Friday, June 23, 2006

More surprises up my sleeve

I made a big decision. To celebrate getting out of debt I'm going to make a drastic change. I'm moving to Thailand to teach English. I've already been offered a job there at a private school and a good friend of mine will also be teaching at the school with me. I'm very excited about the change.

It seems like now would be the perfect time to do something like this. I'll be debt free, I'm just getting out of a long relationship and I have no job so I have no obligations to keep me here. I'm young and have no mortgage and I'm in good health and adventurous. How many times in my life will I be this free?

I did some calculations and decided to make a major personal finance faux pas: I'm going to cash out my 401k to pay off the remainder of my debt. I guess Henry's comments were right; once you start toying with the idea it's hard to give up. I'll have to pay the 10% penalty and taxes but I figure I'll have to pay taxes when I retire anyways and the 10% is worth the peace of mind of not having debt hanging over my head anymore.

I'll also be selling my car when I move so that will give me enough money to pay off my student loans and have a couple thousand left over for emergency money. I'll be completely debt free, no credit cards and no student loans and with money in the bank. I didn't think that would be possible for another couple of years. I'll also be selling my portion of the furniture to my ex-boyfriend and I'm selling all my books and DVDs on Everything that I own will soon be able to fit into a couple of suitcases.

After being in debt for so long and having material possessions tie me down, it'll be an interesting experience to live without any of those constraints. For me, the whole point of getting out of debt was to be able to experience freedom again. The freedom to go where I want to go and do what I want to do and to have freedom from any worries about things.

For example, a couple of weeks ago someone hit my car and left a scratch on my bumper. I was so mad that someone could hit my car and not leave a note. I was angry because I would then have to either fix it or just accept the loss. It sounds silly but when you have things you always have to worry about them breaking or getting lost or having to replace them. I want to be in a place where none of that matters.

I probably won't move until mid-August so I'll have enough time to take care of all the loose ends. I'm not sure how accessible the internet will be but I'm hoping to continue to blog, probably not solely about personal finance but also about my travels and experiences in Thailand!

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D said...

There is a part of me that envy's you 100%. The adventures that you will have and the life you will live.

Then there is the mother in me that would like to take you out to dinner and talk to you until the sun comes up. I would tell you....breathe. Slow Down. Things are changing in your life right now and although they make you uncomfortable and unsure, they will work in beautiful and positive ways for you. If there is one ounce of doubt in your soul...don't go. Listen to what your soul tells you. Remember leaving family and friends and what we know is not as easy as it looks. This is a huge decision. And may very well dictate the rest of your life. If I was your mom...I would ask ... I would ask you not to go. Losing my baby, I know your not a baby, but someday you will understand what I am saying, to the other side of the world. Where I can't just jump in my car and fix the boo-boo's or at least provide hugs and the fact that I am there for you. Would be something that would constantly weigh on me.

Ok I'm off my mom box. I hope you are sure! And I wish you all the best!

Anonymous said...

Wow, congratulations! ANd I think you'll like it a lot in Thailand, warm (ok, hot) weather almost all year round! :D And it's a beautiful city and you have internet access and western-style amenities wherever you go, except there's always some wonderful eastern twist to things :) U'll know what I mean when you get there! I've been to Thailand twice so far, and I think if I could move there, I totally would! But I'm no where near done my debt reduction, so.. :(

And you're right, I've started to simplify my life of material things and boy, does it feel good!

Congratulations, once again.


Tired of being broke said...

Congratulation, I can only imagine the freedom of being debt free. Do whatever make you feel happy. Good luck on the move to Thailand, you are correct now that you are young and debt free is the best time to do it.
All the best!! You are in inspiration.

Theresa said...

Go! Go! Go! This absolutely will change your life - foreign travel always does and you have added bonus of actually living abroad. Get all of your incolulations (sp?,) buy a journal to write in - way different then writing on the internet, and some good walking shoes and go. California is always just a plane ticket away.

You'll never look at the world the same again. I wish you the best!

Anonymous said...

Sounds like a good plan to me. You can always come back after the school year is over if you don't like it. Just don't go to any secret beaches... (Have you seen the movie The Beach?) Congratulations and good luck and I'm glad you will continue blogging about living in Thailand.

Debt Hater said...

Can I visit you!?!?

Seriously, looking at your debt melt away has been a huge motivator to me since I started my blog and now that I'm back deep into debt, I look at your figures and know I can do it -- by my goal date!
So God bless and enjoy the changes in your life. Trust me, I know how tough they can be, but I know how liberating it feels when your on the path to good things to come. Congratulations!

ncnblog said...

Hey LP... I hope that all goes well with you. Travel safe, and have a great time. Congrats on being debt free...
(If your company matched any portion of your retirement savings, then that was "bonus" money anyway, so the 10 percent penalty may not really be "your" money... does that make any sense?) Hope you have a blast, learn lots, and enjoy yourself. You rock!

(If you ever decide to give the old network a shout, you know where to find us...)


KJ said...

Yay! Go for it! That sounds so exciting and you definitely deserve it! Congratulations!

QueenOphelia said...

WOW! Congrats and good luck on your adventure. It is a once in a lifetime opportunity.

Chris said...

Congrats...I agree with the poster that said if you have any doubt don't do it. However, if your heart is in it, I look forward to the posts from Thailand. said...

LPK- this is effing huge. your ability to make responsible decisions like this is huge. i am blown away but your right.. this is the time to do and you have thought so much through about what keeps you from experiencing freedom. you definitely have to keep blogging from thailand!!

ps. got a link for all the stuff on

CollegeGrad said...

Wow! Congratulations on your decision to join the expat community! If you're ever in Japan, send me an e-mail!


Adventures In Money Making said...

If I was in your position, i would have defaulted on my debt before I withdrew from my 401k.

I'd just make sure I stayed in thailand for 7 years and didn't need any credit.

After 7 years, the bad debt is cleared off your credit and I'd be debt free anyway!

And I've have my 401k in tact.

Not that I'm thinking of doing this - I don't have any consumer debt at all.