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Why We Stopped Telling Friends We Are Debt Free And Financially Independent

So, I paid off over $174,000 in debt in 2.5 years and THEN my wife and I went on to save/invest over $500,000 in the next 5 years, which we've been able to grow to over $700,000 thereby allowing me to exit corporate America for good and catapulting us into what’s called “lean FI”.

But along the way, we’ve experienced A LOT of loneliness and alienation from some of our friends and family. And I know if you’re watching this, you might be experiencing that as well.

Let me reassure you that, 1) you’re not weird and 2) you’re not alone.

So, to help you with that sense of isolation and possible discouragement, today I want to talk about some specific reasons my wife and I stopped telling our friends and family about our debt free/financial independence journey and how we instead replaced that “outlet” for conversation with a couple of healthier alternatives that have majorly filled that void we felt in wanting to share our journey with those who are closest to us.

Hey friend, it’s Brad Long here with ZeroDebtCoach where we help 5 and 6 figure corporate burnouts escape their nightmare by teaching them how to effectively: 1) organize and optimize their financial lives, 2) eliminate debt and 3) accelerate toward financial independence by starting and growing an online business.

You're On Your Way!

So, you’re on your way to debt freedom or Financial Independence and you’re SUPER excited to share some of your ideas, some of your processes and definitely your wins with friends and family. 

But when you do, you’re finding that you’re not getting quite the enthusiastic response you sort of expected and maybe you’ve started to feel frustrated, isolated and maybe even a little resentful.

Like I said before, you’re not alone!

If you clicked over to this video, you probably already know that one of the hardest parts about pursuing debt freedom and then financial independence is the potential loneliness you might feel as you move through the process and ESPECIALLY once you start reaching some of those big goals you SHOULD naturally be so excited to share.

So let’s jump into some of the reasons my wife and I don’t share our debt freedom or FI journey with friends and family anymore.

Most People Just Don’t Want To Hear About It, Really.

You’ve probably heard the statistic that 78% of the population lives paycheck to paycheck and would have trouble covering a $400 emergency.

That’s 8 out of 10 people that you and I know, that either 1) just don’t care enough to do something about it or 2) haven’t quite figured out WHAT to do to change their situation.

And, because of their situation, they likely don’t want to hear about your “wins” or even your “struggles” around your journey.

As a financial coach for over the past 10 years I’ve come to see that, no matter how big or small the paycheck, most of the people we know are in some sort of paycheck to paycheck or “behind the 8 ball” type of financial cycle. 

And shockingly few people even care about getting out of debt, let alone the prospect of moving on to financial independence.

So, in my experience, basically 8 out of 10 people that you and I know personally just don’t really care about this stuff OR believe that either debt freedom OR financial independence could ever be possible for them.

It’s okay it doesn’t make you crazy for pursuing these goals, you just need to find a support system to help you stay encouraged and to share your wins and your struggles. I’ll share more about how to do that toward the end of the video.

We Recognized We Have To Fight Our Own Constant Battle Against The “Normal” Money Mindsets.

It’s important to remember, you’re constantly battling all the common attitudes and beliefs about money and debt.

Most of the folks we talked about in the last point have one of these beliefs about money.

  1. It’s what I like to call the “you’ll always have…” attitude:
    • Debt in general
    • Credit card debt
    • Student loans
    • Car loans
    • Personal loans

With this mindset, there’s an almost willful ignorance that you can actually change your mindset and your situation by learning some new skills that will help you behave differently with your money than you do now.

Our Culture Forbids Talking About Money

In my opinion this is one of the most dysfunctional parts of our culture. Why is it so taboo to talk about money? I mean, isn’t it something we have to deal with like every day?

It’s been a pretty interesting experience for us that, as we got better at managing our money, we naturally wanted to share our tips, tricks and tools with our network.

But most people are just not open to it. Why? Because it likely reminds them of that frightening statistic they’re a part of, you know that 78% thingy.

And overall, your friends and family just might be irritated by your new found enthusiasm for frugality and your overall debt-elimination or FI goals.

  1. So remember,  just because you see the benefits of debt freedom and FI doesn’t mean your friends and family will. Actually, they probably won’t.
  2. A lot of people see the frugality and minimalism it sort of takes to get to debt-freedom and FI as just being “cheap”.
  3. The sad reality is that most of the people we interact with in our lives do not now, nor will they ever care about debt freedom or financial independence, ESPECIALLY in the way that you do. 
  1. They may not understand why or how you’re willing to think outside the box for things like, ways to be frugal or minimalist to reduce expenses.
  2. They’re probably not going to understand or appreciate the sacrifices you are willing to make to reach your goals.
  3. In fact, they may even perceive you sharing your wins, struggles and overall accomplishments as “bragging” or “attention seeking”, no matter how hard you try to avoid that perception.

