We Are Debt Free, But I Wish We Weren’t.
Well….we are debt free. YEARS earlier than expected. And I wish we weren’t.
You are probably thinking I’m crazy or wondering what is wrong with me for wishing we were still in debt, but let me explain. I received a call from my mom a couple of weeks ago. It was just conversation, but she then told me (out of nowhere) that she wanted to pay off the remainder of mine and Travis’ student loans.
WHY WOULDN’T I WANT THAT?
Well it’s quite simple. In November 2016, my dad unexpectedly passed away. That itself is it’s own story, but it was heartbreaking and happened only two weeks after he turned 51 (and I turned 23). The life insurance my mom has received has been more than enough to care for my mom through her life. (side note: have life insurance in place. I can’t imagine how much worse everything would’ve been if there was financial stress added to that already terrible situation). This was something I would’ve never imagined going through at 23 years old. He was a man in perfect health who was in good physical shape. I would give literally anything to have my dad be alive and us still working on paying off our student loans. He didn’t even make it to my daughter’s first birthday, which was only days after his funeral. I barely acknowledged her birthday because it was too painful. But life didn’t give me the option of him being here, and when God closed a door, He opened a window for us in a different way. I wish He hadn’t, but this is where we are.
I’ll probably always feel a sense of guilt about our financial situation. Of course, from a financial aspect, I’m beyond grateful and it has not sunk in that we are debt free. But of course, I feel guilty that this is how it happened, and all of this while still in a time of grieving has been a lot to handle emotionally. Really, I’m just going to leave it at that because I don’t even know how what to think still. I can’t believe we are debt free, but much moreso I cannot believe that my dad has been gone from this earth for over half a year. Maybe being thousands of miles from home has kept this from seeming real, but I am finding it hard to believe everything that has happened.
My mom is doing well also. Financially, she is in Baby Step 7, except she is working because she wants to. She is set and I’m very grateful for that. Again, if you don’t have term life insurance – get it now. She is handling everything emotionally better than I would’ve expected. My parents are very strong Christians, so she is at peace with everything and I’m so grateful for that as well. Her and my dad were an amazing example of marriage, and it’s hard to believe I won’t be planning their 50th Wedding Anniversary party someday.
I named this blog “budgetsandkale” because I had hoped to be blogging once debt free and when planning a home and beyond. I knew we would always want to be on a budget and that we would want to live healthy. I always imagined blogging through all of the baby steps. I NEVER thought this would all happen so soon, and would’ve never imagined the circumstances.
I feel guilty about admitting that the majority of our debt was paid for us. We were working so hard and I know that this isn’t an option for people or helpful information. I wanted us to be the motivation of being intense on loans for years. I feel like this is making me lose all credibility, but this is our reality and situation and I wanted to be honest and open since that was the entire point of this blog. Please just be understanding in the comments and know what this is the most difficult post I’ve had to write. I’m full of grief, guilt, gratefulness, confusion, excitement, and everything in between.
We are now in the process of re-working our budget and working Baby Step 3 (saving 3-6 months emergency fund). Honestly….I still don’t know exactly how to handle this. I will make a separate post that includes the numbers of what we paid out of pocket vs what was paid off for us. I can tell you that we made some truly great progress on our own, but that we still had years ahead of gazelle intensity. This post was to discuss the emotional side of it, another will cover the numbers. Update: you can now read about our debt numbers here.
Thank you for reading,
Hi, my name is Rachel Smith. I’m a personal finance nerd, Aldi connoissuer, book lover, yoga enthusiast, and budgeting wiz. I was born and raised in Anchorage, Alaska but currently call Michigan home. I want to help people with their finances and eating healthy on a tight budget (no matter what your cost-of-living area is!)