Wants vs Needs Backlash

It seems my post on eliminating expenses out of my life has generated some really strong feedback.

I have gotten comments on the blog, e-mails sent directly to me, and pretty strong feedback from individuals I see weekly.

I have gotten statements like …

  • Joe, you have to live a little!
  • Way to go!
  • Why are you doing this?
  • You should also considering cutting …
  • This seems extreme
  • You should invest all of this extra money instead of paying down the mortgage.
  • You're crazy!

Why is it that all of the people who are suggesting that I am a little off of my rocker for doing this all have house payments?

Folks, I am not doing this to be normal.  If I wanted to be normal, I would still have car payments, student loan payments, credit card payments, furniture payments, and dog payments.  That is what normal is in America – I've lived that way (except for the financed puppy), and TRUST ME I like the debt free life better!

I CHOOSE to NOT be normal!!!  As I like to say when teaching my class – you can call me crazy, weird, a nerd, or anything else – just don't call me broke anymore!

Who's with me?


  1. Dean Lisenby on November 19, 2007 at 6:22 am

    Count me in! I don’t want to be normal…

  2. Casey Graham on November 19, 2007 at 7:23 am

    I get made fun of every Christmas because we don’t buy GREAT GIFTS FOR EVERYONE. The funny thing is that the people who make fun of us are BROKE! I am not against great expensive gifts but we only have so much money each year. We feel the pressure but we choose to fight it each year.

  3. Bo on November 19, 2007 at 9:07 am

    Joe, keep taking a stand against debt! Don’t let those critics get to you.

    And more than likely, the one’s that criticized you still have car payments, huge house payments, etc…IE debt!

    Keep fighting the good fight (and paying off the house) 🙂

  4. Garry on November 19, 2007 at 9:49 am

    Stay the course and know that your not on the crusade alone. If you need encouragement, just call or email. But I seriously doubt your really struggling with the nincumpoops out there making the comments ridiculing the ideology of paying off the mortgage. Your stronger and more wise than that!!! Love ya man!

  5. Karen on November 19, 2007 at 10:44 am

    You’re not the crazy one! Some of the “normal people” are just not as wise as you. We, as well, have been given the investing instead suggestion by a financial advisor. But we are on board to complete debt freedom and if we are called weird and crazy for doing it, then so be it!!

  6. Brad on November 19, 2007 at 11:48 am

    It’s like Dave Ramsey always says, “Live like no one else today, so that tomorrow you can live like no one else

  7. Alan B on November 19, 2007 at 1:11 pm

    We’re with you. There is no feeling like being debt free. How about some “Why Be Normal, Be Joe” bumper stickers?

  8. jsangl on November 19, 2007 at 1:12 pm

    Sangl says …

    THAT would be frightening! I think I would be part of the backlash then!


  9. pfodyssey on November 19, 2007 at 1:23 pm

    I can only speak for my own comment, so let’s clarify some things a bit:

    * I do have a mortgage – 15 years @ 4.75%
    * No other debt
    * I have enough cash to payoff my mortgage if I were inclined to do so
    * My cash is currently getting ~5.5% APY.
    * In my view, I will gladly borrow money from someone else if I can make a plus side return on it

    My suggestion was that you only reconsider / think through whether or not you are leveraging your money to your best advantage (if you hadn’t don so already). If you:

    * Can’t make a safe return that exceeds your loan amount
    * Are unwilling to go into debt in exchange for risking the money in equities / other investment opportunities for a potentially higher return
    * Have no other debt
    * Have maxed out your tax advantaged retirement options (401K, Roth, etc)
    * Have no better uses for your money

    then paying down your mortgage seems as good an option as any. At the end of the day, whatever makes you happy is what matters…my basic assumption was that that maximizing your money would be a primary goal for you.

  10. jsangl on November 19, 2007 at 1:41 pm

    Sangl says …

    PFOdyssey is absolutely correct – I can make more money by investing the money in tax-advantaged accounts, BUT I can’t touch the money until retirement.

