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No. of Recommendations: 19
Follow up 12 years and 9 months later:

I was helping someone through their credit card problems recently and I ran across my post from 2001. I have always felt that I learned so much from this board and that the members gave great advice and support (great to see some of the same names still here on the board!) I would like to post my follow up to the above post to help any current members who are in that position I was in over 12 years ago. At that time I was in over $225,000 in debt.

I've followed every one of those steps listed above to the letter over the last 12 years. I never wavered. I still drive a 10 year old car. I paid all credit cards off in about 3 years and have never kept a balance since. I paid off my school loans over the last 10 years. I lived frugally and saved enough for a down payment on a house, then eventually a vacation condo. I have saved and invested in stocks, real estate, and most of all myself (starting my own business using my education and my perseverance). Despite my colleagues driving fancy cars and living high consumption lifestyles, I purchased just what I needed and nothing else. Not to say I was perfect, there were bad real estate investments in 2006, a stint with active stock trading that led to losses, and a time I actually thought I could trade oil futures (please just put your money in an index fund and add more when the market goes down and leave it there- learn from my expensive mistakes!) I did however make compounding interest work for me instead of against me and what a difference it makes to be on the other side of that equation! Hard work, living on a budget, and saving with investing paid off. It's not glamorous, in fact, to the contrary it's downright boring. There is no better feeling however, than the feeling of financial security and freedom.

So where am I today? I can afford to buy any car but am perfectly happy with the one I have. I have no debt besides a small mortgage I could easily pay off completely. LBYM habits are hard to break once you have them ingrained for so long. I focus on offense and strive to earn more (something not to forget, it's defense AND offense). I strive to make passive income, my money is making money for me. Over time, the decimal point just keeps moving to the right but I stay the same. Let's just say that I could comfortably retire tomorrow if I was so inclined. I am considering working part time, volunteering, and traveling the world. I'm not here to gloat, but rather to inspire those of you who are in the same position I was in over 12 years ago. I just wanted to let you know that the steps in the original post are as valid today as they were in 2001. It can be done, and you can do it!
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