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10 Lessons Joe Sangl Learned While Paying Off His House

A few months ago, I was able to pay off my house. It took us 71 months from the day we purchased this home to pay it off.

We learned a lot along the way – some of it quite surprising to us. Hopefully, the lessons we were taught will help you in your quest to eliminate your home mortgage!

  1. It required laser-like focus.  Paying off our home required immense diligence. We did not just stumble upon this.
  2. We put off fun purchases.  We could have used the additional principal payment money to purchase a 4-wheeler (I really want one!) or upgrade our kitchen (my wife would love this!). We chose not to do this.
  3. Vision helped keep us on track.  We used the “Early Pay-Off Calculator” to see how additional principal payment money would speed us toward elimination of the mortgage. This provided vision of what really could happen!
  4. A goal motivated us.  Way back in December 2002, my bride and I set a goal to be mortgage debt free by January 2014. We did not know how that would happen or if it could even be possible. It was!
  5. Home repairs will compete with your focus on mortgage elimination.  As we focused on killing the mortgage, things in our house wore out. The paint on the exterior wood siding faded while we focused on mortgage pay-off. The dishwasher bottom was torn off by our toddler, the stove started “dinging” at random times, and the hot water heater stopped heating. If we had not completely eliminated the mortgage, the extra principal money would have been forced to be used on necessary repairs.
  6. My bride and I had to be on the same page.  I cannot imagine attempting to eliminate debt without my bride being 100-percent on board with it. There were times when I wanted to stop, and she was there to encourage me. At other times, she would want to slow down or quit. I would help remind her “why” we were doing this. I’m grateful for a bride who is an active participant in financial decisions – especially the major ones!
  7. It’s hard to stay focused when your house is going down in value.  Like many people, our home experienced a decrease in value. It can be very frustrating and demoralizing. However, these emotions do nothing to eliminate the debt obligation. This is when “put your nose to the grindstone” took on an entirely new meaning for us.
  8. Making it “visual” helped make it more fun.  We created a “Sangl Home Pay-Off Spectacular” (see one HERE). This allowed us to give a dollar value to each little square of our house. As we paid off a square, we were able to color in the square. It really helped us “see” the fact that we were making progress in eliminating this very large debt.
  9. Paying off your house will not eliminate all housing costs.  You will still be responsible for taxes and insurance. Repairs will be needed as well. We’re preparing for this by saving for these expenses every single month.
  10. This process makes you a better money manager.  This extended period of financial focus increased my financial prowess in ways I never expected. It extended my vision from “one month at a time” to “years into the future.” This has truly positioned us for an incredible financial future.

BONUS: Anyone can do this!  Having completed this process, I am more convinced than ever that ANYONE can do this. Yes, it will require encouragement and equipping, but it is indeed possible. It makes me more fired up to pursue the vision of I Was Broke. Now I’m Not. which is to help people accomplish far more than they ever thought possible!

Have you attempted to eliminate your mortgage? Maybe you already have? Share your lessons with us in the comment section!

Sangl Home Pay-Off Spectacular – February 2013 (“Paid Off House” Special Edition)

This is a special edition of the Sangl Home Pay-Off Spectacular. It is the “Paid Off House” edition!

As I announced on January 18th, we paid off our house!!!

We have been on this journey to debt freedom for 10 years and 1 month. It feels so good to hit this milestone. As we paid this thing off, we encountered so many challenges that could have easily derailed us. I took some time over the past few weeks to read the monthly “Sangl Home Pay-Off Spectaculars” I have written every single month since October 2007 (5.5 years worth!). It was amazing to reflect on the journey. Here are some key statements from those monthly updates that impacted me as I reviewed them:

  1. In my first update on October 8, 2007, I wrote, “So Jenn and I have shook hands and made an agreement that the house payments will be gone within four years.”  We missed it by 1 year and 4 months, and I’m okay with that!!!
  2. In November 2007, I wrote, “ARGH!!!! I HATE house payments!”  I still do.
  3. In December 2007, we took real action to improve our financial situation. We cut our cable to basic cable, and started taking our lunch to work. It created margin we could use to attack the house with.
  4. Beginning in 10/2007 and continuing for TWO YEARS, we paid off the external wall of our house. It took just over THREE years to own the rest!
  5. We had to slow down our payments because we encountered SUBSTANTIAL FINANCIAL CHALLENGES. We paid for MAJOR medical expenses, replaced our air conditioning units, made I Was Broke. Now I’m Not. an independent organization, and then ON TOP OF ALL THAT, found out on June 16, 2009 that we were expecting a miracle of a 2nd child. He showed up in February 2010 – without maternity insurance. I’ve encountered virtually every financial challenge possible. Don’t tell me you can’t do this!
  6. In June 2008, my wife became a full-time mom again. This was way more than a financial decision. I’m so glad we made it.
  7. In March 2011, I declared war on the mortgage. It is amazing what happens when you are diligent!
  8. In October 2011, I “called my shot” and said, “God-willing, we could even see our home mortgage eliminated by January 2013. And God willed it be so. I’m so PUMPED!!!  (and FIRED UP!!!!)

