Debt-Freedom & the Blasey Ford / Kavanaugh Hearing: Weird

 Holding up my shoes. They’re off!

  • DH = dear husband
  • DFF = debt-free friend

Friday September 28, 2018: Debt-Freedom!

We’re officially debt-free! Friday offered one last obstacle to the final step of our journey out of debt. We bank with a no-fee subsidiary of one of Canada’s big banks. Friday, of all days, its online banking was shut down! There was no brick and mortar option, so all day, we literally COULDN’T pay off our debt!!! Both bizarre and frustrating! Finally in the evening, the online bank was up and running again. It was a matter of a few clicks of the mouse. DONE!

Friday September 28, 2018: Kavanaugh hearing

I don’t know about you, but the Senate Judiciary Committee Hearing on allegations against Judge Kavanaugh really had an impact on me. I found myself obsessing, watching segments of the testimonies given, talking with colleagues, students, friends, family members about it. More than one woman disclosed to me either her own experience of sexual assault or that of a loved one.

Dr. Christine Blasey Ford’s testimony just rang so true, and it stirred the pot of confusion, shame, outrage, self-doubt, and anger on which many of us have kept the lid securely in place – often for years or even decades. My Twitter feed Friday night was a collective venting of pain, rage, and incredulity. I found this image via the Facebook posts of two friends, and I think it does a good job of capturing the burden women carry:

It’s hard to walk in confidence and freedom through that maze of mixed messages.

Plutus Awards

I eventually switched my focus on Twitter to the events of FinCon – the big annual financial convention attended internationally by bloggers, pod casters, authors of books, and leaders in all things personal finance. What a change! I had to adjust to the positive high energy and excitement that were conveyed through the tweets of those who were at FinCon18. I got the impression they were having a fantastic time.

The convention took place in Orlando Florida, and it was of particular interest to me this year because Prudence Debtfree was nominated for the Best Debt-Freedom Blog. A big thanks to those who nominated me! It was a real honour. I occupy a very small corner of the personal finance bloggosphere, and it was a big deal for me to be given a spot alongside those with much larger followings and more extensive experience in writing and blogging.

Congratulations to winners of all categories, and especially to John and David from Debt Free Guys – winners of the Best Debt-Freedom Blog.

 Hosting DFF

On Saturday night, we hosted DFF, the debt-free friend who, in the spring of 2012 came over to drop off a copy of Ramsey’s book-CD The Total Money Makeover. If she hadn’t taken that initiative, I honestly believe we’d still be deep in the red at this point – 6 1/2  years later. She’s been cheering us through our journey out of debt ever since we took off from the starting line in June of 2012, inspired by Ramsey’s book. I believe she’s read every single blog post I’ve written along the way.

“So how does it feel?” she asked.

“It hasn’t really sunk in,” we said.

DFF said she thought that it would hit us in the weeks to come as we experienced the absence of financial obligations.

  • No mortgage payment.
  • Non-existent credit card balance.
  • Absence of car loan.
  • Business line of credit? Nope.
  • No interest of any kind on any debt.

I know it’s true, but it’s only head knowledge right now. At one point in our conversation, DH was talking about a set of faucets at Costco that he’s thinking of buying. “But they’re $99,” he said, “so we’ll have to wait a bit.” We’ve averaged a monthly debt re-payment of over $3,000 for more than 6 years, and now that we’re free of it, we’re being cautious about a purchase of $99?! Actually, I think that’s a good thing – but it just shows that our brains have some adapting to do.

For women and allies

I’ve had trouble writing this post because rationally, I think it should be all “Wooo-hoo! We’re debt-free!” For one thing, it’s still registering. I have no doubt the “Wooo-hoo!” will happen. For another thing, the Blasey Ford / Kavanaugh testimonies are still very much on my mind.

If you are a woman who has experienced the surfacing of raw outrage with the Kavanaugh hearing, please accept my virtual hug. Let’s not allow it to end in a rage or depression that feeds on itself. I believe we’re at a watershed moment – no matter what decision is made with regards to the Supreme Court appointment. One in three women, someone told me. The force of this kind of tsunami will have an impact one way or another, and insofar as its legacy is in our hands, let’s work it through constructively and in power.

And if you are a man who recognizes the imbalance and who won’t stand by to watch it unfold in his own circle of influence, thank you. What a difference you make!

Since starting our journey out of debt in 2012, I’ve thought that in some way, I’d like to encourage, challenge, and mentor women in developing their  financial health once my own becomes strong. Maybe this is all a confirmation of that path. Time will tell.


Did the hearings have an impact on you last week? What questions are you left with? Did you attend FinCon? Your comments are welcome.


 

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24 CommentsLeave a comment

  • What a mix of events! First, congrats on the official debt-free moment and your barefoot walk. I’m sure it will take time to sink in. While not debt-free (still got the mortgage going), I am finding that having paid off our car loan and other debt, our ability to save has suddenly gotten much easier. Second, congrats on the Plutus nom. I wasn’t able to attend FinCon this year but I’m sure it was amazing based on all the tweets and posts. As for the Kavanaugh hearing, I’m not sure I can put words to my feelings. At times like these, I am embarrassed to be an older white male. I believe Dr. Blasey Ford and I was astonished at the behavior and testimony of Judge Kavanaugh. I hope the FBI investigation is able to do some good, although I fear that it will not make a difference with the already closed minds in the majority of the Senate.

