Welcome! My name is Gary and Thanks for visiting Debtfreeclimb!
I’m a typical 29-year-old living in Austin, Tx. I have a full-time job as a Business Analyst for a start-up company. My passions include Traveling, trying new things, meeting new people, and spend time with loved ones. My blog focuses on topics related to :
- Making Intentional Decisions
- Debt Freedom
- Adventures (Travel)
- Side Hustling
My Student Loan Journey
When I first started my journey I was overwhelmed. I went through my college years avoiding the fact that I was accumulating a ton of Student Loan Debt. I always had the “I will deal with it when the time comes” mindset. It was effortless to request $4k – $7k a semester for student loans. I didn’t make intentional decisions. I thought it was completely normal because many of my friends were doing the same thing.
When my sister helped me create a debt payoff plan before my first month was due, it hit me like a ton of bricks. Paying off over $50k in debt seemed like an impossible feat at the time. I had a $900 + rent payment, truck payment, gym membership, Internet/Cable bills to name a few of my expenses. My minimum Student Loan payments took up a sizable portion of my monthly income. It became apparent that I couldn’t afford it all. I needed to evaluate my situation and prioritize what was most important to me.
Once I took control of my situation I began to see significant progress. Becoming Debt Free meant that I had more control of my life. It meant I wouldn’t be forced to be in a bad situation because I had the debt to pay.
Fast forward to 2017 – I became debt free in April 2017 after 3 + years of climbing out of $55k + of Student Loan Debt. Becoming Debt Free was a huge accomplishment for me, and I learned so much about myself in the process. The post below details how I did it and what I learned in the process:
I’m Debt Free! How I paid off over $55k in Student Loan Debt in 3.5 years
Life after debt
In today’s day in age, it’s easy to follow what society tells us. Society tells us to go to college (then go to grad school) to get a great job with great pay. They say it’s okay to get $50k + in Student Loans. The loans will help you find the job that you will be working every day 9 to 5 until you are 65.
Once you finish school and land your day job, society doesn’t tell us to save 50% of your income. They say, now that we are established professionals, we need to buy new cars as a status symbol that “we made it.” Next, they say we need to move out of our 700 sq ft apt and buy a new house. A new house with four bedrooms needs to new furniture, new appliances, cookware too. If you can’t afford it all, it’s ok there is always financing options available to buy all the things you want now!
Falling into this lifestyle is easy. Just thinking about it now, the majority of my friends and family have this way of life. Most of them are hard working people that will follow the traditional path and work a 9 to 5 job until they are 60.
Nothing is wrong with that life. It’s just not the life that I want to choose for myself.
I want my life to be full of adventure and freedom to do what I want and when I want. I don’t want to stay in a 9 to 5 job I don’t love (with two weeks of vacation time per year). Also, I don’t want to continue to procrastinate on my goals because someone else keeps inserting their priorities in my life.
I want control of my future, to create a plan to escape the 9 to 5 life, and take action and follow through. I want to build a life where everything that I do is intentional and has a purpose.
Some of my goals for the next year (2019) are:
- Produce income (outside of my full-time job) to cover 25% of my monthly expenses
- Pay for my Wedding and earn a bunch of free travel
- Build a “Freedom” fund of 12 months expenses on top of my emergency fund
- Find three new marketable skills that I can use to create income outside my job
- Max out retirement vehicles (401k, Roth IRA, HSA)
- Maintain 50% + savings rate
Some of my 5-year goals are
- Own a rental property that produces passive income monthly
- $250k net worth
- Two years of expenses saved in cash
- Travel 8 weeks a year
- Plan mini-retirement (1-6 months off)
These goals will enable me to build a life in line with my values.
Why Read DebtFreeClimb?
While accumulating over $55k in Student Loan debt is something that I regret, I don’t regret everything I learned about myself in the process of paying it off. I learned that my life was full of unintentional decisions that kept me from improving. I didn’t create goals for myself, I was the king of procrastination, and most of all I was afraid to fail. These decisions kept me in a lower paying job that I was unhappy with for too long (which delayed my debt freedom).
My journey of paying off my debt in 3.5 years wasn’t easy. It started with a plan, and I made sacrifices along the way to meet the goal. Once I built momentum, I picked up strategies and found others that accomplished similar goals that accelerated my journey.
Through this blog, I want to take you from the being in debt without a plan to showing you the path I took to dig myself out of my debt situation.
Now I am just beginning my “life after debt” journey, and I want to take you along for the ride. I will document my journey with the end goal of
- Leaving my 9 to 5 job
- Having the freedom to set my schedule and work for myself
- Travel on my terms
- Be secure financially and on the path to financial independence
- Owning Rental Property
- Spending more time with Family and Friends
- No more fears or regrets
The climb begins now!
Some favorite posts worth checking out!
Simple Tips to Automate Your Finances
Best ways to pay off your student loan
4 Ways I was able to Save $ and Double my Student Loan Payments
Earn Side Income to Attack Debt
Trip Report: Italy and France on a Budget
Introduction to Travel Hacking
My First Used Car Buying Experience
Join me on the Debt Free Climb Journey today!
Be sure to like the Facebook Page and follow on Twitter! If you have any questions or comments – please email me at
Sign up below to get all the latest posts right to your mailbox. Plus my debt free guide PDF Free!
Millennial Money says
This Is great Gary! You have been crushing those students loans. Great use of 60% of your income. Are you also saving via 401k with your company too at least to be the match? Your interest rate is pretty low on those loans so you don’t want to miss out on the 401k potential. Just didn’t see it mentioned here. I look forward to following your journey.
Thanks Grant! Yes, I am currently invested in my Company Match in my 401k. Once I clear out my debt I will significantly increase the % of pretax money that goes into my retirement accounts :).
Thanks for Commenting!