Here’s what I know to be true: When I set a HUGE GOAL and DILIGENTLY PURSUE IT, I am able to accomplish far more than I ever thought possible. It is why my life’s mission and passion statement is “to help people accomplish far more than they ever thought possible.”

I truly believe that most people have no idea of the power and potential they possess to change their life and the lives around them for better.

I. Am. So. Blessed.

Read ALL of the “Sangl Home Pay-Off Spectaculars”

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SPECIAL ANNOUNCEMENT: I Paid Off My House!!!

Every month there will be an update of Joe & Jenn’s Home Pay-Off Spectacular!

But there is MAJOR NEWSregarding this series: TODAY will be the last installment in this series because …

I PAID OFF MY HOUSE!!!

Way back in December 2002, my bride and I decided to change our financial life. We set a goal to pay off our house by January 2014. We were able to beat our goal by an entire year.

Because of that decision, we get to experience the JOY of paying off our house!

Here’s this month’s update!

Total Squares:  2,426

Paid-For Squares:  1,913  2,426

Squares Remaining:  513  0

% of House Owned By The Sangl’s:  78.9%  100.0%

% of House Owned By Wells Fargo:  21.1%  0%

Here is the updated Sangl Home Pay-Off Spectacular (click to view large size)

Just look at that! The entire house is completely filled in!!!

We’re experiencing a range of emotions:

  • Excitement!
  • Relief
  • An overwhelming sense of blessing

I’ve written this in nearly every “Sangl Home Pay-Off Spectacular,” but I want to say it again: YOU can do this too!

Start your own home pay-off spectacular using our free tool here => Pay Off Spectacular – House.

Read previous Sangl Home Pay-Off Spectacular Updates

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Sangl Home Pay-Off Spectacular – January 2013

Every month there will be an update of Joe & Jenn’s Home Pay-Off Spectacular!

Here’s this month’s update!

Total Squares:  2,426

Paid-For Squares:  1420  1913

Squares Remaining:  1006  513

% of House Owned By The Sangl’s:  58.5%  78.9%

% of House Owned By Wells Fargo:  41.5%  21.1%

Here is the updated Sangl Home Pay-Off Spectacular (click to view large size)

As I shared over the last two months, things were going to get really interesting around the Home Pay-Off Spectacular over these next few updates. We were able to color in 493 squares this month with a payment that was the equivalent of 55 monthly payments! Could we have used our savings for something other than paying down our mortgage balance? Yes, we could have. However, this has been one of biggest goals my bride and I ever established – and we set this goal way back in December 2002 when we experienced our IHHE Moment!

We are positioning ourselves to accomplish what once seemed impossible – paying off our house before the age of 40. Let’s see what next month holds!

YOU can do this too! Start your own home pay-off spectacular using our free tool here => Pay Off Spectacular – House.

Read previous Sangl Home Pay-Off Spectacular Updates

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Sangl Home Pay-Off Spectacular – December 2012

Every month there will be an update of Joe & Jenn’s Home Pay-Off Spectacular!

Here’s this month’s update!

Total Squares:  2,426

Paid-For Squares:  1329  1420

Squares Remaining:  1097 1006

% of House Owned By The Sangl’s:  54.8%  58.5%

% of House Owned By Wells Fargo:  45.2%  41.5%

Here is the updated Sangl Home Pay-Off Spectacular (click to view large size)

As I shared over the last two months, things were going to get really interesting around the Home Pay-Off Spectacular over these next few updates. We were able to color in 91 squares this month! We are positioning ourselves to accomplish what once seemed impossible – paying off our house before the age of 40. Let’s see what next month holds!

YOU can do this too! Start your own home pay-off spectacular using our free tool here => Pay Off Spectacular – House.

Read previous Sangl Home Pay-Off Spectacular Updates

Read recent posts

Sangl Home Pay-Off Spectacular – November 2012

Every month there will be an update of Joe & Jenn’s Home Pay-Off Spectacular!

Here’s this month’s update!

