To change your life, you need grit. Passion and perseverance for the long haul. Sticking to hard, hard goals for a long time feels impossible. For example, trying to imagine paying off $154,000 on a $32,000 income with one, then two, then three kids, felt impossible. The math simply didn’t work.
But the good thing is, winning with money is only a little bit about math. It’s really mostly about behavior, and your behavior is an outflow of your mindset. I believe I can do it. I believe it is possible. My belief that we can pay off all these student loans, my belief that life is better, and freer, and full of purpose for doing this, my belief that my kids will be much better off if we do this, has kept us trucking along this goal for more than 4 years.
Four years of no family vacations; four years of no home upgrades; four years of the same car, the same clothes, the same shoes, the same $80 weekly grocery budget. Now don’t get me wrong, we are VERY grateful for all of the wonderful things in our lives. Our family is incredible, we feel purpose in our work, and we have the best friends and community. There is no victim mentality here (I know who signed all those papers!) and as Teddy Roosevelt said, “If you could kick the behind of the person responsible for all your troubles in life, you wouldn’t sit for a month.”
Grit. Sticking to it for the long haul. Let me say it another way: Are we broke, or are we poor? I joke that we have been in self-imposed poverty for the last four years as we send literally everything we can to these student loans, but to say that we are in poverty is not true. We are not poor. Poor is a mindset. Did you know the IRS invented the poverty line in the 60s? That poverty line has become a mindset defining tenant for some people. I read recently that the ancient scripture, “the poor will always be with us…” that didn’t refer to people beneath today’s “Poverty Income Threshold.” In the understanding of the ancient Jews, the poor were the people who literally had no idea where their next meal was coming from – the homeless. So I want to ask you: Who told you, you were poor? We send all our money to Sallie Mae, so by the absence of our fancy vacations, new cars, new clothes, and subscription to everything edible, wearable, and play-with-able, we are poor. But that’s not true: We are broke because we believe we can pay off this mountain. Our financial mindset is that of wealth. We expect to be making a huge impact in our communities and to be rewarded appropriately for that impact. We expect to leave a legacy for our kids, so that’s how we are thinking right now. Our mindset is wealthy, so our behavior is “broke,” but we are not poor. We are broke- it’s not what we are, but a place we are passing through.
Believe you can do it. Hundreds of thousands of people before you have totally cleaned up their messes. Who have run away from the bankruptcy when they were on the brink. Who have healed broken marriages that were stronger than they ever were before. Who have paid off $30K as single mommas and single dads and their kids lifes are changed.
What is your mindset? Is it poor, or broke? Do you have grit? Get passionate about your goal, and cultivate perseverance. You’ll be unstoppable.