Welcome new readers! Hello there. This site is about getting out of debt and working toward financial freedom. I graduated law school three years ago with $184,000 in debt. That’s actually not that insane considering those loans were supporting a family of four (now five) the entire time, including during summers and while studying for the bar exam. Some single people graduate law school with that much debt or more. But then I took a relatively low-paying government job for two years, and opted for the “income-based repayment plan” for those loans. Because of my family size, the feds said I didn’t need to make any payments. Yay! Well, that translated into another $25,000 of interest building up. Then I missed a deadline for re-certifying for the IBR plan, which meant that the feds capitalized all that interest. #(*&@$.
As if that weren’t enough, I also bought two new cars after and had credit card debt. My total debts amounted to nearly $250,000. After my student loan interest was capitalized, I knew I was in trouble. I was at my local library one day around this time, and mostly by chance, picked up a copy of Your Money or Your Life and it inspired me to think deeper about my relationship with money. I started becoming financially literate, and knew I had to get out from under this heaping pile of debt as fast as possible. In fact, I decided to get out from under this debt mountain in just five years. I started December 31, 2015. Here’s how I’m doing:
To help keep myself motivated, I created a couple tools to help me see my progress (as opposed to just a bunch of numbers on a spread sheet. I figured these might help others in debt, and created this website to share them, and my journey.
To start out, I’ve created the Debt Freedom Calculator which uses the popular “rollover” or “snowball” method for targeting either your small balance or high interest loans first, then applying the payments you used to make on those loans to your next lowest balance/highest interest loan, and so on. There are other calculators on the web that perform these calculations, but I wanted one with an easier to see visualization of the progress you make, so I made my own. I hope you like it.
I’ve also created a calculator for figuring out your True Wage, which takes into account the cost of working, such as commuting, eating out, buying a wardrobe, and the like. It’s surprising how much time and money these things we take for granted cost, and how you can tweak them to give yourself a big pay raise.
If you have ideas for other types of calculators you’d like to see, please let me know in the comments below. Right now I’m working on one for showing how much it actually costs to own and drive a car compared with bicycling, riding the bus/public transit, and walking.
Thanks for visiting. Please stay a while, and share your thoughts.