Total Squares:  2,426

Paid-For Squares:  1252  1329

Squares Remaining:  1174  1097

% of House Owned By The Sangl’s:  51.6%  54.8%

% of House Owned By Wells Fargo:  48.4%  45.2%

Here is the updated Sangl Home Pay-Off Spectacular (click to view large size)

I shared last month that things were going to get really interesting around the Home Pay-Off Spectacular over the next few updates. We were able to color in 77 squares this month! We are positioning ourselves to accomplish what once seemed impossible – paying off our house before the age of 40. Let’s see what next month holds!

YOU can do this too! Start your own home pay-off spectacular using our free tool here => Pay Off Spectacular – House.

Read previous Sangl Home Pay-Off Spectacular Updates

Read recent posts

Sangl Home Pay-Off Spectacular – October 2012

Every month there will be an update of Joe & Jenn’s Home Pay-Off Spectacular!

Here’s this month’s update!

Total Squares:  2,426

Paid-For Squares:  1231  1252

Squares Remaining:  1195  1174

% of House Owned By The Sangl’s:  50.8%  51.6%

% of House Owned By Wells Fargo:  49.2%  48.4%

Here is the updated Sangl Home Pay-Off Spectacular (click to view large size)

Another 21 squares this last month! We are positioning ourselves to accomplish what once seemed impossible – paying off our house before the age of 40. Things could get really interesting around the Home Pay-Off Spectacular over the next few updates …

YOU can do it too! I challenge you to start your own home pay-off spectacular using our free tool here => Pay Off Spectacular – House.

Read previous Sangl Home Pay-Off Spectacular Updates

Read recent posts

Sangl Home Pay-Off Spectacular – September 2012

Every month there will be an update of Joe & Jenn’s Home Pay-Off Spectacular!

Here’s this month’s update!

Total Squares:  2,426

Paid-For Squares:  1211   1231

Squares Remaining:  1215   1195

% of House Owned By The Sangl’s:  49.9% 50.8%

% of House Owned By Wells Fargo:  50.1%  49.2%

Here is the updated Sangl Home Pay-Off Spectacular (click to view large size)

Another 20 squares this last month! We now own more than HALF of our house. Even though we now own 50.8% of our home, it is interesting to look at our monthly payment and see that interest still accounts for 56.2% of our regular monthly payment. It FIRES ME UP even more to eliminate this mortgage!

YOU can do it too! I challenge you to start your own home pay-off spectacular using our free tool here => Pay Off Spectacular – House.

Read previous Sangl Home Pay-Off Spectacular Updates

Read recent posts

Sangl Home Pay-Off Spectacular – August 2012

Every month there will be an update of Joe & Jenn’s Home Pay-Off Spectacular!

Here’s this month’s update!

Total Squares:  2,426

Paid-For Squares:  1191   1211

Squares Remaining:  1235   1215

% of House Owned By The Sangl’s:  49.1% 49.9%

% of House Owned By Wells Fargo:  50.9%  50.1%

Here is the updated Sangl Home Pay-Off Spectacular (click to view large size)

Another 20 squares! We did not quite make it to owning half of our house this month – we ended up just two squares short. Next month, we will finally own over half of the house, and that pumps us up!

It took us many years to get to the point that we could really tackle our mortgage, and it is so exciting to see all of that EFFORT and FOCUS and DETERMINATION literally “pay off” as we pay off our house!

YOU can do it too! I challenge you to start your own home pay-off spectacular using our free tool here => Pay Off Spectacular – House.

Read previous Sangl Home Pay-Off Spectacular Updates

Read recent posts

Sangl Home Pay-Off Spectacular – July 2012

Every month there will be an update of Joe & Jenn’s Home Pay-Off Spectacular!

Here’s this month’s update!

Total Squares:  2,426

Paid-For Squares:  1170   1191

Squares Remaining:  1256   1235

% of House Owned By The Sangl’s:  48.2% 49.1%

% of House Owned By Wells Fargo:  51.8%  50.9%

Here is the updated Sangl Home Pay-Off Spectacular (click to view large size)

Another 21 squares!  I’m so FIRED UP!  In just ONE MORE MONTH, we will officially own over half of our house!  It is so very encouraging to see these squares being colored in.

Have you begun YOUR own house pay-off spectacular?

If you do not have one, you can get one here => Pay Off Spectacular – House.

Read previous Sangl Home Pay-Off Spectacular Updates

Read recent posts

Sangl Home Pay-Off Spectacular – June 2012

Every month there will be an update of Joe & Jenn’s Home Pay-Off Spectacular!

Here’s this month’s update!

