In January, we shared that we are on a debt-free journey for 2018. And then, as usual, there were crickets. We learned that the thought of not being a slave to a lender is a hard-fetched thought for many that we know, so we had to venture out to find our own mentors and success stories. Such a financial journey is more common than we knew and we couldn’t imaging it not being a goal for our family. We’re unapologetically the non-traditional type anyways, but we yearn to taste, soak-in, and live without debt. Just the thought alone confirms our actions towards this dream-in-process.
We must admit, as African-Americans, we were initially surprised to see how many of everyone else in the world is living and working here on the continent…Actually, our people don’t even attempt to visit Africa (the richest land on earth and where life began) and often think it’s a country with lots of sick children, no clean water, no electricity, and poverty. The ignorance is so unfortunate..but that’s a whole different topic. So then we engage in conversations and learn that there are many others, like us, who choose to live abroad for many reasons, but some do it in order to pay down debts and have housing provided through employers. We realize that we’d just been hanging with the wrong crowd and must admit that we haven’t always had the most profound acumen of financial management since we just weren’t taught or immersed in such. What does it matter that someone has a high salary if they aren’t using their money wisely or if they are still using unnecessary credit? Habits are what matter. We’ve learned this along the way (but don’t misinterpret: salary is still very important to us). However, we would have made better decisions in the past but we didn’t have the proper mentors until the last few years, so it’s still good timing as we have now broken that mold in our lineage. And, especially as parents, we wish to be the best example we can for our children as their own financial journeys started as soon as they were born. 2018 has been a great year thus far.
We always recommend people consider careers abroad, if they have interests in something new, for the many benefits that some employers provide: flights, housing or housing allowance, transportation, immigration processing, etc…especially if they have a few debts to pay off. And the more we engage, the more we realize that others have been doing it for a very long time. We are happy to now be a part of the bandwagon (with an added benefit of being away from the USA at this sensitive time). Because of the tax-free benefits (to include the Federal Foreign Earned Income Exclusion for those who live out of the USA for a certain number of days per year amongst other criteria), paying down debt is more doable for us now and we’ll be enjoying the true financial freedom we seek much sooner than we would have been in our former life of a mortgage, car loans, credit cards, and expensive daycare costs. We are most thankful for all we’ve learned over the last six months and how far we’ve come with planning and discipline. It has not been easy, but the outcome is worthwhile.
We are able to do more now that we have learned to be smart about how and where to spend…what to invest in (we, gulp, invested in Bitcoin and Ethereum this year), what to say no to, what are must-haves, and how to balance special just-live moments. It’s all about budgeting and planning. Many people can afford more than they think they can if they just adjust, review, outline, and strategize (regardless of salary as many people do it on a fixed income too). Even being here on the continent is humbling, yet it really brings to perspective how much we must shift our focus and mindset to break the generational trend of financial miseducation…