    • Thanks for your comment, Gary. I think that no matter which way the decision goes, a cultural shift will happen – and my hope is that it will be for the good of women (which will, of course, be for the good of men too). I kind of respect the “embarrassment” you mention, but I hope it doesn’t bring you down. If it’s a matter of feeling humble, that’s a good thing, and the flip side of humility is confidence – which is necessary for a man who steps up and confronts.

  • I think being debt-free sank in when I started having extra money in my account at the end of the month… where did it all come from??
    I was able to REALLY ramp up my investing – and go to the UK and Europe. 🙂
    Congratulations. It’s a big achievement.

    • Oh, that easy ability to travel sounds very nice. Looking forward to it! Thank you for your comment, Frogdancer Jones 🙂

  • First of all, huge congratulations!!! Second, I told my mom that one thing that will come from this circus freakshow called politics is that women are really stepping up and not backing down. GOOD! I don’t know if this is in that picture, but I’ve gotten, “you should smile more,” “you should wear more skirts” (and this was from a supervisor in my first job in the early 90s), and “you should wear your hair down more.” Another colleague embarrassed me in front of a whole camera crew when I said we should wrap things up, he replied condescendingly, “welcome to production, sweetheart!” And yes, “don’t be so sensitive.” is one that really makes my skin crawl.

    • My skin crawled just reading those comments – especially “Smile more” and “Don’t be so sensitive.” I’ve heard those before too. I believe you are right in what you said to your mom. Thank you, Tonya!

  • Congrats again Ruth! Major accomplishment!! 🙂
    The hearings, ugh, I am just so disgusted. It is 2018, for crying out loud, and this is where we are as a society? I am saddened…

    • I don’t think that most of us are there as a society, but clearly a significant force is. Like you, I am saddened. It’s up to us to step up – and I believe we will. Thank you, Mackenzie 🙂

  • Finally the shoeless picture. Congratulations! Perhaps the bank knew you were making your final payment and didn’t want to lose you as their customer lol. What did you do to celebrate your achievement?

    Regarding all the sex scandals in the U.S. (and Canada), the Bible does state “your sins will find you out” and that is happening in spades in this day and age.

    • I never would have believed it after such a prolonged era of impunity for sex offenders. Thanks for that insight into why the bank’s online system shut down, Nancy. Now we know! As for what we did to celebrate, stay tuned 🙂

  • CONGRATULATIONS!! You clinched!! You had an amazing journey to debt freedom, plot twists included, that gave you that epic ending!

    I hope that long desired barefoot walk on the grass is just the beginning of your well deserved celebration signaling the beginning of a payment free life!!

    • Thank you, Linda. I believe the celebration will unfold gradually as we absorb our new reality. Still in shell-shock!

    • Thank you, Brian. I’m feeling a bit snubbed by Dave 🙁 I’ll try again. Maybe it wasn’t enough to say, “We’ll be debt-free in September” 3 months in advance. Now, we can really say, “We’re debt-free.” I’ll keep you posted!

  • I was really rooting for you during the Plutus Awards but was exceptionally happy you hit your debt free date.

    At the same time, yes, I had SO many feelings about the situation with the Kavanaugh hearings and the kind of contempt for women that our elected representatives hold toward us. Given all the commotion, I can see that we’re still in this for the long haul. So many people, men and women, are trying just as hard to excuse assault and abuse as the rest of us are fighting for justice, I think we’ll be fighting unto the next generation’s next generation. It’s quite tough to know this and feel this right now and know it’s not going to get better any time soon. It’s particularly galling to see mothers on video telling us that she doesn’t think that groping and molestation is a problem, and looking at her teen daughters for agreement. It’d be galling to see from any parent, but that’s a specific example that floored me. I want a better world for all our kids, it’s just … farther away than it should be.

    • Revanche, it means a lot to me to know you were rooting for me. Thank you! I am dismayed at the attitudes out there that seem to come from an era I thought we’d grown out of. Trump’s comments in Mississippi and the crowds’ laughing, cheering response were for me a real low point. I suppose that level of contempt was always there. I just didn’t know it.

  • Congratulations! Thanks for sharing your journey and all your encouragement you bring to me and others working to reduce debt. I look forward to reading about living debt-free.

    • Stephen, if you have found encouragement for your debt-reduction efforts by reading this blog, I’m thrilled! Thank you 🙂
      (You won’t be reading about debt-free living here though. I’m getting ready to say farewell.)

  • Congratulations Ruth and DH! We may not always agree on everything, but on this I’ll bet we do ~ GOD IS GREAT!!! Enjoy those debt-free blessings! What a journey it’s been. Thanks for inviting us along for the ride! 🙂 🙂 🙂

    • Thank you, Kay. I can only guess that what we don’t agree upon is the Kavanaugh issue. Let me just say 2 things. 1. Men who are wrongly charged with sexual assault are indeed victims. It’s a terrible injustice when that happens. It’s also a terrible injustice when men assault with impunity. This is a far more prevalent injustice. 2. This case has brought to light the disturbing and dark under-belly of right wing views of women and of male-female interactions. Not everyone on the right holds these views, but those who do have been very loud. There. I don’t know if that bridges the gap for where we disagree. Does it?

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