No. of Recommendations: 50
Reached another major milestone today, now the only debt DW and I have is mortgage.
I joined the TMF back in early 2005 with the following Financial Balance sheet.
Consumer Debt: $44,953
Credit Card $33,795
Depart Store $4010
Orthodontics $1170
Personal Loans $5978
Secure Debt:
Auto Loan $13,560
HELOC $29,644
Parent (Student)
Loan $25,300
Mortgage $149,304
Total Debt: $262,761 with Combined Net worth of -$15,860
Debt Killing
With lots of support for TMF we focused on and paid off all consumer debt in May of 2006.
Link to Happy Dance for killing Consumer Debt

Since then the pace has not been that intense, with debt, but we have continued to budget, live below our means and invest heavily. Even with a planned DW career change, when we saved up $15,000 in an ING account to pay for schooling while she stopped working for 1.5 year and has now been working 6 months at work she loves as a Nursing Assistant and trained Physical Therapy Assistant. The base pay is about half what she was getting paid, doing back breaking factory work making index cards for nearly 8 years watching the worker around her the same age falling apart physically in the backbreaking repetitive work.
Now Combined Net Worth is $450,465 almost a ½ million dollar swing in net worth in just over 10 years. It’s looking very good for our plans now in about 8 or 9 years to retire on our terms, with a future.
I some time look back at the spreadsheets of 2004 listed above. I shake my head in disbelief how the heck did we let it get that bad, How the heck did we get out of it. Thinking back it was so hopeless me 43 and DW 45 and sunk into such a nightmare. We did everything wrong before seeking help at TMF. Moved back to St Louis, sunk a lot of time and money (71K 401K cash out) worked our tails off trying to make business work, I lost my contracting job because of all the time spent trying to make business work started relying on Credit Cards for monthly expenses and was lucky to close down business and not have to declare bankruptcy.
Now is so different, I am having to adjust to actually holding down the pace of investing to only 15% now and put more life into the budget. We have $1200 per Month that will be allocated for non-investment spending vacation fun, home maintenance fund, Car Replacement fund, big emergency fund etc. Normal budget items that should be on the budget anyway but never been free enough from secure debt to add them. Luckily no major breaks in last ten years – but need to stop pushing luck and have a replacement plan. Kicked Sallie Mae out the house, need to make sure Murphy stays away and live life more on auto pilot.
I know it’s been kind of slow on the board for a while, I see a few new post great advice from AJ and others but sadly a lot don’t seek more help. I can only hope that new poster will try to see that the tough love expressed on this board over the years is not meant to degrade or offend. It takes time to dig out of debt and it can seem hopeless but with a little help debt that seems unbelievably crippling can be managed. Even my earliest posts while still in a mountain of debt seeing the power of a budget challenging ever expense you can to squeeze out a little bit more to you debt snow ball payment its very empowering….anyway don’t mean to be preachy just wanted to encourage fellow financially down trodden that there is hope…
Thank you TMF for giving me the support and drive to keep my eyes open – control the inter child that wants to buy whatever he wants. I would encourage anyone with debt smaller or larger than ours to fight the good fight. It is humbling to show the extent of your financial mess but you have some great free advice on this board that can help you gain traction. Pay attention to spending and you can turn a financial disaster into a future with hopes and dreams even if like us you have made some terrible decision in the past.
Take Care…will try to post every now and then before I hit 1M net worth …. But know this, because of the discipline I learn on this board, you have helped turn a couple of really financial stupid idiots into a family with a strong financial plan to live life full and control overspending. Your posts do help even some quite lurkers with not a lot to say.
p.s. It really is cool putting fun things on budget Cruise (11Day Jan2016) bringing my snorkel and not going to bring any debt back…
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