Being consumer-debt free: one year later

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A year ago, I finally became consumer-debt free, after being a slave to my monthly payments for close to 8 years.

I am happy to report that I have not incurred any new debt in the last 12 months. Although I am aware it may change in the future, for the time being, I am pleased with myself.

Getting into debt was, in retrospect, very easy. Getting out of debt was not. I definitely still feel like a weight has been lifted off my shoulders.

Being consumer-debt free also impacted my life in very positive ways: I switched to part-time work, decided to obtain an MBA and took off for 4 months in South-East Asia.

If I still had all this consumer-debt, I am not sure I would have been able to do all of the above.

Something else also happened shortly after making the last payment towards to my consumer-debt: retirement came front and center.

Although I am still relatively far from retiring, I started thinking more about it. How I want it to look like. How much money I need to save. Before, it was more of a blurry concept.

I knew it was something I had to figure-out, but I left it at that for many years. I saved and invested some money, but that was about it. Not anymore.

Overall, I definitely feel like I have more options since becoming consumer-debt free. In fact, it is more than just a feeling. I actually do have more options as well as the time and freedom to explore them.

Although I am consumer-debt free, I am not completely debt-free. I still carry a mortgage. For the time being, I am not in a hurry to burn it -unlike Sean Cooper-. Making additional payments is definitely a future goal though.

For the time being, I will enjoy this fleeting moment of hopefulness….

Book review: Burn your mortgage by Sean Cooper

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Please note I did not receive any compensation for reviewing this book.

As a personal finance aficionado, I always enjoy reading blogs and books on the subject. I decided to start reviewing what I read.

This post will talk about “Burn your mortgage” by Sean Cooper

Let’s start by briefly telling who Sean Cooper is. He is a pension analyst and freelance writer based in Toronto. Most of all, he is an expert at personal branding and self-marketing.

A couple of years ago (2015), he made the last payment on a mortgage he had taken 3 years before.  Cooper managed to grab the attention of a few medias in North America and one in England, after massive campaigns on social medias. He, of course, also caused quite a commotion in the Personal Finance blogosphere.

Since then, he has been surfing the (media) wave and cashing in by writing the above-mentioned book. He also provides fee-only financial advice, without being a CFP® or having any formal qualifications in Finance, at least according his LinkedIn profile and Google search.

his book should have been titled “getting ready for your mortgage” instead

It really is all there is to it, quite frankly. Chapters after chapters of very basic, rehashed financial advice such as how to budget, use a credit card, save for a down-payment, packing your lunch and use public transit whenever possible….!

Some of the advice presented is actually not that great, such as making a free-subject offer on a property. This could end-up being very costly, if things don’t go as planned. Also, being “pre-approved” for a mortgage does not mean being “fully approved”.

there is only one chapter on how to actually “burn your mortgage”

To save you time and money, it all boils down to:

  • Making accelerated payments
  • Using prepayment privileges to the maximum
  • Taking a shorter amortization period
  • Refinancing if interest rates are too high
  • Becoming a landlord if possible

Boom!

final verdict: pass

Don’t waste your money on this book. If your knowledge of Personal Finance is intermediate or advanced, you won’t learn anything new.

If you are a total beginner, you can find all the information presented in the book online for free, including on this blog.

I personally found this book to be very boring. A definite pass!