How I Became Debt Free

In the past 5 years I’ve paid off $60,000 in debt, moved from Boston, MA back to South Africa, bought my own property and entered a new phase of life as a suitcase entrepreneur. I’m currently living in Korea.

But before all that, there was this…

What will your life look like 12 months from now if you keep making the same financial decisions and doing the same things?

I asked myself this exact question 5 years ago.

I was $60,000 in debt, depressed, my credit was a mess, I hadn’t made a penny in over a year, I was living on friends’ and family’s generosity and secretly struggling with panic attacks.

I’d even stopped answering calls from numbers I didn’t recognize in case they were from a debt collector!

I was desperate. My answer to the question was scary – if I couldn’t change my finances I didn’t want my life!

That was my wakeup call to go on a financial journey of mega proportions…

 

The Five Steps I Took To Pay Off $60,000 in Debt and Become a Suitcase Entrepreneur

 

1. I started dealing with how I felt about money

Every time I saw my bank statements I’d have a panic attack and sink deeper into depression, which held me back financially.

So I started paying attention to how I felt about money. I studied behavioural finance thesis’, I researched emotions, I did yoga to keep calm and I taught myself how to be present in each moment.

But the second most important I taught myself how to be present with money and created daily meditations to help me with this

 

2. I asked for help

As soon as I made my decision to change my finances, I took online courses, started working with a life coach to help me release my fear and hatred of money. 

I also hired a financial adviser to help me with practical money matters, including starting an investment portfolio.

I even moved back home for emotional support.

 

3. I negotiated almost every debt I owed – including student loans

My credit was so bad that most of my debts, including Sallie Mae student loans, were with debt collection companies. 

I figured people would just be happy to finally get something from me, so I negotiated with everyone. 

Most creditors allowed me to pay half or even a quarter of my debt if I paid within a set time period.

I had to sacrifice lots of things along the way to make the deadlines, but it was worth it.

 

4. I paid off the smallest debt first

I focused on paying off the smallest debt first, as soon as I finished with that, I moved onto the next one and so on. 

The less debt I had, the less frustrated, angry and overwhelmed I felt, and the more motivated I was to keep focused on my goal.

 

5. I became very clear on my financial vision

The most important thing I did was become extremely clear about my vision and created an action plan and resource strategy on how I was going to make this vision a reality.

 

Let me know your thoughts in the comments section below.

 

If you're feeling stuck or struggling with your finances then I highly reading Heart, Mind & Money because I talk about all the ways we can deal with our emotions around money in there.