"What is 'your' definition of Debt-free? This is our situation, a financial question. - Page 3 - Talk About Marriage
Financial Problems in Marriage When financial times are tough, it adds to the stress we deal with on a daily basis. This section is for talking about how financial problems affect our relationships and ways to cope.

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post #31 of 40 (permalink) Old 01-21-2017, 12:33 AM
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Re: What is 'your' definition of Debt-free? This is our situation. A financial questi

Dear Jasmine,

i am so happy for you, your husband, and family. Be sure some of that money is put into a IRA of some sort for you. at least $5K a year. Also, have your husband take a break for putting money into his IRAs.' and start banking up to two years of gross salary or one year of gross salary. This is why. I made $70K a year for the last ten years. In debt with student loan debt, a mortgage, two cars, medical bills, and paying off my wife's credit cards. The has been no money left. THEN MY CAREER TANKED AND i HAVE NO CHANCE TO EARN THAT WAGE AGAIN.

Head this warning. A career can tank for cause, due to the economy, or he pissed off the wrong person. HE could take a pay cut too. if he gets ill, depressed, and can't function until a year later; therefore, your entire family's life will be derailed. Oh, he could be obsoleted with downsizing, your husband's earning potential and the chance to get a same amount paying job could disappear, he could never get back into his career or not find a job in his field. It happened to me me. I got depressed, I was out of work, burnt out on Administrative Director job at $70K, I can't get back in. My transferable skills only Pay $40K. A $30K loss is BIIIIGGG, Big!


By the WAY hide away $3,000 or more in a safe deposit box for housing and food should you need to leave your home in an emergency, or if you spouse kicks you out or makes you move out of the house with a court order. You will not have to stay at a homeless shelter, live in the car, You can stay a long time at a Motel Six with $5K until things work out and you can regroup your next move.
Mark my words. Hide it. I am in a precarious position going through a divorce and no money if I am forced to move. No hidden stash, no survival. If you squirrel money away don't tell anybody, ever.

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post #32 of 40 (permalink) Old 01-21-2017, 01:22 AM
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Re: "What is 'your' definition of Debt-free? This is our situation, a financial quest

Debt free means that all your bills are paid off every month and you don't owe anyone anything for any longer than that. Obviously if you buy something and don't pay cash on the barrel head for it, you have debt until you pay it off, but as long as you do that every month, I would consider you debt free.

As for me, I have a mortgage and no other debt.

And as to the multiple recommendations for real estate investing, I don't agree. It is highly risky in many regards and looks good only so long as interest rates are low and prices keep going up. I don't count my house as part of my net worth, and since my mortgage is non-recourse I could walk away if there were a real estate crash. Not that I have any intention or expectation of that, but that fact allows me to ignore the mortgage as well as the supposed equity.

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post #33 of 40 (permalink) Old 01-21-2017, 08:49 AM
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Re: What is 'your' definition of Debt-free? This is our situation. A financial questi

The OP hasn't returned.

"If you deliberately plan on being less than you are capable of being, then I warn you that you'll be unhappy for the rest of your life."

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post #34 of 40 (permalink) Old 01-21-2017, 01:42 PM
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Re: What is 'your' definition of Debt-free? This is our situation. A financial questi

Originally Posted by Satya View Post
The OP hasn't returned.
I know that she is still reading. Guess she just has not seen a need to reply.
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post #35 of 40 (permalink) Old 01-21-2017, 01:56 PM
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Re: "What is 'your' definition of Debt-free? This is our situation, a financial quest

Debit is money that we owe; money that is due. Generally we think of debt as instruments in the form of loans, mortgages, credit cards, etc. -- basically financial obligations that span more than one financial period. We can look at either a month or a year as a financial period. Most bills are paid on a monthly basis. things like taxes, mortgages, loans, etc tend to span a multiple years.

Whether or not rent is a debt depends on the rental/lease agreement.

