Finding Contentment in the Age of Instagram – with Rachel Cruze

Contentment …  loving who we are and what we have instead of wanting what our neighbors, friends or family have.

It sounds simple enough, right?

Well, in a world where we can see our friends every accomplishment, vacation and home upgrade on social media 24/7, it’s tough not to get a little jealous from time to time.

To help us all enjoy more and covet less, I’ve invited NY Times Best Selling Author, Rachel Cruze, on the show today. 

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I’m debt free. Now what?

Our first question of the month is from Brian from Michigan:

Hi!

After reading one of your millionaire interviews, I found your debt freedom story and your path sounds like mine.

My wife and I have gotten serious about paying off our debt after we learned she was pregnant 6 months ago. We are now nearing the debt-free finish line. Only two more months to go and we’ll be student debt free, car debt free and credit card debt free … really all debt free outside of our mortgage.

All in all, we’ll have about $600 extra each month when we’re done. Outside of going on a weekend getaway to celebrate (no drinking because of the baby *snap*), we want to keep building wealth. Any suggestions for the extra cash each month that will keep moving us forward?

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$330,000 Mortgage Crushed in 5 Years on a Single Income – with Talaat McNeely

Today, we’re chatting about Mortgage Freedom.

Eliminating the largest debt in your life … Owning your home outright.

If you’re reading this and you’re thinking, “Well … you always have a mortgage. That’s just something you need to pay forever. No one pays off their mortgage.”

Well, I have a guest today that completely disagrees with that statement.

Talaat McNeely joins me today on the show to discuss how he and his wife, Tai, paid off their $330,000 mortgage in just 5 years. Not only did they complete this impressive feat incredibly fast, but they did it on a single income.

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Should I Pay Off My Mortgage or Invest?

Our question of the month comes in from Luke from Indiana:


Hey Andy,

I was reading on your blog that you recently paid off your mortgage early. Congratulations!

I’m a Dave Ramsey guy like you and we’re getting close to baby step 6. I’m considering going heavy into paying off my mortgage like you did, but I’m also thinking it might be smarter for me to invest more for my retirement or just simply invest in the market. I also know market returns are unpredictable and we’re near all-time highs.

I have a 15-year mortgage at around 4% and the principal sits around $200,000. My wife and I are both working – we like what we do and combined we make around $200,000 per year. I feel like we could throw $50k per year at the mortgage and we’d be done in 4 years or less.

That could also be a good amount to throw at our retirement each year too.

What would you suggest for us? Should we pay off our mortgage or invest the money?

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Climb Out Of Massive Debt with These 10 Life-Changing Steps

When someone has a large amount of debt, finding a way out can feel impossible. The scattered accounts, the interest rates and the stress of keeping up with the day-to-day expenses of life are enough to drive us crazy.

After interviewing around 100 individuals who have conquered their debt and moved onto building wealth, I’ve learned what it takes to say goodbye to debt forever.

Here are 10 life-changing steps that came up Repeatedly throughout my interviews:

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Financial Peace University – Why I Coach It (Even Though I Don’t Believe in All of Dave Ramsey’s Principles)

When Nicole and I got married, we were young, in love and … in debt.

I had a luxury lease car, a mortgage balance more than the value of my home and nearly $30,000 in student loans.

Nicole only had a $20,000 car loan. Yeah, I married up.

Needless to say, we were prime candidates for Financial Peace University (FPU). This course was developed by Dave Ramsey, the best-selling author of the Total Money Makeover. The goal of FPU is to learn how to “dump debt, budget, build wealth and give like never before.”

Dave’s book, the course and daily radio show encouraged Nicole and I to live on a monthly budget for the last 7 years, pay off all of our debt and even eliminate our mortgage by age 35.

I’m very grateful for everything I learned from Dave and his team. For that reason, I wanted to give back and pay it forward to others by coordinating Financial Peace University classes … even though I didn’t exactly agree with all of Dave’s teachings.

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The Life-Changing Benefits of Complete Debt Freedom

Recently, my family became completely debt free.

No student loans, credit card debt, personal loans, car payments and, yes …  no mortgage.

After 7 years of educating myself, diligent planning and partnership with my wife, we officially do not owe a single dollar to anyone. (We do have a late fee for Moana at the library. Does that count?)

We’re incredibly excited about our young family’s future and the opportunities that our debt freedom has opened up for us.

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How I Wasted Over $13,000 Refinancing My Mortgage

In 2004, my first mortgage was a 30-year 5/1 ARM at 5.25%. If that information confuses you, don’t worry. I was completely confused too when I signed up for it at 22 years old.

I didn’t care though. After saving up $20,000, I was thrilled to put that money into my first house down payment. I was proud to be a homeowner.

That’s what we’re supposed to do, right? Buy a home so we’re not wasting our money on rent?

Well, homeownership can be a smart move for some, but not the way I did it. I made two mistakes right away with my first home:

  1. Signing up for a mortgage that I didn’t understand
  2. Committing to homeownership costs that I could not afford

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10 Pillars of Financial Independence – with Jonathan Mendonsa

Popularized by extreme frugality rock stars like Mr. Money Mustache, the Mad Fientist and Jacob from Early Retirement Extreme, the Financial Independence or FIRE community has grown in popularity over the past 5-10 years.

This is a subset of the personal finance world that encourages earning a solid income early in your life, saving a boat load of cash and retiring earlier than most of your peers.

For a frugal guy like me, this concept makes a ton of sense. Work hard, save and invest early so you can enjoy the majority of your life doing what you love.

But what happens when you’ve retired early? You still need something. You need a purpose or a goal to work toward.

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How to Increase Your Net Worth by $700,000 in 7 Years

One fall night in 2010, my wife Nicole and I were watching the Suze Orman Show. (Yes, I used to DVR it). There was this fun segment where someone would call in and Suze would analyze that person’s financial health and give them a grade. It was called How Am I Doing?

One term that we kept seeing over and over again on this segment was “Net Worth”. Since we were personal finance newbies, we had no idea what this meant. Nicole and I were making a combined six-figure income together so we figured our net worth must be HUGE.

After the show was over, we decided to see how rich we really were. There was no doubt in our mind that we’d be better off than most of the jokers that call in to the show and get an “F” grade from Suze!

via GIPHY

We walked upstairs and started to write down all of our numbers on a big white board. By separating our “assets” (what we owned) and our liabilities (what we owed) into two big columns, we started to discover that we weren’t rich.

We were kinda broke.

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