An interesting question was left on my blog recently, and for the past few weeks I’ve really been thinking about how to answer it. Because the truth is, sometimes it’s hard to tell.
When you make a decision that was right for you *at that time*, it’s hard to then regret it later just because new information is available and/or situations changed. Especially when big ones are involved like slashing debt that can take years, if not decades, to really come full circle.
With income slowing (hopefully temporarily) do you regret the 2Ks into the mortgage vs having it in your liquid or stock account?
For any of you who’ve been around the past couple of years, you’ll know I was hell bent on paying down our mortgage every second I could by throwing at least $2,000 *extra* towards it a month. I had an epiphany that once you have no mortgages left, you’re pretty much living there scott-free (minus property tax and maintenance, etc, etc), and then I wouldn’t have to work so hard/bring in more money since I’d have essentially wiped away $1,800 in mortgage payments going forward. A closer step to “financial freedom,” if you will.
Well, this “mortgage killer plan” lasted about 18 months or so at full throttle – knocking away a good $35,000+ during that time – where it then came to a screeching halt once priorities and finances started changing. Like wanting to finally move somewhere new and OUT of that house we no longer loved, as well as business income not being so hot anymore too (as well as new baby costs, change of employment w/ my wife, etc etc).
Now here we are, almost 2 years from the day I first posted about this plan, and the question of regretting it is now up for consideration… And what a whopper of a question it is! After reflecting on it for a while though, I think I now have an answer:
No. I do not regret it. I would have done things differently knowing what I know now if given the chance (wouldn’t we all love that luxury?), but at the time it was definitely the right move for us and our situation. We had an excess of cash coming in every month, our emergency fund was nice and plump at $70,000’ish, and we were maxing out our retirement accounts as much as possible. So the next logical step for us was to start paying down that nasty underwater mortgage we had, especially while my new found excitement for financial freedom started creeping up more and more as time went on.
(If it isn’t apparent yet, I live my life/finances more emotionally than many do, and thus whatever I’m “in the mood” to do/work on, the more I usually accomplish by following it :))
So no, I don’t regret it, but if I could transport back in time I probably would have just banked it all and went on my merry way. Considering that’s our main dilemma at this point in the game (or rather, I should say cash flow). But we don’t have the luxury of fortune telling usually, so we do our best with what we have at the time, and then go about our business hoping we made the best choices. If I started regretting every little thing I did (or, every BIG thing even) I highly doubt you’d enjoy reading this blog anymore ;) And I’d probably have had a few heart attacks by now too!
Anyways, I hope that helps some of you out there who may be in similar situations yourselves. While it’s nice to think about the “what ifs” and going back in time to change things, it’s best to just suck out those lessons learned real fast and then high-tail it right outta there. None of us are invincible from making bad decisions no matter who we are – even finance bloggers.
I bet if you were to ask me this 10+ years from now when I’m nice and retired too, I’d smile and nod and say it was one of the best decisions I’ve made yet ;) Some decisions need more time to play out, and there’s worse things to apply $35,000 to than a chunk of your debt!