If you have a lease agreement that says that you agree to lease the apartment for x number of months/years, then it's a debt because even if you move out you owe it. Some leases have a way to get out of that obligation, others do not.

If you have a month-to-month rental agreement then it's an expense and not a debt. You don't own the money if you move out.

But your point that you and your husband are basically debt free is true. You have no loans, mortgage, credit card debt, etc. You only have the expense of day to day living.

If I were you, I would ignore what the women on that site say about this. They are basically wrong. I would also not argue with them about it.
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post #36 of 40 (permalink) Old 01-22-2017, 08:40 PM
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Re: What is 'your' definition of Debt-free? This is our situation. A financial questi

Originally Posted by jasmine31 View Post
Hello, and Happy Thursday to everyone.. For starter I just want to say I know this section of the forum is title "Financial problems in marriage". We Don't have a financial problem, I just have a financial question. I think it go here because it financial related, my apology if I posted it in the wrong section of the forum.

I'm sorry for the longgg post ahead, but there is a financial question I want to ask. Not expect anyone make it through reading it since my post it so long, but I really appreciate it if anyone can help answer my question. Thank you so much.

So, on a mommie-baby site that I'm a frequent poster on CafeMom (it a community forum for mommies, pregnancy, women who TTC, etc.. where women talk to other women for advice and support). There is a thread where a poster aksed if there anyone in there who not have any debt, and asked what Debt-free is to everyone.. Alot of ladies in there replies, pretty much posters there share about their financial situation whether they have debt or not, and exchanged their viewpoint of what to them is the meaning of Debt-free.

So me as a regular poster in there, I replied in that thread too. I might not be a very bright girl, but I think I know what Debt-free mean.. Please try to read it to the end in order to get a clear picture of the question I'm trying to ask.
So this is my replied in that thread:

[[ We Debt-free, zero debt. No student loans debt, we never have school debt. No credit cards debt. No medical debt.. Cars are paid off, long paid off. I mean we have insurance, but both our cars his and mine are paid off.

Rent and All bills are pay on time early every month way before the due date; once we get the bills we pay it right away mail out the payment the next day.. Credit card bills, same thing. Mail out payment next day way early before the due date. We have excellent/perfect credit scores.
Our credit card bills is just what we use charge with our credit cards for that month, and once we get the bill we mail out the check right away next day pay it off. Never once we own credit cards a penny, let alone own a dollar.
Everything, Rent and all bills including credit cards bills are all pay on time way early every month actually. Never once we have a late payment, let alone a missed payment.

My husband make decent income, he make 100K a year (money don't fall down from the sky. He has to work long hours in order to make that income. But he has No difficulty of bring in 100K income a year).. Despite we live in a HCOL state California, but life is comfy for us due to we both Debt-free. And we both are not big spender.
He very responsible with money, he work hard to secure for our future. To make sure we always be in a comfortable fiancial position.

His checking account it just where he pays Rent and all bills; and he pays it all, I don't have to pay anything. (Yes, he has me as Joint on his checking account).
His life saving is not in his checking. It his saving accounts and his retirement accounts are where all his life saving money are at.
----He has two Saving accounts, and both accounts have more than decent saving money in it save for emergency/rainy days. (Yes, he has me as Joint on both of his saving accounts).
---He has two 401k accounts and one IRA account saving for retirement, and all three has more than decent money retirement saving in it, especially his IRA account.. He prefers IRA, he used to have three 401k accounts but last time he roll one to his IRA. (Yes, he has me as the Primary beneficiary on all three of it).
---He has Life insurance, Health insurance. He has excellent/perfect credit scores.. Eventhough he has more than decent money in his Saving accounts and his 401k and IRA retirement accounts, he still want Life insurance just in case. He is a huge planner. (Yes, he has me as the Primary beneficiary on his Life insurance. And I'm on his Health insurance).

