Author Topic: Losing motivation... unsure of goals  (Read 1976 times)

frugalfelicia

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Losing motivation... unsure of goals
« on: January 29, 2017, 09:57:10 AM »
Posting because I'm feeling frustrated, unmotivated, etc and I would love some feedback.

In December I decided that I would aggressively pay down my student loan. At that point I had $37,000 and intended to pay it off by December of this year. I've paid off almost $5000 in the last two months, but I don't think it's sustainable. It's making me kind of miserable to count every penny and say no to everything that has an expense attached to it. I feel like I'm making my kid miserable too. And for what?

Even if I do stick with it, and I pay the loan off entirely by December... so what? I mean, great, now I have no debt, but I also have nothing to show for a year of misery lol. I guess I am questioning whether or not this is a good idea or if I should be doing something different.

My after tax income is $3630/month (minimum; sometimes more with odd jobs etc). I am currently spending $1295/mth ($855 is rent). I am contributing $400/mth to savings, and paying the remainder toward my loan (minimum $1935, sometimes more).

I feel like maybe I could be using the money more wisely - ie instead of putting down so much on my loan (which is 0% interest btw), I could be saving for a downpayment. But I don't really know if I want a house. Or maybe I could buy a vehicle, but again, not sure that I want one. I could travel? but that seems frivolous. I just don't know.

I'm 34, my kid is 11. I feel like it would be nice to have a house/yard instead of an apartment, but I also feel like he'll be 18 in 7 years and move out and then I will just want an apartment for myself, so is it worthwhile to even buy a house for 5-6 years?

I had him young (22), spent the first 10 years of his life trying to 'better myself' - finishing high school (I had dropped out as a young teen), going to college and then university, so I could get a good job and give him a good life. I feel like that hasn't worked out. I do have a decent job with benefits etc, but part of me feels like I'm not giving him what I hoped for.

Not sure what I'm looking for, I just feel lost right now.

swick

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Re: Losing motivation... unsure of goals
« Reply #1 on: January 29, 2017, 10:20:50 AM »
It sounds like there are a couple of things going on for you. The thing that really stood out for me is the feelings of not giving your son what you had hoped for. I'm curious what that is exactly?

Your point about buying a house when you know you don't want one long-term makes sense and your son is close to the point where hanging out in the back yard is going to matter less to going out and doing things with friends or joining sports teams or whatever.

He is also at the age where *time with you* is the greatest gift you can give him. Experiences, making memories, learning life skills he can launch into the world with. Kids without a yard and stuff grow up fine. Kids who have had their parents active involvement often thrive. That is an investment worth making that may be more important than paying off your SL debt as fast as possible.

Also, if you are feeling a scarcity mentality around money because everything is going to pay off your debt, you could be passing on some negative associations about money to your son that could affect him long-term. You have to find and be able to model that balance between meeting your obligations and living in the present. If you are "living in Misery" as you say, that is not a good example.

Personally, I would ease up on the debt repayment a bit and look at how you can consciously spend a bit of money a month on doing things with your son. Of course, look for free activities but having a bit of money that he has some input on how it is spent allows for some good memories and some valuable life skills. 

Something along the lines of "Son, I'm working hard to pay off SL debt, but it is important for us to spend time together and learn new skills and make some memories. So each month we are going to spend xxx and I would like your help coming up with ideas and a plan to have some fun together"

Fire2025

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Re: Losing motivation... unsure of goals
« Reply #2 on: January 29, 2017, 10:27:39 AM »
My loan is at 4%, so there is no reason for me to pay this back on a fast track.  The money I put in index funds (401k) can grow at 6-7% overtime.  So I'm better off investing, than I am paying down my student loan.  With that said my 4% is fixed for 30 years, so I don't have to worry about it going up at all. 
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While you're loan is at 0% you have no reason to fast track this debt.  It is better to start investing that extra money and only pay the minimum on the SL. If the % rate goes up late, flip back to "crushing" the debt. 

Just my 2cents.  We all have our own debt aversion levels

2Birds1Stone

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Re: Losing motivation... unsure of goals
« Reply #3 on: January 29, 2017, 10:55:01 AM »
I would put as little as possible toward a 0% interest loan. Invest the difference. Stay in the apartment if you are not sure what will happen once your son gets to 17/18 years old.

You seem to be in a pretty good place. Focus on building that stache vs. paying down interest free debt.

Good luck!

cincystache

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Re: Losing motivation... unsure of goals
« Reply #4 on: January 29, 2017, 11:54:35 AM »
I agree with what others have said about not fast tracking the debt payoff. Is it 0% fixed? If that is the case, I would pay that off as slow as possible unless it came from a family member or some similar situation. If you don't mind my asking, where did you get a 0% interest student loan?

GizmoTX

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Re: Losing motivation... unsure of goals
« Reply #5 on: January 29, 2017, 12:07:22 PM »
A house with yard will add a lot of extra maintenance & expense to your life. An 11 year old is not going to want to hang out in the yard, & a house isn't going to add anything that he doesn't already have. Yes, you will likely be downsizing or relocating when he moves out. I agree that your time is the best gift you can give him, along with making sure that he develops life skills to be able to live independently.

Are you maximizing your retirement funds? At 0%, your student debt is less of a priority.

Laserjet3051

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Re: Losing motivation... unsure of goals
« Reply #6 on: January 29, 2017, 12:32:08 PM »
I understand your desire to have a house with a yard for your family. Think hard about what you value in life and put your money towards what you value.

OK, maybe buying a house with a yard is not the best path for you now. Same is true for my family. Have you thought about RENTING a house with a yard? Little to no commitment with that approach and you can downsize as your child moves out. We rent a house with a yard and while it costs more $, we dont regret the decision. It is in alignment with what we value. High density living where my neighbor can read the text on my computer screen or hear me breathing at night is just not for me.

Metric Mouse

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Re: Losing motivation... unsure of goals
« Reply #7 on: January 29, 2017, 11:34:29 PM »
I think renting a house is a great idea.