I never knew that I was a slave to my belongings until I got rid of 99% of them. Once I was free of them, I turned my focus to replacing them with amazing experiences instead.
Like most people, my wife and I had spent our entire adult lives working to “get ahead”. Getting ahead translated to moving up the ladder and making more money. As we both progressed through our respective career tracks, we used the increased earnings to buy a bigger house and nicer cars. A bigger house is useless if it is empty, so we spent even more money to furnish and decorate it to our liking. We spent money on better clothes, cell phones, and computers too. Actually, we were very happy with the lifestyle that we had created. That is until I had an epiphany about two years before retiring from law enforcement.
It happened one night when I was exploring the options of a life after retirement. In crunching the numbers, I realized that one or both of us would have to continue to work to keep us in the lifestyle to which we had become accustomed. After all, we still had to pay the mortgage, car payments, and other expenses. That is when I became painfully aware that we had become slaves to our belongings. When I looked around at my friends and coworkers, I saw that we were not alone.
Over the years, my wife and I had talked quite a bit about retiring in Mexico because we always loved vacationing there so much. The cost of living is substantially less in Mexico, so we decided that moving to Mexico could be the key to breaking out of our self made prison. We knew the only way to make it work financially was to liquidate our assets in the U.S. and to live debt free. We did not even want to keep a storage shed because that would mean we would have a monthly fee. We then either sold, discarded, gave away, or donated 99% of our belongings.
In the end, we were left with four suitcases full of clothes and two cardboard boxes that contained pictures, college degrees, and keepsakes. We left the boxes with my wife’s mother and headed to Mexico with the four suitcases. It was so liberating to not have any bills or financial responsibilities for the first time since childhood.
So, How is it Going?
We have been in Mexico for over nine months and we could not be happier. We bought a very modest car and ended up buying the fully furnished condo we were renting. We used the money from the sale of our belongings in the United States to pay off both.
We have been committed to living only within our means and never incurring any debt again. We now enjoy a better lifestyle than we had in the United States, although we have a lot less stuff now. We travel extensively around the Riviera Maya and are very active. The best part is we do it for a fraction of what our lifestyle used to cost in the United States.
So when I ask myself if we made the right decision, I always answer, “Absolutely!”
By the way, neither of us miss any of the “stuff” we got rid of.