Since going through hard times in 2008 it’s been a long road to get where we are today. Before that layoff, I had the dream of owning my own home outright. It’s been 9 years since then and 4 years since we bought our house. And we are about a year from finally beginning to pay extra on our mortgage.
We had some other big goals to accomplish before we could begin to pay extra on our mortgage, including having our 3-6 month emergency fund as well as buying a new (to us) SUV with cash. Kim and I also agreed in various budget meetings throughout the years that we would update the house first before aggressively attacking the principal. We have one more major home update to cash flow!
Thankfully we were in agreement with refinancing to a 15-year mortgage so we could pay the house off faster. Sometimes it’s hard to be so close to beginning this huge dream of mine yet be so far away. However, it’s been a constant reminder to embrace and enjoy the process. This is just as important as reaching the goal.
Living In The Moment
Kim will tell you that I would have gladly lived in our outdated house while paying it off instead of focusing on updating it. But I understand why she wants to update it and hell, I’m enjoying seeing the transformation too. Through this process of delaying my dream for hers, I’ve had to learn to live in the moment. Life is no fun when all you do is JUST think of the future. I had a close friend that gave me great advice. He said, “Omar, sometimes you have to pat yourself on the back”. And I’m learning to do just that. What it means is that although you might not be exactly where you want to be today, you aren’t where you used to be either. Celebrate the things you’ve accomplished and the person you had to become to get to this point.
Reaching The Goal Isn’t Always As Fulfilling As You Thought
It’s the same feeling you have after having your new car for awhile. The luster of it being new has worn off and it’s not as rewarding as it used to be. Don’t get me wrong, paying off the mortgage will be huge. However, it’s not like I’ll retire the day after it’s paid off. I’ll still want to work and Kim will too. I’ll have a little bit more freedom than the average person my age, but I’ll still have the same responsibilities. I guess what I’m saying is that you should try to set realistic expectations of what life will look like after you get to your goal. That way you aren’t let down when you finally get there.
Going through this process of getting closer to paying extra on our mortgage has been a struggle and fun at the same time. It’s been a struggle because our savings rate has been between 35% and 50% for the past year. With those numbers, we could probably pay our mortgage off in 4-6 years. AND we could invest 15% of our income for retirement. But of course, we’ve been using that money to update our home. It’s been fun to see our house transform into what we want it to be. What’s been even more fun is that going through this process has allowed Kim and I to work even better as a team. If it weren’t for these updates and having our first child, we probably wouldn’t have even realized that we can live solely on my income and bank hers. This may not be helping me towards my ultimate goal today, but once these updates are done Kim will be completely on board to knocking out this mortgage. In the meantime, we’re both learning to enjoy the process!
Kim’s Thoughts: Although updating our house is my “thing,” I still have to remember to enjoy the process as well. Sometimes it gets to the point where I’m just ready for the project to be over. This is also similar to how when we were trying to get out of debt we had to find different ways to keep ourselves motivated. Once we were debt free though… I can say that the thrill of that still hasn’t worn off! Building up our 3-6 month emergency fund was different because once it was done, I did feel like the excitement dwindled down. It wasn’t for too long though because then it was time to work on our home updates! Now that they’re almost complete, truth be told, I’m looking forward to our mortgage being paid off early one day!