I'm a girl with only a High school diploma, No college degree. I work minimum wage jobs all my life, I make minimum wage. He on the other hand, make 100K a year. I told him repeatedly I don't want to be on any of his financial accounts (I understand our incomes difference, it alot).. But he adamant put me as Joint in all his bank accounts, and as Primary beneficiary on all his retirement accounts and Life insurance. I refused, he insists. I refused, he insists. I don't know what to do so I let him have it his ways.

We dislike debt. We never over spend. We budget everything.. Every month money go in what in what, we have everything budget lay out all and ready.
We do live BELOW our means. We rent in the lowest monthly rent place. No, we don't need to live in a high-end place with swimming pools and work out gyms and all that, lol. we don't care those stuff.. I told my husband why pay the top expensive rent monthly when we can find a place with much lower/cheaper rent? It helps each month to add MORE money into your savings if we paying lower rent.
Perhaps I'm cheap, but to me having 'Cash' in our saving accounts is more important than live in a high-end place.. It not just money in Saving accounts, it also money in 401k and IRA retirement too, the more retirement savings we have the better we be in our old age.

No, we personally don't want to own a home in California. Anyone who live in California know how expensive it is to buy a house here.. Same with New York. You talking about two HIGHEST cost of living states in the U.S., and the highest home prices too.
We don't want to buy a house in California because we not staying in this state till the day we die. We thinking of relocate to Georgia (where my husband mom side of the family all are at), perhaps we buy a house there in Georgia, we just want to buy a condo or townhouse.. It just never was a 'must need/must have' to us own a house in this HCOL state California and the house prices here are ridiculously high.
Why buy a house in ridiculous high price California when houses in the South are at a much lower price?

Anyways, I'm very frugal. I'm a coupon person; I cut coupons, I save coupons, I use coupons.. I save every dollar as I can.
My husband make 100K a year and I'm here cutting coupons out of weekly grocery ads, lol.. even coupons like buy one get one half off, or .75 cents off I still cut out use and save.
I'm not a huge planner like my husband, but I'm frugal.

Is Debt-free and making 100K a year income comfy to others? Probably not, but to us it comfy. And being Debt-free sure help alot.. And what added further to the help it our lifestyle, we both are not big spender and we live Below our means. We hate debt, so our goal is lifetime Debt-free.

oh, and our age.. I'm 31, I'll be turning 32 soon. My husband he a year younger than me; he 30 (just turn 31 few months ago). ]]

okay, so that is the financial situation of me and my husband, I considered we are Debt-free. Perhaps my definition of what Debt-free is is different from others, but to me I think we Debt-free.

BUT then there is a replied from a poster, she quote me and she said that is Not Debt-free.. okay, she got me confused and I second think question what really Debt-free is then?
This is her replied, I cut and paste what she wrote to me in CafeMom to here: [[[ You pay rent every month. I don't view that as debt-free, it's akin to having a mortgage. One that you'll never pay off. ]]]
So by her quote above replied to me, and her viewpoint of what Debt-free is. Me and my husband we not Debt-free Solely because we pay 'Rent'.. But we rent in the lowest monthly rent place, so we can have More money save added to our savings and retirement. Our rent is way low compared to my husband income. I don't see how can our rent is considered our debt? We don't own rent a penny, once we get the rent bill, we sign a check immediately mail out next day pay it.

IF by her definition what she wrote (in the blue bold bracket), nobody is Debt-free then unless they born with a silver spoon in their mouth.. Because those who rent, whether it high or low rent they have to pay monthly Rent. If not rent, then those who buy house, whether it high or low monthly mortgage payment, they still have to pay Mortgage.
Then by her definition, nobody is Debt-free then (since we have to pay Rent or Mortgage).

So my question is, do you agree with what that poster said (her quote in blue bracket above)--her definition of Debt-free? According to our situation above, we Debt-free to me. Am I thinking Debt-free definition wrong here?
Yes, I'm an easily confuse girl, and right now I'm confuse. That poster she throw me off. So what is really Debt-free then? What is 'your' definition of Debt-free?

