No, I haven’t crossed over to the dark side. Yes, I still think there’s incredible value in being mortgage free. But for the past few months and into the foreseeable future, we pushed pause on our debt payoff plans.
While I initially expected to feel a lot anxiety about this decision, I’m surprisingly resolute.
Because this is so unlike me, I thought it might be worth sharing in case anyone else finds themselves in a situation where they put debt payoff plans on hold.
Money Is More Than Math
Many people argue that paying down low-interest debt is a fool’s errand. There’s more money to be made in the stock market. Let your money work harder. Rinse and repeat.
That’s true from a mathematical perspective.
But money is never just about math. Not on this blog, and not in real life. There’s no question in my mind that a paid-off home would be more comforting to me than my IRA balance if I lost my job.
How do I know? Well, I lost my job twice, and let’s just say that looming payments did not help me sleep at night.
There are emotional and psychological sides to money, and there’s real value in heeding advice to Know Thyself. I know me. I am a ball of anxiety on a good day, so the more in control of my finances I feel, the better my quality of life.
Plus, it’s not like I’m not also investing.
RELATED POST: Why Money is Always More than a Math Problem
It Came Down to The Numbers
But in this case, math trumped psychology. Why? The short answer is that in a few months, there simply aren’t going to be enough dollar signs to go around.
I know that I’m coming up on an unpaid leave. I know that I’m the breadwinner (though not by much anymore).
As a result, we are dialing back the debt pay down. Instead of trying to double or triple our mortgage payments–or even just ditching the mortgage altogether with some (a lot?) of our savings–we are stockpiling cash and contributing a bit to retirement, too.
I still have grand plans of living in a paid off house by the time I’m 35. Maybe they are grand delusions.
But because I’m unwilling to let go of this goal, we decided to pay just a bit extra each month.
In a way, it hearkens back to the start of our debt payoff journey. At a time when it felt like we were trying to move six figures of debt with a toothpick, we started by paying just a few extra dollars per month. Gradually, we ramped up from there.
So now, we round our mortgage up to $1000 each month. That means we’re throwing in an extra $40 or so.
While this progress feels negligible, knowing that we are doing just a bit more than we have to feels like exactly what we need to keep the momentum going. And why shouldn’t it? That little bit extra is what sparked our mortgage payoff journey to begin with.
RELATED POST: How $39 Changed Our Mortgage Payoff Journey Forever
Not Worrying About What Ifs
We are trying to lean into financial uncertainty, teasing out excitement rather than fear.
But the truth is that my brain does a magnificent job what if-ing its way through every situation, every decision. It is especially talented at this in the moments before I fall asleep.
While I haven’t found a cure to stop my brain from overthinking, I am simply giving myself less opportunity to worry about the what ifs. Instead, I’m focusing on the current path we’ve chosen. We have a rationale behind our decision, and we also know that no money choice has to be forever.
While our debt payoff plans are paused now, they won’t always be.
That might mean finding mortgage freedom at 35. Or it might be months or years after that. Rather than look at our current situation as being at odds from where we are aiming to go, we are acknowledging the need to pause on our journey right now. This break might be just the thing we need to accelerate across the finish line.
So Tell Me…Have you had to push pause on any financial goals lately?