Debt Free

You know that feeling you get after you finish paying off a decade-old collection of debt and you enter the club of People Who Don’t Own Anyone Anything? I have that feeling. Today.

Alright, so I’m not much for metaphors, but damnit – I’m elated. I just went to my online banking account and submitted my final payment to my 1998 student loan. This payment represents the first time in my adult life that I’m not under the pressure to make a payment of any sort and damnit, it feels so good. Hell, to celebrate I think I’ll go buy some grossly expensive thing and put it on credit! … Alright, so even if actually wanted to, I think I’m still in their bad books.

My road to liabilitilessness was a long and twisting one. When I was about 18, fresh out of high school and in need of wheels, I went and tried to get a car loan. The bank wouldn’t give me one, but suggested I attempt to get a credit card instead and just get a cash advance from that. Hell, why would they only try to get some crappy interest rate from me when they could nail me with a 18% interest rate… credit card companies (and the banks that pimp them out) are rapists and should be dealt with as such.

ANYWAY, after a couple years of being poor but liking to own stuff, I had that sucker with a stripe up to about $3,500 and no feasible way of paying it back. I decided that education was the way forward and as such got a massive $4,000 student loan for my first semester. I rationalized that by getting further into debt I would, eventually, have more ability to get out of debt.

As I have been multiple times in my life, I was wrong. I quit university slightly before finishing the first term and began studying the fine art of Debt Collector Dodging. Eventually I returned to college and got my journalism diploma, maintaining two part-time jobs throughout, so as not to add to my unwavering mountain.

Eventually the journalism diploma did what I had hoped the university degree would. I got a solid job and managed to pay off the majority of the debt I owed (now in a debt management program) over the couple years I was working in the publishing industry. That felt good, hell, that felt great. But there was still the matter of my little student loan, tucked in the back (interest free status) for a year or so after college and then slipping into a superficial $44/mo. payment over the half-decade since. This little planter’s wart of my finances silently and slowly shrunk … and today it is gone!

Look out mortgage, here I come!

7 Responses

  1. Sweet freedom. Congratulations on doing what so many of us only dream of. Maybe I’ll get to that student loan when the RMB starts being worth something…

  2. @Phoebe: HEY!!! I’ve missed ya! And yeah, the lack of debt is nice, but the “can’t drink’em like I used to” sucks.

    @Chris/Gricelle/Rick: Thanks guys and good luck! 😉

  3. I hear ya, man. When I proposed to YJ my sales pitch was something like, “I’m a graduate student in history. I can give you 6-8 years of abject poverty followed by a lifetime of genteel poverty, will you marry me?”

    Bless her heart, she still said, “yes.”

    By now, I have so many student loans that the financial aid office has stopped having me sign forms. Instead they just tattoo ominous looking Chinese markings on my flesh adjacent to major organs–something about ‘failure to pay may result in forfeiture…’


  4. Enjoy it while it lasts. Once you sign a mortgage you’ll feel like your broke all over again. I pay my mortgage every two weeks and that bill is more than what I used to pay for one month’s rent for an apartment. If you can have the money taken out electronically from your account. It hurts a bit less if you don’t actually have to go through the torture of writing out the checks.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *