I started down the path of F.I.R.E. (Financial Independence, Retire Early) at the beginning of 2017 after years of only halfway committing to this lifestyle. Fortunately, after spending our first several married years in the military accumulating debt, we immediately started setting aside a portion of our pay after entering the civilian world, which gave us a leg up on retirement, despite continuing down the normal American path of consumer debt. So, this past year, with our oldest having graduated nursing school and our youngest graduating high school, my wife and I decided to go all out for 12 months to eliminate all our debt and set ourselves up for a better future. And we made it, house and all, in only 10-1/2 months. Additionally, we continued to make our regular investments, dramatically increasing contributions the last month of the year thanks to having no debt at that time. The full breakdown (100%) of our net worth increase (28% overall) in 2017 follows:
· Main retirement account: 48% (it was a good year for the stock market)
· Debt elimination (house and all): 36%
· Personal/company investment contributions: 17%
· Home value: 7%
· Personal savings: -8%
Full disclosure: Part of our commitment to getting out of debt meant that we cashed in all of our (non-retirement) savings except for $1,000 and threw it at our debt last January. And while we made up the majority of that by the end of the year, we still ended up a tad short.
While 2018 has started off a bit slower due to the stock market being shaky, prepaying insurance (great discounts for doing so) and paying for a wedding, living without debt opens the door for huge increases in savings/investments, along with opportunities to find tax shelters for our money (FSA for the family and 403 (b) for the wife).
See previous posts on what we did to accomplish this goal, as well as asking any questions you might have.