When I'm dead.......

Seriously, no mortgage, no rent, no car debts and no student loans. That's my definition of debt free.

Basic things like food, electricity, clothing, transportation you need until you die.

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post #37 of 40 (permalink) Old 02-23-2017, 09:48 PM Thread Starter
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Re: "What is 'your' definition of Debt-free? This is our situation, a financial quest

eta: Thank you Sir tech-novelist for your advice. Thank you very much.

Last edited by jasmine31; 04-16-2017 at 12:45 AM.
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post #38 of 40 (permalink) Old 02-24-2017, 08:10 AM
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Re: "What is 'your' definition of Debt-free? This is our situation, a financial quest

Originally Posted by jasmine31 View Post
My husband he Debt-free (we both are). So there no debt for us to worry about.
His 401k and IRA retirement, he max out it out every year. So retirement savings is not a problem. He does have more than decent amount of savings for retirement.

You help gave me advice in my other thread regarding he work dangerous job.. Not everyone qualify, and not everyone want or willing to work the job he work, especially with nature of his job. On the good side is he does get pay decent. At the age 23 (he 31 now), he already make 100K a year.
I want to ask your insight on this, do you see the point of have two saving accounts? I ask because my husband has two (he has me as Joint on both saving accounts). I'm thinking of perhaps he should close one and just put all the money together in one saving account instead of two.
He has six-figures in his Savings. (Cash in his savings is what we will use to pay for the condo/townhouse for his mom). Or if she wants to rent a house near where her sister is, we be more than happy to pay monthly Rent for her.
Do you see the point of have two saving accounts? One should be good enough right?
There is no particular reason to have two savings accounts, but there is also no reason not to. Why does he have two accounts?

Originally Posted by jasmine31 View Post
oh, and my other question. I know yearly my husband max out his retirement savings. I know the 401k and IRA are SEPARATE from Social Security taxes right?
I ask this because I see my husband paychecks (he gets pay weekly), and in his paychecks it automatically deduct for Social Security tax.
So when he retire, he can collect both--simultaneously both his Social Security retirement (the Social Security tax that deduct from his paychecks), AND his 401k and IRA right?
The IRA and 401k are his, he max it out every year. That is SEPARATE from the Social Security tax that deduct from his paycheck, so he should get BOTH simultaneously when he retire right? I'm a bit confuse on this, can you explain it to me? Thank you Sir.
He has me as the Primary beneficiary on both his 401k and IRA. And I do understand how 401k/IRA works, I just a bit confuse about the Social Security tax. He should be able to get BOTH when he retired right? I mean it his hard work money, it just it deducted out of his paychecks.
Yes, Social Security is separate from 401k/IRA money. Right now people can get payments from all of those different sources, although it is possible that some day the government will say "You have too much money and there are poor people who need that money more than you do, so we are going to reduce (or eliminate) your Social Security payment because we don't have enough money to pay everyone, even though it was their own money." No one knows when or if that will happen, but it is a possibility. I wouldn't let it stop me from saving as much as possible though, because your own money is still better than having to rely on the government.

Originally Posted by jasmine31 View Post


oh, and one last question, if you can give me advice on this. What should I say next time if my husband ask me if I'm okay with him work holidays.. He always ask me if I'm okay with him work overtime or holidays, and I said I'm okay (because of the overtime pays, and the holiday pays). But perhaps next time he ask me if I'm okay with him work holidays, I should just not comment and say it up to him and let him chose?

