Frankly My Dear I Don’t Give a Damn

I recently read a story from a fellow blogger Eyes on the Dollar  She shared her personal story on she paid back her credit card debt through an interview on yahoo finance.  After the article in the comments section she received a lot of negative comments, enough so that she wrote an blog post about just that.  In summary Eyes on the Dollar was able to pay off 30K in less than 2 years; she took a lot of criticism for what I could only see as she made a good amount of money.  The criticism received was from people basically saying, “You make 200K, any person who could stand on two legs could do this”  I started to think about the statement they were making and to me it said they were not impressed with debt repayment if you made a bunch of money.

So then what is “really impressive” when paying off debt?  I ran some general numbers about eyes eyesonthedollar debt payoff.  I said she made 200K and paid off 30K in 2 years, which comes out to 7.5% of her income per year, is that “really impressive” from the comments they did not seem to be too impressed.    What would have been more impressive?  If she would have paid off 60K each year for a total of 120K in 2 years would that have been impressive with 30% of her pay?  Is 120K or 60% of your salary impressive?  Does any of it make a difference is the fact that she makes 200K immediately put her in the “anyone can do that” with that salary category?

This made me think even more, how much money did she have available to pay on her debt?  Did she pay 40% of her salary on the mortgage?  Does she have a cable and cell phone bill that trumps most peoples car payment?  Speaking of cars maybe she owns a BMW and an Escalade, making those $700 payments?  Would that make her debt repayment more impressive or does the fact that she didn’t cut her cell phone and cable make it less impressive?

I began to think about how I have been paying off debt.  I paid off one of my student loans in less than 7-8 months at a little over 9K, I only had one focus, Axe the Debt like Ragnar.  It didn’t matter if I was making 100K or 50K, I paid off that student loan, I made a goal and I reached it.  I didn’t care if a commenter said yeah but you make 200K anyone could do that.  No sir or madam I worked hard for it.  I went to college, started at entry level job, always stayed late and worked over time, started an eBay business, used my bonus and tax refund check (not buy a big screen TV) and did all this so I could pay off my student loan debt, quite frankly “I don’t give a damn, what you have to say” I did it.

What would be “really impressive”?  To me what is really impressive is someone who paid off their debt, someone who worked hard, made sacrifices, they can make 30K or 300K, what really makes a difference is “they paid off the debt”.  Next time you see a blogger out there who paid off a student loan or credit card, congratulate them, give them a “air high five” and if you receive a comment from someone who wants to criticize you for paying off debt, please tell them “Frankly my dear I don’t give a damn”.

28 Responses to “Frankly My Dear I Don’t Give a Damn

  • I think a lot of folks think they’d be wealthy and have no financial problems if they made $200k, so they didn’t empathize with the blogger. Unfortunately, when the source of debt challenges is the inability to make choices to live within one’s means, then income is irrelevant. People in this category are always going to be debt challenged, no matter how much money they earn, until they embrace the most fundamental rule of personal finance: spend less than you earn.
    Kurt @ Money Counselor recently posted…Investor Sheep to Slaughter Again?My Profile

    • EvenStevenMoney
      3 years ago

      Spend less than you earn, good advice no matter how you say it. Yeah you just have to figure if you are paying off debt you are spending less than you earn.

  • People don’t seem to understand that how much money you make is irrelevant to your ability to pay off debt. I mean it helps, but if you don’t dedicate yourself into a habit of saving, making $200k won’t help you.

    There are people that make $200k and more and are not able to pay off less debt than she paid. That’s because they just want to spend, spend, spend and not focus on save, save, save. I’m impressed with any amount of debt that you’re able to pay off, regardless of your income. The point is that you took steps to be debt free.
    Aldo @ MDN recently posted…The Friday FiveMy Profile

    • EvenStevenMoney
      3 years ago

      Couldn’t agree more, the point is they took steps to be debt free!

  • Ha… good timing after my own post from yesterday. I need to go check out the article from Kim. Good points you make, and it’s exactly for this reason that I found myself getting a bit defensive in my post.

