This video was posted in March 2017. They were very blasé about their financial obligations, fully confessing where it all came from. It roughly breaks down as follows (I think I have all the number right):
- Debt #1: $542,000 mortgage (they wanted to live in a neighborhood with good schools since one of their children is in public school; the other is still a baby)
- Debts #2, 3: Student loans: $418,000 (Hers, $220,000; His, $198,000) (they’re both attorneys)
- Debt #4: Car loan $14,000 (they wanted a safe car with advanced features)
- Debt #5: 401(k) loan: $13,000
- Debt #6: HVAC loan: $9,000 (home improvement)
- Debt #7: New windows: $12,000 (home improvement)
If the numbers are right, that puts them $1,008,000 in debt.
This couple does a good job (in their eyes) of justifying their spending, and I congratulate them for getting serious about paying it down; but I can’t help but wonder why they saw fit to incur it to begin with. Sure, they’re high earners; but they’re clearly big spenders as well. Is it worthwhile to use your entire adult productive years fixing mistakes you made before you’re 30? That’s insane.
They put out a follow-up video this month discussing the progress they’ve made in paying down their obligations: So far this year they have paid down $31,050 in non-mortgage debt. If you include their mortgage payments, they’ve paid down closer to $47,000, and they hope to hit $50,000 by the end of the year.
They seem like a nice young couple, clearly intelligent and well-spoken, both highly educated; so I find it disturbing they can discuss the crushing burden they bear with such composure and shrug-your-shoulders calmness. I wonder what lessons they’re teaching their children about money management?
However it takes a lot of courage to publicly admit this kind of debt load and a willingness to tackle it legally and ethically, so I'll give them credit for that. Another point in their favor is they have an impressive amount of money in their retirement account. Prudent saving is clearly important to them. I just wonder how much more they could put in their savings account if they weren’t spending all their discretionary income paying down their debt burdens?
And you know what seems like the height of irony? This couple also does videos on frugality and minimalism. I think I’m going to have to explore their YouTube channel a bit more closely. I don’t know anything about them except for these two debt videos, so maybe I’m judging them unfairly; but yowza, I can’t fathom being in their position and being so calm about it. How much different would their lives be if they had a lower mortgage, a cheaper car, and trade school degrees? (Just sayin’…)
Don and I have been in debt. (Still are, if you count our modest mortgage.) We hated every minute of it and do not – ever – want to be in that position again. We hope we’ve passed that on to our girls, who both look like they’ll be savers, not spenders.
I guess this is just a glimpse into how the other half lives. Me, I’m glad we live in this half.