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Debt-Free, Tired, and Lost

26 Jun 2012

I haven’t talked about money on this blog for a while now. I guess I feel kind of guilty for not actually having any money problems while the average Canadian household debt is supposedly 151% (i.e. for every $1 made, the average Canadian owes $1.51). And I used the word supposedly because I think there’s some questionable items in the calculation. Nonetheless, I’m better off than average.

Now, don’t hate me because you think I’m a trust fund baby. Ha! Far from it. I was born to a dirt-poor family in a Third World country. I started working at 13 and worked three jobs while in university. I made a lot of dumb-ass money mistakes (NORTEL, anyone?) in my life, but I was practical enough to realize an English degree wouldn’t get me to Freedom 45. I sold my soul to Big Business long ago, but I think the pay-off will be worth it.

Anyway, when I say I’m debt-free, I REALLY AM DEBT-FREE. Not just consumer debt-free (I never carried a credit card balance in my life) but mortgage debt-free too. (It irks me when people say a mortgage isn’t debt. To them, it’s an “investment.” *rolls eyes* As far as I’m concerned, if you’re paying interest or someone else has first claim to your asset, you have debt.) And I have been debt-free for a while now. At first, I reveled in the freedom of knowing the bank no longer owned my home. The feeling was almost heady. All those semi-monthly mortgage payments were no more! And I rewarded myself…but in moderation. Sure, I went out a bought a few stupidly expensive paintings and replenished my wardrobe, but I used most of the money that went to the mortgage to increase my monthly savings and stock purchase amounts.

I’m still frugal; I still talk myself out of buying stuff by calculating how many hours I would need to work to afford the stuff; and I still keep track of every single penny I spend. Really. Every. Single. Penny. Just like when I was 13.

But I think I reached some sort of breaking point. I’m tired. I’m tired of thinking about money. I’m tired of always calculating the cost of things and trying to remember whether or not it would be cheaper elsewhere and whether or not the cost of going to that secondary location would offset the savings. I’m tired of worrying about my parents’ finances and whether or not I need to transfer money from my savings to my checking account so I can float them for a few months. I’m tired of wondering if I need to shuffle my stock portfolio because I may need to buy another house since my sister wants to move out of our parents’ house but can’t afford her own place so she’ll have to move in with me. I’m tired of trying to calculate how much my other sister’s wedding will cost so I can know how big of a check I’ll need to write her because I don’t want her and her husband to start their life together saddled with debt.

There was also the work and worry that went into owning rental properties. Early on, I realized I don’t like dealing with tenants because they lie. I finally closed the sale of the last property this month. One less worry.

And I think I’m so tired of thinking about money that it’s taking the pleasure out of buying shiny things. Today at lunch, I went to look at Rolexes because my current timepiece is pretty beat up. And I felt nothing. Absolutely nothing. The sales lady thought my lack of reaction was me balking at the prices and let me know Birks does payment plans. I kindly told her I would never put something as frivolous as a watch on a payment plan.

However, I think the biggest issue for me is that outside of Freedom 45, I no longer have a financial goal. There’s nothing immediate to keep me focused and motivated. With the beauty of automation, I’ll achieve Freedom 45 unless I do something spectacularly stupid. So, there’s nothing I need to actively do on the financial front and, frankly, I feel lost.

At some point, it’s no longer about the money. I truly mean this because I was offered an expat assignment in Houston last week and I was blah about it. Even after my boss told me I would be very well compensated for the relocation, I felt nothing.

I guess I could set the next goal to be annual salary of $250k, but that one feels kind of hollow.

Maybe I need a change of scenery. Maybe I’ll accept that expat assignment after all.

Or maybe it’s the MBA and all those damned “group” assignments where I do the bulk of the work finally taking their toll on me.

(Yes, I know. First World problems.

But I needed to rant.)

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. 26 Jun 2012 6:35 PM

    First World problems are not in any way less real to you than my problems to me–and you have every right to rant about whatever makes you twitch (or itch).

    In all honesty, when it comes to money, all I can say is that I admire the hell out of you–it’s not just that you are intelligent, but because you have a will of iron. Everything you have achieved, and will continue to achieve, it’s the direct result of your will.

    Other people have talent, and dog knows there are people with high IQs sunk in debt to their ears all over the place, but determination is what wins the race.

    Hat off to you, Ann

    • 27 Jun 2012 9:27 PM

      Thanks, AZ. If I move to Houston, I’ll swing by Florida and buy you a few drinks.

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