    We’ve paid $120K in 2 years but not with $200K+ in income, more like $150K. We’ve still got 4 years at this rate until we are debt free + 1 more to save $70K for house renovations so we can downsize. Currently have $253K of debt. Then I’m hoping we will be at financial independence. We will need to determine at that point how much we have in excess of $1m in assets and will it be enough. It’s entirely possible I will not be able to retire until 65, but I’m hoping for 60.
    debs@debtdebs recently posted…Debt DeliberationsMy Profile

    • EvenStevenMoney
      3 years ago

      There are so many smart and intelligent bloggers out there that chances are they are going to lead you into the right direction. The comments that get from the general public are usually a little more harsh since they have not gone through any debt repayment, a lot of victim talk and jealousy pop up from what I have read in the past, certainly the reason for this post!:)

  • I think it’s hilarious that everyone seemed to think I made $200,000. While we do have a good income, we never made that much, and lots of what we did make when to paying off the loan on my optometry practice that wasn’t even included in any of the debt amounts. The article was about our credit card debt only. After you take out what we put back into the business, my husband and I made around $100K per year combined, so while this is a great income for where we live, I am not the stinking rich person everyone assumed I was.

    That being said, just like you wrote, what difference does it make? When you spend more than you earn every month, it’s hard to turn that around. I agree it’s easier if you make more money, but it was the hardest two years of our married life, but I’m so thankful for those years because they have allowed me to see what’s possible. A few years ago comments like that would have probably made me cry and really get upset. Now I laugh because I have found the secret, and the secret is always living well below your means. Once you do that all the rest falls into place!

    • EvenStevenMoney
      3 years ago

      Thanks for stopping by Kim! I barely got past the ugly comments that they posted without being a little upset, thanks for clearing up the salary amount. I think life gets a little easier and a little more relaxed when you figure out that “secret” live below your means. It certainly took me awhile;)

      • I think a lot of those comments were probably made out of anger. Anger at being in debt themselves. And anger about being poor. Fact of the matter is, IF Kim had made $200k a year, it would have been a hell of a lot easier to pay off that debt than someone who made $60k a year. (Which a lot of even dual-income American households do.) When you’re poorer you incur a lot more debt not for buying handbags (not against you, Kim, I don’t even know if any of your debt was from buying handbags :p) but from trying to live daily life: doctor’s appointments, health emergencies, even just putting food on the table.

        That does not justify people erroneously assuming how much she made. That does not justify people trying to bring her down even if she did make that much. But it does explain some of the anger and frustration that probably prompted those comments.

        For the record: I LOVE KIM and dislike the haters. You rocked it, and it was a lot of hard work.
        Femme Frugality recently posted…My Less Than Frugal ConfessionsMy Profile

        • EvenStevenMoney
          3 years ago

          It’s certainly tough to be in a debt filled situation and not want to lash out at someone, but I would rather have them use Kim as inspiration, like you mentioned at the end, “You rocked it, and it was a lot of hard work”.

  • I am writing about that situation too!

    I don’t understand why people are so hateful toward someone who has obviously tried so hard to get ahead. The fact that she earns a lot certainly helps, but there are plenty of people who earn a lot and literally blow every dollar they earn.
    Holly@ClubThrifty recently posted…Guilty Pleasures: What’s Your Budget Buster?My Profile

    • EvenStevenMoney
      3 years ago

      Agreed. NBA players make and lose millions in a short time period and don’t get much for angry comments on how they went bankrupt while making 5 million dollars, however pay off 30K making 200K or even 100K and all of the sudden life is being handed to you on a silver platter because anyone can do that! Society at it’s finest;)

  • In my experience, many people who comment on the major media outlet blogs are assholes. I’ve experienced their hostility personally. I just remember, I’m the one being featured on Yahoo and they’re the ones commenting.
    Stefanie @ The Broke and Beautiful Life recently posted…Save Money, Break Up Your Friends: The Cost of a Failed MarriageMy Profile

  • I totally salute the person who paid off their debt and live a debt free life. I just made a big decision yesterday, actually me and my hubs decided it, we just had a loan. We have a solid plan on how to pay our debts in the future months and hopefully we would pay it for 24 months.
    Hannah @ Wise Dollar recently posted…How to Make Retirement Planning EasierMy Profile

    • EvenStevenMoney
      3 years ago

      Living debt free is the way to go in my book!

