Honestly, I thought this day might never come. A little over 10 years ago, when my wife and I first discussed the idea of trying to pay off our house early, that day seemed like it was an eternity away. But here we are, and here it is. I’d love to tell you why we did it.
I recognize January is regarded as the most financially stressful month of the year. January is a convergence of bills incurred from the holidays and promises we’ve made to ourselves of how we’ll live differently the next year. As many of you are attempting to live differently this year financially, I hope our story will inspire you to do just that.
You might not know this, but fighting over finances is one of the leading causes of divorce. If you want to sink your family’s future, then ignoring the growing fractures in your relationship caused by financial angst will surely get you there. In marriage, it’s often not the lack of money that’s the problem; but rather the lack of compatibility in the financial plans for your home.
(A pic we took months ago, to keep us motivated toward the day we could celebrate!)
Setting a goal like paying off debt is great for a marriage. As I said before in this article, it brings the couple together to set a plan, establish good disciplines, and eventually celebrate an accomplishment that was done together.
Our reasons for paying off our house might surprise you. We didn’t do it so that we can now “build wealth.” Our long-term goal isn’t being rich, in the world’s eyes. So here are our reasons why, in no particular order:
We wanted to maximize our freedom to serve Christ. “Debt is one of the greatest enemies of the Great Commission.” That’s a powerful statement from Al Mohler, and one that I have seen be true too many times. I agree with the point in this article – we wanted to make ourselves even more available for what God has for our family in the future, so paying off debt was simply a means to this end.
We wanted to increase our generosity. This is our end goal: Generosity. Our new budget for our family is allowing us to support more ministries that are making an impact, in Jesus’ Name.
We wanted to set an example for our kids of how to steward God’s resources. This has been a really fun conversation with our kids. They’ve watched us live through this, and have asked us many questions along the way.
We wanted to be paid interest, and not spend our lives paying interest. Those are our choices. We either pay others interest in credit card fees, car loans interest or mortgage interest, or we are paid interest through our investments. We’ve chosen the latter, for practical reasons.
We wanted to reduce the stress in our family caused by financial strain. We know that we have braces, more drivers on our insurance, and college (for 5 kids) – among many, many other significant expenses – in the near future. Seeing these on the horizon motivated us to get rid of outstanding debt so that we could set more money aside to pay for these expenses as they arise.
Because my wife wanted to. Yep, this is true. I was content on the timeframe we had set up. We were still planning to pay it off early, but it was important to my wife that we keep the “pedal to the metal,” and get rid of it as soon as possible. She spoke, and I listened.
So if you relate to these reasons, and would like to start taking steps in this direction to pay off debt or live differently, stay tuned. Next week I’ll share exactly how we paid off our house, and how our family does finances.
What are the top financial priorities for your family?