He work a dangerous job, (but I know somebody has to do the damn job). On the bright side his pays is decent. And the company he work for do treats him well. The upper scale pay in his job is $30 an hour (factor also of California HCOL),
but due to he has years of experience (he got experience in his field since 23, he 31 now), due to his experience they pay him $35 an hour.
So his hourly pay is $35 an hour, and he DOES get pay overtime (1.5x more for overtime). So any hours he work after 40 hours, he get pays $52.5 an hour. A week he work 70 hours, so that 30 hours he work overtime over the 40 hours and he get pay $52.5 an hour for overtime.
So a week he make $2,975 a week. ($35 an hour x 40 hours = $1,400 ) + plus (overtime pay $52.5 an hour x 30 hours = $1,575 ) = equal to $2,975 a week.
And there 52 weeks in a year, he make 154K a year. (yes, we in the HCOL California. But we both are Debt-free, and we live BELOW our means.. And with his income, it still above the average household California income. With just him himself--one person income salary, I considered him doing well).

And not mentioned, he gets pay extra on the holidays too. Major holidays like Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year's Day, Memorial Day, Labor Day, Independence Day. You know the major holidays.. No, Not Valentine's Day, that don't count as a major holiday, lol
When he work on holidays (which he does work on holidays), he get pays 'Double time and a half'. Take for example last Christmas (a major holiday) he work, he gets double and a half.
His hourly pay is $35 an hour. (On holiday, he get double and a half) 2.5x of $35 an hour, so he get pay $87.5 an hour.. And he work 12 hours. That come out $1,050 for that day alone. That is alot of money for one day work alone (ofcourse it holiday pay that it like that).

Giving the holidays pay like that, that was why when he asked me if I'm okay with him work holidays, I said I'm okay. I mean he work one day of holiday, and he gets pay $1,050 for that one day alone, that is alot of money (well, to me it is).
Work, yes?--I don't see why my husband shouldn't work holidays considering that pays? And right now we don't have kids yet (I haven't give him his baby wish yet), it just me and him and our little poodle.
And I'm a Stay at home Wife (this is the lifestyle he wants), we are not missing out time with each others. How can a Stay at home wife with no kids yet miss out time with their husband?
I would ABSOLUTELY tell him I want him to work on those major holidays! My wife is a nurse (retired now) and she told me that there was a lot of competition between nurses as to who could get holiday pay, even though in her case it was only 50% more, not 150% more as in your husband's case.

Originally Posted by jasmine31 View Post

Here the thing about my husband. My husband he very important on me and him eating together and go to bed together. When he work nights, he wants me to sleep in the daytime with him.. Eating together is very important to him, go to bed at the same time and wake up at the same time is also equally very important to him.
He make it clear that he doesn't want me to even work part time, he said why do he wants his 'wife' to work? When he make enough for his wife to stay home. He said and asked that.
I guess to him, he takes pride in provide for me--being the one that brings in the income/money. I guess to him it like that, I dunno.

He work 70 hours a week (10-12 hours a day).. So a day he gone 12 hours at day at work, and after work he comes straight home; which leave him 12 hours home, eat sleep family time.
I know he very important on when he comes home from work; able to see me first thing, have me sit down on the dinner table eat with him, have me watch News with him, have me go to sleep at the same time with him.. Have me eat with him before he go to work an after he gets home from work. Go to sleep at the same time and wake up at the same time with him.
Which my husband has what he wants, and I'm sure it because this is the lifestyle he wants, therefore he make me a Stay at home Wife (yes, right now it a SAHWife, because I haven't give him his baby wish yet, so I'm not a mommy yet).

Married to him as his wife (Perhaps I married a traditional man?)--he make it very clear and adamant he doesn't want me to work, not even part time. He wants me to be a Stay at home Wife SAHW. And when I give him his baby wish, he wants me to continue to stay home, be a SAHM.. (He really want a baby to complete our little family. I just haven't give him a baby yet).

