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Congratulations! You’ve just accomplished an awesome task and have officially become an “abnormal American”.
Maybe you’ve been plugging away at this debt payoff thing for years or maybe it was quick and painless (said no one, EVER!). Regardless of how you got to this point, your journey has just begun! The next part of your journey is for your benefit and not the bank’s.
The first thing you should do is CELEBRATE! This does not mean something extravagant that you cannot afford, but a celebration PAID FOR IN CASH. Maybe you want to go out to dinner or go out of town for the weekend or buy that new outfit/purse/shoes/kayak/fishing pole you’ve been eyeing for so long. Just do something because you’ve worked so hard!
Start dreaming about where you want to go from here – DREAM BIG! You have so many more options when you don’t have debt. Decide how to make those dreams a reality = GOALS.
Next, write down your new goals. Your goals have now changed from paying someone else to paying yourself. Take some time and really think about where you want to go now. Do you need an emergency fund? A car fund? A retirement fund? Do you want to buy a house or pay off your house? Where do you want to be in five years? Or ten years?
Make a new budget. It is really, really easy to get off track at this point. You will have newfound cash and if you don’t have a plan for that cash it will disappear quickly! Going back into debt is just not an option here after working so hard.
Continue to educate yourself. Maybe you read Dave Ramsey’s The Total Money Makeover or something similar to help you get out of debt. Now it’s time to move to the next step. Whatever your next goal is, start educating yourself about how to achieve that goal.
“You’re off to Great Places!
Today is your day!
Your mountain is waiting,
So… get on your way!”
-Dr. Seuss, Oh, The Places You’ll Go!