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Leslie HarvathLeslie Harvath
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One of our “No Regret Decisions” was to have our house paid off by the time our daughter entered high school (made when she was 1 year old). Prior to that, our 1st NRD was to consciously buy a no-frills house (older, smaller square footage) in good shape/in a family neighborhood that had held its value fairly well since built in the 50s. When going to friends’ homes, I used to struggle with a twinge of house envy until I thought of what their mortgage pymt was vs. ours. Using an amortization calculator to figure out the extra principle pymt needed, we ‘leaned out’ & stayed the course apart from a few times here and there when we had higher expenses than our ER savings could cover. We didn’t make our goal (our daughter started her sophomore year today), but we’ll have paid it off by this December–1 year & 4 months later than planned–but we’d never be here had it not been for making a plan in 2006. We’ve never had to compromise on the big decisions (eg living on a single income so I could stay home to homeschool), and we got to see the faithfulness of God through the very lean times (high house maintenance (50s homes need lots of TLC), unexpected car replacement, higher-than-expected educational costs, orthodontia intervention, etc.). We’ve never regretted the decision.

Step 1: pray for God’s plan for your financial circumstances; pray for wisdom & do the work to figure out how to implement it (including leaning out) and then be faithful. Sounds easy. It isn’t. It IS, however, simple. Your faith will grow. The time will pass whether you are faithful or not. It is not about being perfect: it’s about trusting, listening, and following. Regret is optional. (Boy, I’m preaching to myself! I needed to hear this today for a whole other area in my life.)

Robert & Sean, our next step is a combination of your paths: find some decent land in the Midwest on which to build a house & retire. We’re praying and planning even now though retirement isn’t planned for at least 9 years. Hint, hint: any advice is welcome!

p.s. None of this would have been possible without my contributing toward our retirement by managing our retirement savings in LI. Another thanks to you, Sean!