Mortgage-free, but keeping my sandals on.
DH = dear husband
“Let’s take a look at our mortgage,” DH said after the first week of September. We had made our very last payment of $1400, and I think we were hoping to see a lovely $0. DH scrolled down the page of our online account … and then back up again. “It’s gone,” he said.
I looked too, and there was no indication of a mortgage or its pay-off to be seen. There was a new line of text that said, “Take out a mortgage with us!” My guess is that it’s a promotion that the bank automatically inserts onto the pages of customers who don’t have a mortgage with them.
Wouldn’t you think that the bank would send out a little “Congratulations!” – or at least provide the satisfying visual of “$0.00”? According the Cheese_Baron, the bank doesn’t find mortgage pay-off a cause for celebration:
The mortgage company after seeing you don't owe them interest any more. pic.twitter.com/fITiSeOop6
— Tom Sunderland (@lardontom) September 8, 2018
… but not debt-free
Our $0 mortgage was SUPPOSED to be the big “Woooo-hoo!” But we blew it. We never used debt in the 6 years and 2 months – 74 months – of our journey out of debt between June 2012 and July 2018. But in August – month #75 of a total 76 – we got ahead of ourselves and ended up with a $3,800 line of credit 🙁
Moral of the story? If you’re trying to reverse decades-long habits of poor financial management, don’t let go of your vigilance once you’ve hit debt-freedom. You’re going to need the awareness and accountability that got you this far to stay out of debt and to build on the positive side of $0.
So although the grass in our backyard beckons, we’re keeping our sandals on. We’ll take our barefoot walk once that annoying line of credit is gone. As of now, it’s down to $2,500.
The impact of healthy finances when life sucks
Although transparency is a real blog-value of mine, there are limits to what I can disclose. All I’ll say is that something really crappy has happened, and for me it has involved the fog of shock, an incredulous outrage, and a frustrated powerlessness. It has nothing to do with finances.
Great things happen whether or not you’ve got your financial act together – and so do awful things. Does financial health make a difference when life takes a nose-dive?
I think it does. It offers a buffer to absorb some of the mess that – for me at least – comes with crisis. I get less competent and more wasteful at times like this. I get drawn to band-aid comforts – like take-out – and I want to provide them for anyone else who is impacted. Poor financial health just makes tough times colder and more stressful.
There. That’s it for this week. I believe that all will be well soon.
Was there a tough time when you noticed that financial health either helped or hindered you? If you ran a bank, what would you communicate to customers who had paid off their mortgage?