I attend a weekly meeting every Tuesday morning with a group of Christian business owners and the leader of the group is a man named Eric. The group has 5-7 people who show up at 7:00 am- the early time keeps the group small. Eric asks probing questions each week which make us re-think how we live our lives and challenges us to take action.
This week he was talking about debt, and how our culture encourages us to take it on: car loans, student loans, mortgage, equity lines of credit etc. Where the creative debt comes into play is the ability of companies/ organizations/ government to convince us that more debt we have the better off we are. They convinced me that paying twice for my house (30 year mortgage) is a good deal and that everyone is doing it. Their ability to market, brand, and sell these products is a work of art!
During this discussion one member in the group shared his story which had a big impact on me. He said he paid his house off at the age of 34 and made extra payments each month to accomplish this task. He said he didn’t want to be a slave to debt and does everything possible to avoid it, and therefore, paying off his house was his top priority.
As I am sitting in the chair listening to this man talk about the freedom he has without a mortgage, I am upset at myself for being so complacent and going with the flow on my mortgage. When I left the meeting and got in the car I was so upset with myself that I immediately called my mortgage lender to discuss my payment options. I ran through the numbers with them to see how much extra I would need to pay each month to shorten my loan.
I ended up shortening my loan from 24 years to 8 years and will save thousands of dollars in the process. Yes, I will be paying more each month but in the long term it will be well worth the sacrifice. It was also interesting in that the bank didn’t seem overly excited about me asking these questions, running the numbers for me and emailing me the form. I think we all know why!