How Debt Has Affected Me and My Family

sad+family.jpg

For many people that have gone through this Debt Free journey, it would come as no surprise to learn that being in massive debt has affected the goals I had set for my family. I relocated almost a decade ago, to an area I hoped had better educational opportunities for my children and a lower cost of living.

I had always wanted to be able to pay for my children’s college education to ensure that they did not begin their adult life already in debt. Relocating cost me several years of upward mobility in my career, which prevented me from saving for their college educations.

Two years ago, I began the process of buying a house. I reasoned that I am paying rent already, and a significantly high rent at that. I was shocked to learn that even with some accumulated savings, my purchasing power was so low, that I would never be able to buy a home that didn’t need extensive work done, or that wasn’t in a less desirable neighborhood. I finally pulled back from the process as it sank in that here was yet another dream I could not see materialize while my children were young.

I have seen some of my relatives deal with a variety of health issues that caused them to go on disability, pulling them out of the workforce 5 to 8 years before official retirement age. They had to rely solely on their 401K savings while waiting for disability to approve them and/or social security to kick in. I know that sometime in the near future I may be called on to help supplement some of them financially, and I worry about that day and whether or not I will be up to the task.

I expect this journey to be long and challenging, and I expect to stumble sometimes along the way. But I feel like now, more than ever, I have so much to lose by not choosing to become debt free.