    That is why I am ambitiously making my mortgage leave.

    Alan B. – I personally would backlash against a “Be like Joe” bumper sticker!!! FUNNY!

    Thanks for the kind words everyone!

  11. Rindy Walton on November 19, 2007 at 2:19 pm

    I’m with ya!! To the ones who say “live a little”, you can cut a lot and still live a lot! It’s all about being intentional with our money. No debt is so much freedom!!

  12. Julie Brown on November 19, 2007 at 5:06 pm

    Hey, I can’t wait to be in your shoes. We have already talked about attacking our mortgage as soon as everything else is in order. I don’t think it is as bad as it seems although even I would have to say that cutting cable is a little extreme LOL!! Keep making the extra payment, throw a large sum of your taxes at it, figure in pay raises and bonuses, sell your crochet creations (hey if the thing that ate Christmas can get $20?!?!?!), hold a garage sale (we made $450 and PAID OFF DEBT!), use book proceeds (have a feeling this will be a winner!), maybe you won’t have to cut as much as you think. By the way, I have been crocheting for Christmas – my nieces will each receive several handmade gifts this year which cost me much less than what I would have spent elsewhere.

  13. Moneymonk on November 20, 2007 at 9:47 am

    pfodessey left out risk. Having a paid off mortage is less risky than investing. You will more security with less debt

  14. Brad on November 20, 2007 at 10:20 am

    I agree with Moneymonk. By eliminating the mortgage you will have more security and more money for investing… or doing other things with, like golf, or travel, or whatever.

  15. pfodyssey on November 20, 2007 at 10:56 am

    Perhaps it did not come out clearly, but I very purposefully intended not to highlight the risk aspect of investments (thus my two bullets – one about “safe return” and the other about “risking” the money in equities.

    All of the options (including pouring your money into your mortgage) come with some type of risk Again, it ultimately comes down to which side you prefer to be on.

    I also found Sangl’s mention of not being able to touch the money until retirement interesting. While not entirely accurate (Roth IRAs should have some accessibility), it sounds like having immediate access is important to him…so be it.

    I don’t think there’s a right or wrong way here…just that you need to analyze it and then make a decision.

    Brad – paying off your mortgage does not automatically give you “more money” per se as the only real difference is the interest you would pay for the loan versus that which you could earn via other investments. Depending upon which scenario you believe, paying your mortgage may ultimately even take money out of your pocket as you could have made more elsewhere. It’s just one of many options you have available to utilize the money you already have.

    In any event, I really like the idea of being completely debt free. However, the 5.65% I’m making in my FDIC insured CD is a no brainer compared to the less than 4% rate (after tax considerations) that I pay on my mortgage.

    Positive carry: A strategy of holding two offsetting positions, one of which creates an incoming cashflow that is greater than the obligations of the other.

  16. David Walker on November 26, 2007 at 5:40 pm

    I am with you Joe! allthough Pfodyssey is correct, I know I can make %10 on my money, but there is just someting about paying off that dang mortgage that just seems right.

    but people sould understand their options and think about them! just like Pfodyssey said.

  17. Dan on November 27, 2007 at 6:58 am

    Thanks for the comment. I was giving you props and I linked to your site to let you defend yourself against the allegations that you are too extreme. I admire it but some don’t. If I didn’t, I wouldn’t have linked to you. In fairness, I’m still not as fed up as I would like yet and my wife is starting to turn bulldog on debt. So we all come around sooner or later. . . Thanks for what you are doing.

  18. Fred Neyhard on April 27, 2008 at 4:08 pm

    I have to agree with Joe…paying off my mortgage@5.25% /15 years will save me about $32,000 in interest payment. Even though that’s not money in my pocket right now it will free me up to make more investments later on. The way I’ve been doing it is to make that so called 13th payment(plus a bit more) it will cut the years down to about 7.5 yrs.

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