  • Hey Even Steven, I read Kim’s post, and I write on Yahoo!. So I get to see the comments quite a bit. I don’t think impressive is something that really matters…well, unless we’re talking about being happy and impressed with yourself. I’m impressed with what Kim did, I don’t care how much money she made. I’m also pretty sure that if I wasn’t impressed with her and made it clear, she wouldn’t give a damn. Why? Because she knows she did something great and I shouldn’t be able to take that from her with a few words. So, Kudos Kim…Haters Hate…Makers make things happen…keep being a maker!
    Josh @ CNA recently posted…20 Random Facts About MeMy Profile

    • EvenStevenMoney
      3 years ago

      That’s the important part, she made it happen, definitely agree.

  • I think that in some cases, people write comments like that because they are jealous. They too want to get out of debt but decide to spend instead. They never get out of debt so when they read of someone who is able to, they get jealous and write something mean to make themselves feel better.

    But in most cases, I think people are just clueless when it comes to money. Just like the idea that if you make $250K a year you are “rich” and need to pay more in taxes.
    Jon @ Money Smart Guides recently posted…5 Ways To Save On Car InsuranceMy Profile

    • EvenStevenMoney
      3 years ago

      Yeah I’m sure a lot of the comments come from trying to make themselves feel better. It is proven over and over that the general public is not very good with money and that’s why we write personal finance blogs!

  • Great point about the hard work involved to earn a decent salary in the first place, to be able to pay off any of your debt! It’s obvious that Kim has worked super-hard over many years to be in the position she’s in today. Even for people earning over $150k, I’m sure life hasn’t been a stroll in the park to get there (and stay there!), even if it happens to make paying down some debt a little easier (which It still might not depending on your other spending / saving habits, which is the biggest factor!)
    Jason @ Islands of Investing recently posted…Incorporating the benefits of property into your share investment planMy Profile

  • It’s always impressive when someone changes their behavior to accomplish a goal. I don’t find it all that newsworthy though. Maybe that’s the difference.

    Yahoo once ran an article with a Tag Line of how a family saved $10K/year. I clicked on the article and found they did it by reducing their landscaping budget from $600/month to $300/month and ONLY took 2 vacations instead of 3.

    I don’t find that to be very newsworthy.
    Chattanooga Cheapster recently posted…Cheapster Nirvana: The Moto G and Republic WirelessMy Profile

    • EvenStevenMoney
      3 years ago

      That’s a great point, changing your behavior is pretty impressive. It’s funny how sometimes paying off debt and personal finance talk all comes down to changing your behavior.

  • It is a wonderful life if you don’t have to think about problems such as debts. It is really better if you are a debt free person. It is hard nowadays to have no debt but if you are saving money and working hard, you will be free from it.
    Marie @ Gen Y Finances recently posted…Craigslist Scams To Avoid Part 2My Profile

    • EvenStevenMoney
      3 years ago

      It’s recommended by 9 out of 10 personal finance bloggers to get out of debt NOW!

  • Scott W
    3 years ago

    “Great spirits have always encountered violent opposition from mediocre minds.” Einstein.

    Some people are inspired and motivated by other peoples success and some unfortunately are threatened because they feel it shines a light on their bad situation. They want to wrap themselves in a protective cloak of “it’s not my fault, I don’t get the breaks others get”.

    I think its great Kim paid off $30,000 and its too bad others have to attack.

    • EvenStevenMoney
      3 years ago

      Very well said Scott and Einsten. I know sometimes it gets hard to look at someone who is doing great when you are getting slammed every which way, but it’s certainly better to put on a positive spin than to be debbie downer.

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