Yesterday was my 4th anniversary with the Women in Red Racers, the debt payoff board that first got me interested in personal finance. Per the Hallmark site, the traditional gift is fruit or flowers, while the modern gift is appliances. I could use a new stove or dishwasher, if anyone felt so inclined. (Here are my 2nd (post #1365) and 3rd (post #1959)anniversary posts.)
This is a slightly modified version of my anniversary post from that board. There may be some new information in this post that you weren’t aware of. I promise that there will be more forthcoming when I can speak more freely about the situation.
When you look at our debt, 2013 seems almost like a failure. We paid off less than $2,000, after paying off almost $24,500 in year one, $12,775 in year 2, and another $25,000 in year 3. There is a part of me that struggles with this. I look at my student loan balance and at my savings account balance and think, I could be (non-mortgage) debt free with just a few transfers of cash. I could be done with this NOW.
Instead, I don’t think we’re still even on the original 5 year plan. At the current rate of pay down, it will be 2018 or 2019 before my student loan is paid off. That’s another 5 years from now, putting us on a 9 year plan. Ugh.
Do I honestly think it will be that long before the undergraduate student loan is paid off? No. But if 2013 has taught me anything, it is that my emotional need to be debt free cannot take priority over our very real financial need for a strong emergency fund.
2013 was a year. I will give it that. After paying off my graduate loans in December 2012, we decimated savings in order to refinance our house (which I don’t regret). We finally got our foster care license. I received a lay-off notice. Our daughter was placed with us April 30. My last day at work was May 3. I got a very generous severance package and took two months off to bond with my daughter. Then in July, I started a new job and had 4 months of double pay, thanks to the severance, and rebuilt our savings. A week before Thanksgiving, we officially adopted our daughter, paying all legal fees in cash.
We talked about paying off the debt, but decided to save for a down payment for a larger house. We have a condo out of state to sell that we should clear over $50k on, and that combined with our current savings gives us a very nice down payment. The plan was to find a place closer to my new work location, making my commute a little less awful.
But then, a few weeks ago, I learned I would not be staying in this job. (You can read about that over on my YM Off Topic thread.) Because we have a lot of liquid savings, we’re in fine shape for me to take some time finding a new position. As the sole breadwinner for the family, I hate being out of work, but it is so nice to know that I don’t have to jump at the first thing that comes along. And also that, if I turn out to be wrong about what the right next job is (as I was this time), we’re still in decent shape, financially.
C is still in school. He should be done at the end of summer. We’re also considering adopting a 2nd child. We’ll likely move on that process after he is done with school.
We did take on new debt in 2013, which I am not racing. We got new windows on a one year SAC deal. They will be paid off next summer with no interest paid. We have continued our trend of not paying any credit card interest.
So that is 2013 in a nutshell. It was a crazy year. Debt payoff went not so great. Work situation has also been not so great (though I officially won’t lose my current job until Jan 10, so 2104). Life wise, it’s been great. We are so blessed to have our daughter in our lives, and I wouldn’t change that for anything.
So Happy Anniversary, WIR Racers. Thank you for putting up with me through the ups and downs. Thank you for not holding me to artificial timelines. I know I’ve been a little distant this year. I cannot promise that will change, but I want you to know how much I appreciate you being here for me whenever I do have the time. And I promise to stick it out, as long as it takes.