For the past decade, a ball and chain have been attached to my wife and my ankles.
Student loans. School debt accrued by both me and my wife.
This large payment paid for something we both did in the past, but neither has experienced many benefits in day to day life. But as unaware as we were, we chose a college path that accrued great amounts of debt. To take responsibility required we accept this reality and move forward towards changing it. It's never easy, but the fruit of the journey has taught and shaped discipline, focus, and accomplishment.
Except for the first year, student loan payments hovered around $1,100 for the past ten years. In 2013, we set out to aggressively pay this debt down. We would have finished in June 2018.
2013 was the final year of Noodlehead Marketing, so instead of paying it down, we paused payments for a year as we adapted to our circumstances. $74k debt remained (including capitalized and accrued interest to date).
In July 2017, after our 2004 Honda Odyssey transmission failed in North Carolina, we decided to purchase a slightly used 2017 Kia Sedona. It was the best decision we could make in a set of unpleasant circumstances.
It wasn't the ideal, but like the Apollo 13 space crew went further from earth to the use the moon's gravity to slingshot back to the home planet, we too leveraged this van purchase to fill a need and slingshot us forward in aggressive debt reduction.
Both the focused effort to save for a down payment and pay off the van continued shaping our character and building us up into the people who cold tackle seemingly impossible tasks. Practically speaking, we tightened our budget and followed a strict plan to pay the vehicle off within one year.
I’m excited to announce, this month we made our final payment on the almost $25k car loan. Woohoo!
We’re now set with a solid family vehicle for the next decade, and this monthly payment received a new focal point.
$31,284.19 remain. By rolling over (snowballing) our $1,500 van payments, we’ll now pay $2,600/month towards our student loans. At this rate, we’ll pay off our student loans in twelve months, by next July. Even if we hit some unexpected speed bumps along the way, we'll be done sometime in 2019 and our only remaining debt will be a mortgage.
We'll finish a decade after I graduated college. In total, we'll end up paying around $150k for this schooling. We're close.
So, if you see our students loans out on the street, let them know we're coming for them.
In the meantime, I'll be wondering what life is like not having this debt hanging over our heads.
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