That article is about Life Beyond Debt. You have been struggling to get out of debt for what feels like forever, and the moment has finally arrived: you’re debt free! But now a new journey begins – your life beyond debt.
What is the journey like? Here are five experiences you can expect to have.
Finally, after years of planning and frugal living, you have reached your goal. For many people, that means a celebration is in order, and for good reason. You’ve worked hard to achieve something and all your efforts culminated into results you wanted.
Once the happiness has abated, many people face an entirely different set of emotions, like feeling inexplicably lost. They anticipated nothing but cheer, but now they have to contend with a darker set of feelings they don’t fully understand. It is natural to feel that way during major life changes. The desire to get out debt shaped your plans and guided your decisions for an extended period of time. Once you are debt free, that direction is gone.
Making financial plans after debt
Just because debt leaves the picture doesn’t mean your financial journey is over. Far from it, in fact. After digging yourself out of a hole, you come to realize it is now time to build. Deciding what your post-debt goals should be is difficult to determine as an individual, and potentially even trickier if you’re in a partnership. Couples who were once firmly on the same page about getting out of debt may begin to differ starkly about their financial future, and what they are willing to do to achieve it.
Post-austerity purchasing decisions
If you’re committed to getting out of debt, most purchasing decisions are pretty straightforward – unless you need it, don’t buy it. That changes for many people once they are in a healthier financial state. Many want to balance frugality – they don’t want to go into debt again, after all – with permission to spend a little more liberally. Finding that balance can be daunting. It is important to reflect earnestly on what you value, and to funnel your finances towards those things, whether they are attainable in the present or the future.
Keep learning from your past
Many people feel like they learn a lot about themselves during times of debt. It is a type of hardship that demands austerity, which is a learning experience in of itself. Few people allow these experiences to leave them once they are comfortable financially, and that is probably for the best. Even though debt will no longer guide your decisions as boldly as it did when you were getting out of it, for the sake of staying debt free, memories of being saddled with payments should never completely leave you.
Achieving freedom from bill collectors and expensive interest payments is an amazing experience. It is also a complicated time of transition, one that will have its own ups and downs.