Before graduating to full adulthood, I was terrified to do my own taxes. I wouldn’t even consider the idea. In fact, I felt like there was no way I could understand the process and no way I could get it right. Essentially, I thought I would end up being audited and thrown in jail if I tried to do any such thing. Do not pass Go, do not collect $200. You screwed up your taxes and we’re throwing away the key. False. This was my thought process throughout my entire 20s. Then I hit 30, split up with my fiance, and was starting my life over in an empty apartment with 4 lawn chairs. That’s a story for another time. You can actually listen to it here. The point is that when I re-booted my life, I had to start from scratch and I didn’t have extra money to go pay someone else to do my taxes for me, like I had done in the past without a second thought. I had 4 lawn chairs to my name for god’s sake. I had to figure everything out on my own for the first time in my life. I did. And it was totally fine.
One of the hottest debates in the personal finance space is whether or not the value of one’s home should be considered in a net worth calculation. There are people deeply rooted in both camps. We happen to be in the “we count it!” camp. But are we the exception, or the rule?
It’s been 7 years since my little girl arrived into this world. Since that day, I have wanted to provide her with the very best life I could afford, while also making sure she had a secure future. I suppose that is what all parents wish for their children – a life better than the one they lived. I found myself a single parent for the better part of her first few years. Because of this, I worked extra hard to make sure she had what I thought she deserved. I didn’t want her to be the child who had to go without just because she didn’t have two parents at home. Hence, the first 7 years of her life went a little something like this.
That’s right. We’re unapologetically breaking bad. Breaking bad habits, that is. Of course we’re not slipping down a rabbit hole of dark, unlawful acts. What were you thinking? Sounds like someone watched one too many episodes of a certain show about blue drugs and an ex-chemistry teacher. ;) In all seriousness, when Mr. MMM and I were enthralled in the series, Breaking Bad, a few winters ago, we were also under contract to purchase a house we couldn’t afford. But that wasn’t all, we were also spending money without much thought to future ramifications. Finally, we hit a wall and had to redefine our expectations and behaviors. Much like Walter White, we broke bad.
Last week I was reading all about how Mr. and Mrs. Our Next Life paid off their mortgage! Kudos to them. When I read that I suddenly felt this sense of urgency. We, too, are focusing on paying off our mortgage. In our household, we really value living debt-free. And yes, we know we have the potential to make much more money if we would keep our mortgage and invest our extra cash instead of throwing it against an already low-rate mortgage. We also know that there is a potential for us to NOT make as much money by investing and NOT paying off our low-rate mortgage. And so, the debate continues. Should you invest extra money or pay off your mortgage? In case you’re wondering, Our Next Life also did a similar post about this very topic. Check it out here!