No, I'm not complaining that he work long hours. He does make decent money.. And here in the HCOL state California; have a DH that work long hours it very common, here every household there got to be one person who work their butt off just so their wife and kids can have a comfy life.
I'm not the only one with DH that work long hours. Plus I know there ladies out there who have DH that travel for work go on business trips for weeks to a month at a time. I know there ladies out there that have DH that in the military, facing deployment for months to a year at the time..
So I'm not complaining, I'm very grateful.. I have my husband home with me everyday, zero travel or deployment. I'm very grateful of my situation (despite he work long hours).

He home everyday. He work 10-12 hours and come straight home. Eat is we eat together. He sleep 6-7 hours and that 6-7 hours (regardless day or night) is I sleep with him. That leave us 5 hours of us time together do whatever we wish. I'm very grateful of my situation and for the time I have with my husband.
My sleep have been follow his sleep. When he sleep, that is when I sleep, lol.. When he work nights, he sleeps in the day, and he wants me to sleep in the day with him.

I know me being a SAHWife/SAHM is the lifestyle he adamant wants, like damn adamant wants. And I don't want to debate with him about this; we not starving, and he make a low six-figures income, and he Debt-free (we both are).. He not asking much, all he asked for is have have his wife eat with him and go to sleep at the same time with him. This guy pays for my everything, everything, supporting me from a to z. I'm a SAHW (not working, no income), it not too much for a husband to ask.
I know I'm not bringing in an income (since to he doesn't even want me to work part time). I told him if he needs me to work to help bring in income, he has to tell me so I can know. Everytime I said that to him, he call me silly. He still said he doesn't want me to work. He said why do he wants his 'wife' to work? When he make enough for his wife to stay home.. I don't know how to answer him when he said that everytime I asked, he very adamant on not want me to work.

I have my own car (bought this car way before I met him), I drive out whereever I want.. And I work before marriage, (a minimum wage job, but I work prior to marriage).
We have our own cars, he has his car, I have mine. I do drive around with my car go whereever I want to go, do whatever, drive whereever (just do it in the 12 hours he at work). Drive to Chinatown, go over to my BFF house (but my BFF best friend she married and has kids, I don't want to bother her), do whatever, there plenty of places to go around here in the very crowded state California, and we live right in the heart of the city too.. I do drive around, just in the daytime. Because when he go to work late at night like at 1AM at night, no way I go out or driving out at that time. This is basic common sense. I do go in the daytime.
But then when he work nights, he sleep in the day, and I have to sleep with him (okay, not have to. He prefers, and I want to too).

Because of the holidays pay, I want him to work holidays. It doesn't matter to him, if I want him work he work, if not he won't. Am I terrible for want my husband to work holidays? But consider the holiday pays (2.5x more each hour of his normal $35/hour pay). He works, that more money to save. Those money he can put more in his Savings, or in his retirement.
What would you do?--for the pay of $1,050 a day just to work that one day (holiday pay), let him work on all holidays right? (major holidays ofcourse, it the major holidays when they pay like that).
Am I terrible that I want him to work on holidays just because of that pay? Perhaps next time he ask me if I'm okay with him work holiday(s), I should just not comment and said it up to him and let him chose?
Sir, can you give me insight/advice on this please? Thank you Sir.
Again, you should definitely tell him you want him to work on those major holidays. That adds up to thousands of extra dollars a year that you can save (after paying California and Federal taxes, of course). And even if you don't want him to work more than the usual days, he could take off a "regular" day and work a major holiday instead, right? Then you would still be ahead 150% of a regular day's pay (before taxes). So yes, this is absolutely a good idea.

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post #39 of 40 (permalink) Old 03-03-2017, 12:06 PM Thread Starter
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Re: "What is 'your' definition of Debt-free? This is our situation, a financial quest

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Last edited by jasmine31; 04-13-2017 at 08:03 AM.
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post #40 of 40 (permalink) Old 03-21-2017, 02:20 PM
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Re: What is 'your' definition of Debt-free? This is our situation. A financial questi

There is no ambiguity in the definition of "debt".

