Last year I paid off my government debt. I now have more news.
Due to some good fortune, I stand before you entirely debt-free. No credit card debt, no line of credit debt, no Canada Revenue debt, no car loan debt … no debt whatsoever. And no, I didn’t win the lottery. I’d be in a very different frame of mind had that happened.
I’m pleased, but in a more detached way. I think there are two reasons. The first is that I’ve made stupid decisions and carried debt for so long that I’ve grown used to it. There’s no huge relief. The second is that I’m old enough now that I can’t just go and spend money on whatever I want. I don’t have the time to loosen my purse-strings much because I need to think about retirement. I don’t want to be poor in my old age. Because I’m going to do the responsible thing, my disposable income will not really change.
I didn’t think that I’d be lighting cigars with $100 bills, but I was expecting to feel a financial freedom that’s long been absent. The reason I don’t feel that way is because I’m old enough to know better. It reminds me of a line from the film Memphis Belle. After they drop their bombs and plot a course for home, the pilot tells his crew, “Okay men, we’ve done our duty for Uncle Sam … now we’re flying for ourselves.” Similarly, I’ve paid my debts and although I’m still paying, I’m now paying myself.
It’s not the feeling I expected, but it’s a good feeling anyway.