On a cold Friday the 13th in January over a decade ago, I signed the mortgage agreement for my first home. And I wasn’t scared about it at all. Though I wasn’t exactly rich–I’d decided that waiting tables was my true calling, at least for a while–I believed that by saving every dollar I could and paying at least a little ahead on the mortgage each month, I just might be able to pay off the house in ten years. With that goal in mind, I took in renters and saved every dollar I could. I didn’t drive a car, for instance. And sometimes I even passed up the bus, deciding it wasn’t worth that $1 fee.
Five years later, I was nowhere close to my goal, but I didn’t worry about that–I just kept making payments. Something in me told me that it would all work out as it should.
I married my first husband, and worked as much as I could, using most of my earnings for the house. Then I divorced and married my husband, which gave me another big edge. Still, the goal was pretty far away. Then the year before having my second child, I got a great job, and started paying in big chunks. Finally, the day came when my husband gave me the approval to take the twenty grand out of our savings account and pay our very last installment.
In the February nine years after signing the mortgage, I made the final payment on the house–nearly one year ahead of schedule.
I believe in hard work. And planning, and being careful with money. But I also believe in the power of setting an clearly defined intention.