Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Debt Repayment High

Thanks to everyone who commented on my e-fund post the other day. I'm thinking it over and I'll probably talk more about it in July, after the student loan is paid off [WOO!]

And speaking of which....

I've been thinking a lot about the emotions we have (or rather, of course, I have) around money. The satisfaction at looking at my net worth rising every month, the mild depression when my tiny retirement account loses a few dollars on a bad stock market day.... These two examples are opposites of each other not only in that one is positive and one is negative, one is strong and one is mild, but also in that one is pretty rational and the other is irrational (the satisfaction comes from being pleased with my behavior, the depression for no good reason at all since I know market movement in small sample sizes is just noise). But they are equally "present" emotions.

The strongest emotion I've had in the last few months around money has cropped up when a paycheck's come in and I've been able to make a payment on my student loan, though. I really experience that -- logging into the website, entering the amount, hitting "submit" and then, a few days later, seeing the new, lower balance after the payment has been made -- as a kind of physical high. I get frustrated when a weekend intervenes and I have to wait two whole extra days to see the new balance; I want to jump up and down at various points in the process. It's actually fun.

There are two possibilities here:

1) There's something really really wrong with me

2) This is a pretty normal reaction to successfully doing something that's difficult and satisfying. There's a reason why people liken debt repayment to weight loss and running marathons!

While I'm not discounting #1 entirely <g>, I think #2 is more likely. As weird as it sounds, I think I'm going to actually miss making student loan payments. I still have to pay down a credit card after the loan is gone, so it's not like I'll never make a debt payment again. But I don't think that will be quite as satisfying. And after that...well, will having money automatically deducted from my paycheck for retirement give me that thrill?

I guess I could start losing weight.

Do you get debt repayment high? Or, if you're debt-free now, do you generate that feeling in other ways?


  1. I definitely get a high on seeing the balance decrease. It becomes a game of sorts, sometimes at the expense of other parts of my life (sometimes I cut it a little too close for comfort). If you're weird, then I guess I am too :)

    1. Oh yes -- as you saw on my EF post, I've been cutting everything too close in order to meet my goal of paying off the loan by the end of this contract. If paying interest didn't drive me absolutely around the bend, I probably could've taken it slower and steadier.... The gazelle intensity thing suits my personality, I think. I hope it converts to savings behavior though.

  2. I live for the debt repayment high! LOL It's easily transferred to the net worth tracking though, I do both. I get paid on a Fri and my payments come out same day and I log in on Sat to see the balance new balance. Best done with a cup of coffee. :-)

    1. I LOVE looking at the new balance. When I feel depressed lately I just log into mint or salliemae and check on how things are going.

  3. Don't worry that debt repayment high turns into a savings high.