As of today I am 100% debt free (legally)

Becoming debt free has been a goal I’ve been focused on a very long time. When I flip through my old journals I actually see it becoming a recurring theme…even when it’s a (relatively) cute amount such as $500 back in the good ol days when I was 20. Having just become debt free though I didn’t feel all that big of a change, I figure there are likely two reasons for this.

  1. While I am legally debt free I am not morally debt free, Janelle assumed a bit of my debt when we got together and now we both have to work together to pay that off as quickly as possible.

2. It’s really just a number that changed in a database and I’ve learned not to be so stressed about it.

I also feel a little bit numb as I am in Alberta which is going through another huge bust right now, headlines like this seem to be becoming the norm:

Suicide rate in Alberta climbs 30% in wake of mass oilpatch layoffs

I truly think the minimalism path I am on is such a great tool that could be applied to so many people, with proper budgeting and priority you can take huge strides to make yourself recession proof which I think is the ultimate goal we should all strive to reach. I’m going to quote Marge Simpson here….

Homer, when a man’s biggest dreams include seconds on dessert, occasional snuggling and sleeping in til noon on weekends, no one man can destroy them.

That’s one smart lady…..Now I might expand on that just a wee bit…to perhaps include a warm bed…and a nice safe roof over your head…maybe a garden or a view of a sunset…but it’s really semantics…..Marge really nailed the correct sentiment here. If we can all teach ourselves to be truly happy with enough then we are all that much better off.

To be seriously considering killing yourself when over something like money when you have a full belly and a warm bed should be unheard of. That being said I realize that your finances can be hugely stressful and that many people define themselves by their job + materials…… LET’S FIX THAT! 🙂

One question that constantly irks me is “what do you do for a living?” in most circumstances the questioner really just wants to ask “What is your soci-economic level in comparison to moi?”. I’ve been trying to coach people to change the format of the question to “What really interests you?” or even “What are your passions in life?”…I suggest everyone try that sometime in the next month…it can be truly inspiring the answers you get.

I think there are two main ways us as a society could help prevent this kind of extreme stress (suicide being the ultimate express of stress but let’s not forget that we can all benefit from less stress in life)

  1. You are more than your job, you are a strong wonderful person who is capable of doing so much more than paying bills.
  2. Have less stuff and obligation, there will be up’s and down’s but if you can always live at a basic enjoyable level then you are in a much better position to ride out the inevitable storms (many of which are beyond your control)

Objectively Janelle and I are making quite a bit less than we did a few years ago when we had to strong incomes but I’ll guarantee you we are in a better place and headspace now.. We’ve moved to a smaller cozier place walking distance from Janelle’s new job in a field she’s actually interested in. While I’m still working in CubeTown, Alberta I’ve really developed a huge amount of passions outside my work that get me excited to see progress.

I wanted to post some links (in no particular order) to a handful of blog/books/sites/whatever that have really helped me put my financial desires and future into perspective, I think any and all of them should be required reading at any stage of your life;

Mr. Money Mustache — Early Retirement through Badassity

The Wealthy Barber – a good read just for it’s bit on insurance

Smoke and Mirrors: Financial Myths That Will Ruin Your Retirement Dreams

Ernie Zelinski, just about anything by this fellow Edmontonian

How to Retire the Cheapskate Way: The Ultimate Cheapskate’s Guide to a Better, Earlier, Happier Retirement

How to be Idle, a Loafers Manifesto

Also…during this Holiday season I realize a lot of people open up their wallets and help out those far less fortunate, I had the pleasure of dropping off $500 cash I had raised recently to the Edmonton foodbank. Let’s not all forget that hunger and real poverty doesn’t disappear when the Christmas lights come down…people need help all year round.


I may not mention this enough but I host monthly minimalist meetings here in Edmonton…feel free to stop on by and say hello sometime…



Comments (5)

  1. Jocelyn

    Congratulations! Love your perspectives..very easy to say..but another thing entirely to implement in to every day life, so good on you. We do tend to get caught up in the “rat race”..especially maybe this time of year or in other conventional “Life Events”. I always loved Marg Simpson..she is a smart lady. LOL

    1. Justin Dechaine (Post author)

      She also puts up with a decent guy but someone who is a bit of an oaf, reminds me of you and Janelle. 🙂

  2. Dena

    Great Read!! What a wonderful feeling to be debt free!!

  3. Jorg Schlagheck

    Enjoyed the read, Justin. Congratulations on becoming debt free and your perspective. I also made a list of books to read and those titles you list are on it. Currently I’m researching the subject of fiat money and money in general. I’ve discovered that it is really a huge pyramid scam, giving the large banks way too much power in society. I’m hoping to publish my first ebook on that subject in the new year, leading to a real book eventually.

    1. Justin Dechaine (Post author)

      It’s crazy how so few of us really understand money or the financial system but how we let it affect us in such profound ways.


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