, congrats on paying off that much in such a short amount of time. Sorry to hear about the divorce. They are never fun. I see these scenarios when a family, friend or other offers to help but then they micro manage and put conditions on the offer and start making you feel as if you are a charity case. That is not right. I’m glad you are out of there and despite it everything helped you get a good head start. Now you can live your life the way you want to and enjoy it a bit more at the same time. Thank you for taking the time to comment and share your input. Helps others to know there’s hope if they are in the same boat.
Becky Noffsinger says
I soooo needed to hear this. Thank you!
Megan Starbuck says
I wish I’d heard this more while paying off loans. Great post! It’s also a good reminder for me now as I save up for things I want to do. I can’t do everything, but I can have wiggle room.
Megan Starbuck recently posted…What are Your Biggest Questions about Clutter? (and why I’m asking)
Thanks Megan. I think it’s something more of us need to hear. And you’re correct, we can’t do everything but we can choose the experiences that are ones we can’t replicate or that holds huge meaning to us. Living with regret isn’t fun either.
Finally! Thank you Camilla for saying out loud what we all think, but are afraid to say it. We have a life (short one) to live, not to suffer.
We need a plan for everything. When you prepare dinner, you need a plan, when you choose your college or next job, you need a plan. Why would it be different with getting out of debt?!
It´s about the journey and accomplishments and less about the endpoint. Sure, we all want to be debt-free. But would you get yourself killed in the process?
Corina recently posted…The Art of Social Media by Guy Kawasaki and Peg Fitzpatrick – Book Review
Thanks Corina! It’s been on my mind to write about for a while and it finally had to come out. We do have a short life and we need to live it the best we can. With a good plan we can do so. And yes, we can never replace time and experiences with money.
I have the highest regard for Dave Ramsey, but lately I’ve been thinking more along the lines of your post. I love to travel; drove Rt 66 from Chicago-to-Santa Monica two years ago ALONE because I couldn’t find anyone that didn’t have commitments or a J-O-B, including my wife(I work construction, and have a lot of flexibility in choosing when I am off work). This trip is something can be done only in summer. Despite the fact that I have medical bills to pay off and a little bit of money I owe the IRS, I am still thinking of NOT accelerating payments so I don’t miss a chance to take this trip this summer!
Thanks for your post; just purchased your new book on Amazon; LOVE the cover, a real attention-getter!
Will be following you on both blogs; the title of this blog says it all for me!
Hi Marc – I’m glad the post resonated with you. Ultimately, you need to do what works for you. Could you find a way to boost your income temporarily so you can do both since IRS debt isn’t to take lightly? Maybe take a second job for a few months before your trip? Either way, route 66 is an experience that’s for sure and yes, a summer trip to remember. Thanks for following along and also for buying my new book! Appreciate the support! Cheers – Camilla