As I alluded to in the beginning of the video, part of my wife’s and my  journey to FI was for me to very strategically go back into and then quickly exit corporate America as soon as we reached a very specific financial goal (which I outline in this video, here). 

One of the biggest challenges that we successfully navigated was thwarting “lifestyle creep” you know, the tendency to spend more as you earn more.

Our increasing and steady frugality wasn’t met with enthusiasm with some of our friends who knew that our income had increased pretty dramatically.

We kind of got the feeling that they expected us to start acting like “big balla, shot callahs” as our income dramatically increased.

But we NEVER looked at that new windfall of income as a resource to be consumed rather, we looked at is as capital that was ACTUALLY going to go to work for us.

And we just decided that, no matter what, we had to be okay with any apparent dissent from our friends and family because our overarching goal of independence from corporate America was totally worth it.

Some Of The “Weird” Things We Were Willing To Do.

    • Not own a home and accumulate cash to buy one outright.
    • Live as inexpensively as possible by renting a basement apartment from a friend.
    • Not owning a tv, so we’re not tempted to “buy cable” or “on demand” stuff.
    • Saying “no” to friends and family’s invitations for going out to eat, entertainment, etc. as a way to avoid lifestyle creep.
    • Exercised our frugality even when we went on vacation (i.e. eating meals in except for predetermined “treats”. Choosing free or inexpensive entertainment options).
    • Willing to be uncomfortable in social situations that automatically “required” spending money we hadn’t planned for like:
      1. On-the-fly eating out.
      2. Pressure to contribute to gift giving at the office.

If you’re in either of these phases (debt-elimination or pursuing financial independence), you’re likely willing to do some of these very sensible things that our culture (and therefore friends and family) would turn their necks sideways for you mentioning them.

Your friends and family may even think you’re making it look “easy” even though we both know it’s not AND that it takes an incredible amount of strategy, focus, planning and discipline to make it happen.

What Our Commitment Cost Us.

It probably cost us some friendships.

The sad fact is that some people are just not going to be on board with your journey or the decisions you make in the interest of your goal. It’s okay.

It’s part of life and we’ve found that friends can tend to come and go along the way. It’s sad sometimes, but you don’t really have any control over how people are going to respond to your choices.

And at the end of the day, it’s kind of none of your business. So, just be kind, be generous and keep moving forward.

  1. It cost us some immediate gratification in terms of vacations, eating out, entertainment and that kind of thing. BUT in all honesty, that didn’t really feel like a cost to us ESPECIALLY in light of what those little costs have paid us in the bigger picture.
  2. Other than those two things, it’s been amazing. So for us it’s all been worth it to get to our goals. Are there some things we could have done differently or situations we could have managed better, sure. But, this is all part of the learning curve when you’re learning to negotiate our endemically dysfunctional personal finance culture for the purposes of garnering some more freedom in your life.

Now, if you’re multitasking, I want you to come back here with me for a second because now I want to share what we’ve gained.

What We Gained

  1. First of all, freedom from debt and the financial stress that goes along with managing that.
  2. Second, a modicum of financial independence (lean FI)  that really just adds another beautiful layer of joy to being completely debt free. We’re not exactly where we’d like to be, but then again it’s unrealistic to think that we ever will be “exactly where we want to be”. All that said, we’re abundantly content.
  3. Third, I’ve been able to escape what I call the corporate cult for good and really dive head first into this platform and into helping our students do some version of what we did in accordance with their goals. Those two elements, freedom from corporate AND being able to serve our audience in an authentic and creative way has been more fun and more fulfilling than I could have possibly imagined and helps me to see that I actually could have “jumped” from corporate even sooner.
  4. Those three encompass hundreds of little fragments of joy we’ll be unpacking as we move through our journey and share more with you.

Okay, remember when I told you earlier to stick around to the end?


Struggling Or Feeling Alone?

Join Our Private FB Group: Zero Debt Tribe

Now, if this is something you struggle with and you constantly feel isolated about it, I’ve got some great news for you and it’s free.Our private Facebook group, ZeroDebtTribe. It’s a group of like minded people that are all somewhere along this P2P/debt-elimination/on their way to FI continuum. So click the image above and apply to join us. :)

How can ZeroDebtCoach help you? 4 ways...


1. Subscribe to our YouTube channel and click the notifications bell to make sure you get our new videos every week. 


2. Download one of our free personal finance guides. You’ll learn some of the exact strategies I teach my private coaching students on how to organize and optimize their finances, obliterate debt and move on to financial independence by starting and growing online businesses.


3. If you’re looking for a community of motivated and like-minded people, go ahead and get on the waitlist to join our private financial coaching community. We only open it for new students a couple of times a year, so make sure to get on the waitlist.



4. If you need some help right now because you’ve got a burning issue, you need a problem solved, you want to talk through a complex situation, click on the button below.



All that said, let's keep on building your financial acumen and make this your best year yet!

Thanks so much for reading and we’ll see you in the next video post!


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