This morning, we met with our financial adviser to huddle up, as well as to confirm what we already knew, and that is, it is time to evict our HELOC from our lives. The hubs has access to company stock which he has be blessed to have been awarded. The trading window is open, and we’re cashing in enough to pay off the HELOC. Sure we could keep the stock active and hope that it continues to grow, but why hang on to debt when the funds from cashing it out have a clearly defined purpose? We wouldn’t cash it out to buy a depreciating asset or to take a vacation, but we are cashing out to pay off a debt that has been lingering around, in various forms and sizes, since 2008. That’s a long time to have an unwanted house guest! I decided to revisit why it is so important to live a debt free lifestyle, not only for my own “go us” cheer session but also for anyone out there who might come across this and need a “go you” boost!
First off, we are of the Protestant faith, but I can’t come up with anywhere in the Bible where it says it is a sin to borrow. We still owe on our home mortgage, and as of June 1 when the HELOC is kicked to the curb, this will be our only debt. Secondly, sh*t happens and even the best emergency funds, insurance policies, and planning just isn’t enough. So debt is sometimes simply unavoidable. So then, what is it? Well, I figure that debt just is not wise. And that’s the crux of the Bible message on debt (note: can you tell – I am no theologian). Because life isn’t predictable, debt gives us a little noose around our necks with which we can quickly hang ourselves. Americans today are, more often than not, one paycheck away from disaster. Stack on consumer debt, stagnant wages, inflation, health care, consumerism, etc etc etc and it crashes down. So what…we are all vapor in the end, right?? I disagree. I do think it is wrong to not repay a debt to the best of our abilities. Note: the best of our abilities is not one size fits all. Is bankruptcy wrong? No. It is a legal tool and can be used to help someone in dire straits clean up a disaster. I will argue that someone with no debt is far less likely to declare bankruptcy in the first place…but I digress. Third and finally, the point of my rambling is this: chip away at your debt(s) and get them out of your life as soon as possible. I know it is hard. We didn’t always have stock we could sell, nor a cushion of cash to break the fall, but we managed to live debt free except the house (and our HELOC pal) for going on 15 years now. No car payments. No credit card payments. No store card payments. Nada. You can payment yourself to death real quick in the USA. If you have been….STOP! Cut the cards up, close the accounts, and read about the Dave Ramsey Baby Steps ASAP. These are the steps we used years ago as newlyweds to start our trajectory. I know – life sucks and it is so hard, but well worth removing the noose of debt from about your neck (or at least making the chair/horse/whatever that much harder to kick out from under you). Sorry for the hanging references, but that’s the mental picture that comes to mind and it isn’t pretty. Neither is extreme and daily family strain, stress from bill collectors, lawyers, court dates, and all the rest that can come with debt.
So now that the HELOC is moving out, what is next? Well – we will continue to snowball the funds into our mortgage payment. As if the HELOC payment was still there. We’re accustomed to paying it so…we’re just naming it a new name and giving it a purpose. For without a purpose it will walk away and do something else (surely something cool and fun but likely unwise for someone who still has debt to pay and whose goal is to build liquidity for an early retirement)!!!
So find a little pile of snow and begin rollin’ y’all.