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 Half.com. 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!
Friday, June 23, 2006
Posted by lpkitten at 2:03 PM