Debt means that you and another party have a legal agreement. You have been given money to spend NOW, which you will pay back later. Most debt show up as accounts on your credit record. A mortgage, a student loan, a car loan - these are all debts. Debts almost always include interest costs, which are essentially money down the drain, unless you place a high value on acquiring something before you have the cash to do so.

Rent is not a loan and does not constitute debt. It is an expense, and when you pay rent, you are paying for either the month to come or the month that just passed and you are not paying any interest.

Some key practical differences in terms of how they impact your life:
* In theory, you can stop an expense by halting your consumption of the thing you're paying for. E.g., tolerate hot summers and cold winters and do light-requiring activities only in the daytime and your electric bill goes WAY down.
* Most debt cannot be halted so quickly. Credit card debt is a good example...if you bought clothing and meals, then those are not things you can easily sell for enough money to pay off the credit card. Student loans are the same way. If the loan has collateral (car, house, boat, etc), then in theory you can sell the car/house/boat and pay off the debt - but you still need to live somewhere and get to work, so it's usually pretty darned inconvenient to do so, unless the asset is a pure luxury (yacht, for instance).

Re: Cost of housing. If you are in a place where a house costs a lot, then you are in a place where houses go up in value quickly - that's how that house got to that price to begin with. I'm not necessarily saying "go buy a house", there's a lot to be said for having a landlord deal with maintenance, especially if the husband works long hours or is out of country a lot.

I moved to CA in the late 90s. The price of housing was a shock. My employer graciously gave me a 6% raise "to compensate for COL difference from my previous state, Colorado". They had essentially terminated my job in Colorado and opened one in California and said "go". At the time, nobody was hiring people with my skills in Colorado, so I reluctantly went.

So, yeah...for what I could buy a house in CO for, I could get something tiny and in a high-risk neighborhood. So I decided I would rent. But rents were even higher than houses, relatively! I figured if I bought a house at the then-current mortgage rate of 8%, with minimal down payment (3%), my monthly payment, after figuring the tax deduction, was 30% less than rent. So, I did it - bought a house, not in a bad neighborhood but not far from it. I heard occasional gunshots and painted over graffitti from time to time.

I didn't plan to stay in CA, but figured on building up my retirement accounts, learning new skills on the new job and then seeing who elsewhere wanted me. Didn't like the women I met - all seemed very shallow - and it was as if I was the first man they'd seen in 10 years, I was VERY popular, but not enjoyng it. So, my last GF from Colorado and I decided she'd come out, we'd tie the knot, so now it was us. The economy, right after that, got smacked down hard, my pay was cut 30%, her temp job was cut 100% and nobody was hiring for my skills, anywhere. We hunkdered down, literally shut off electric and gas and only turned things back on when it got truly painful. We scrimped and managed to make it through while still maxing out the 401k plan and paying that mortgage.

As real estate collapsed in San Fran, and jobs were lost, many of those people, who'd been earning $500k at jobs that would never exist again, started retiring early and moving up north - to where we were. This caused 18% annual increases in house values where we were. Due to this we were able to re-fi from 8% down to a 2% adjustable-fixed for 5 years. We kept paying the payment as if it were 8%...and when the 5 years were up, we'd only owe $20k. But we didn't stay...when the economy started picking up again, my employer started moving to China and a competitor picked up up in Oregon, not only paying my move but giving me a 40% increase in pay.

The house in California? I owned it for just under 5 years, and sold it for 3X what I paid for it. Even if I include every single penny that went into it for utilities, interest, taxes, etc, it was a profit. That's rare. And that stroke of luck is the only reason we were able to buy land, outside the city, enjoy peace and quiet and so on, here in OR.

But - doing those sorts of things requires that you're interested enough in money to keep your eye on things. I don't like money - but splitting from my ex left me at zero at age 40, so I knew I had to build up faster than average to make it to retirement successfully.

There are three kinds of business. Your business, my business and God's business. Whose business are you in? -Byron Katie
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