How Pursuing Financial Independence Put Us Into Marriage Counseling – with Andy & Nicole Hill

When we paid off our mortgage early, it was one of the happiest days of my life. The major reduction in our overall annual expenses and my stress level was immediate. We celebrated with the whole family (check out our epic celebration here).

Little did I know though that one of the best days of my life would lead to one of the largest disagreements I’ve ever had with my wife of 8 years. We were really good at paying off the mortgage together, but we were not prepared for what we’d do with the money afterward.

We both had different ideas of what we should do with the money, but we didn’t communicate them to each other very effectively. (Well, I really didn’t).  

To help remedy the situation, we decided to attend marriage counseling sessions after they were recommended by a good friend. It was one of the best decisions we’ve ever made as a couple.

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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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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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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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Is Debt Freedom Impossible in a High Cost of Living Area?

This week’s question comes from Michelle in response to an article I wrote about paying off our mortgage early:


MICHELLE:

Hi Andy,

I find myself in a unique position.  I understand the steps you’ve outlined in your mortgage pay off article. I’ve read a few books on that process by Dave Ramsey.  

What advice would you give to someone who lives in a very high cost area?  

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How To Pay Off Your Mortgage Early in 10 Not-So-Easy Steps

In late 2017, we paid off the $195,000 mortgage on our dream home. After 4 years of focus and partnership with my wife Nicole, we’re now completely debt free and thrilled about the future ahead of us.

To help our two young children remember this family tree-changing moment in our lives, we decided to celebrate with them. Instead of just burning the mortgage and tipping back a few glasses of champagne (which we did too), we came up with a few unique ideas of our own like running through a “Mortgage Wall” and whacking a “Mortgage Piñata”!  

The kids had a blast and so did we. This was a moment we wanted our kids to remember. It was the day we decided that our family was going to become debt free for life.

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How to Celebrate Paying Off Your Mortgage Early

You’re mortgage free! Congratulations!

This was no small feat. Your hard work and dedication in paying off this massive debt should be celebrated.

But how do you celebrate something that only a fraction of the US population has done?  

My family recently paid off the $195,000 mortgage on our home and we were asking ourselves this very question. We thought about painting our front door red or throwing a party with some close friends. After some spirited fun back and forth with my wife, we landed on four fun ideas that we could do together as a family.

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Ready to Pay Off Your Mortgage? Remember These Important Steps

So you’re ready to pay off your mortgage?! Congratulations!

There are some important hoops you have to jump through to make this momentous occasion official. After all that hard work in paying your monster loan, let’s make sure you cross all your “T’s” and dot your “I’s”.

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