Total Squares:  2,426

Paid-For Squares:  1150   1170

Squares Remaining:  1276   1256

% of House Owned By The Sangl’s:  47.4% 48.2%

% of House Owned By Wells Fargo:  52.6%  51.8%

Here is the updated Sangl Home Pay-Off Spectacular (click to view large size) Another 20 squares!  I’m so FIRED UP!  In two months, we will “officially” own over half of our house.

How are you doing on YOUR house pay-off spectacular?

If you do not have one, you can get one here => Pay Off Spectacular – House.

Read previous Sangl Home Pay-Off Spectacular Updates

Read recent posts

Sangl Home Pay-Off Spectacular – May 2012

Every month there will be an update of Joe & Jenn’s Home Pay-Off Spectacular!

Here’s this month’s update!

Total Squares:  2,426

Paid-For Squares:  1130   1150

Squares Remaining:  1296   1276

% of House Owned By The Sangl’s:  46.6% 47.4%

% of House Owned By Wells Fargo:  53.4%  52.6%

Here is the updated Sangl Home Pay-Off Spectacular (click to view large size)

We were able to color in another 20 squares this month!  That FIRES US UP!!!  Within the next three months we will “officially” own over 50-percent of the house.  That is an amazing day!  Even so, the interest component of our regular house payment still accounts for 60-percent of the overall payment!  Think about that for a minute – do YOU know how much of your payment is just going to pay the bank interest?  If you’ve just started out on a 30-year mortgage, chances are that it is 95-percent or more of your overall payment.  Just one more reason my bride and I are so hyper-focused on eliminating this note!

How are you doing on YOUR house pay-off spectacular?

If you do not have one, you can get one here => Pay Off Spectacular – House.

Read previous Sangl Home Pay-Off Spectacular Updates

Read recent posts

Sangl Home Pay-Off Spectacular – April 2012

Every month there will be an update of Joe & Jenn’s Home Pay-Off Spectacular!

Here’s this month’s update!

Total Squares:  2,426

Paid-For Squares:  1110  1130

Squares Remaining:  1316  1296

% of House Owned By The Sangl’s:  45.7% 46.6%

% of House Owned By Wells Fargo:  54.3%  53.4%

Here is the updated Sangl Home Pay-Off Spectacular (click to view large size)

This month marked a FULL YEAR of attacking our mortgage with massive principal reduction payments.  We’re blessed to be able to do this, and are excited about reaching the “tipping point” in just a few months when we own more of the house than Wells Fargo!

How are you doing on YOUR house pay-off spectacular?

If you do not have one, you can get one here => Pay Off Spectacular – House.

Read previous Sangl Home Pay-Off Spectacular Updates

Read recent posts

Sangl Home Pay-Off Spectacular – March 2012

Every month there will be an update of Joe & Jenn’s Home Pay-Off Spectacular!

Here’s this month’s update!

Total Squares:  2,426

Paid-For Squares:  1090  1110

Squares Remaining:  1336  1316

% of House Owned By The Sangl’s:  44.9% 45.7%

% of House Owned By Wells Fargo:  55.1%  54.3%

Here is the updated Sangl Home Pay-Off Spectacular (click to view large size)

For the 11th month in a row, Jenn and I were blessed to ATTACK OUR MORTGAGE with extra money toward the principal balance.  This month, we obtained ownership of a strip of our living room.  We see the end of our mortgage in sight.  While it is requiring us to sacrifice in the short term, we believe that it is so very worth it!  We’re FIRED UP!

How are you doing on YOUR house pay-off spectacular?

If you do not have one, you can get one here => Pay Off Spectacular – House.

Read previous Sangl Home Pay-Off Spectacular Updates

Sangl Home Pay-Off Spectacular – February 2012

Every month there will be an update of Joe & Jenn’s Home Pay-Off Spectacular!

Here’s this month’s update!

Total Squares:  2,426

Paid-For Squares:  1070  1090

Squares Remaining:  1356  1336

% of House Owned By The Sangl’s:  44.1% 44.9%

% of House Owned By Wells Fargo:  55.9% 55.1%

Here is the updated Sangl Home Pay-Off Spectacular (click to view large size)

Another HUGE CHUNK has been paid off!  It is so exciting to see the mortgage balance declining at such a rapid pace, and we are so blessed to be able to do this!  It has now been 10 months since we cranked up our focus on the mortgage.  In that time, we have been able to pay for 8.6% of the house – that is almost 1% per month.

Jenn and I don’t take this blessing for granted. We know that we have been blessed beyond anything we could ever ask or imagine!

How are you doing on YOUR house pay-off spectacular?

If you do not have one, you can get one here => Pay Off Spectacular – House.

Read previous Sangl Home Pay-Off Spectacular Updates

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