Getting Debt Free The Stoic Way
I got a letter in the mail congratulating me on completely repaying my loan. We still have one more student loan left, but we are very close to getting debt free (not including mortgage)—about two years early of our five year plan. In hindsight, our path to debt reduction was actually quite stoic.
We have always put a higher priority on debt reduction than luxury and our desires. We have periods of strictness, where we stick to a small budget for leisure activities, but also periods where we loosen the belt a bit and enjoy ourselves; such as a trips to Dominican Republic and Paris for weddings.
What it comes down to is taking the time to think about and reflect on your goals and use that as the compass to guide your actions. I believe that no matter your financial goals getting rid of your debt is step one. If your goal is to make more money and get rich, this will work for you. If your goal is to shed the shackles of a capitalist system then getting debt free is certainly the right move. The point is you can do a lot more positive to your wealth by aggressively eliminating debt and using the increase in cash flow for investments, rather than making interest heavy monthly payments of loans.
A stoic doesn’t value fortune, but shouldn’t logically allow themselves to spend money poorly. Making debt payments with interest is annoying and frustrating because I don’t like giving away money. This is getting in the way of our tranquility so we better do something about it. This is an opportunity ripe with chances to call on stoicism.
Practicing discomfort allows us to reduce our spending greatly but also build more appreciation for the things we have, one of the primary ways to reach tranquility. You could stop drinking socially, which may feel painful, or give up meat temporarily to try to reduce your grocery bill. You could get even more hardcore by reducing your thermostats and just wear more sweaters and blankets around the house to cut energy bills.
It’s way easier to spend your money on debt instead of luxury items or things to express your fortune when you don’t value fame or fortune at all. Suddenly money has lost it’s power over you and you can make instead make it work for you.
This is working for us, and I’m curious what works for others, so please share.