When Will You Be Debt Free?

Jul 11, 2013 by

Ia debt free woman read recently that the average American “expects” to be debt free by age 53. That struck me as unrealistic given other data in the news about Americans’ notoriously poor preparation for retirement. But I suppose one does not have to be debt free to retire, though it would surely help!

Do You Aim to Be Debt Free? By What Age?

So let’s do our own poll of Money Counselor readers. I’m betting that people who cruise personal finance sites are more likely not only to have a goal of becoming debt free—they’re more likely to actually achieve it.

Please indicate your expectations in the comments below.

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  • I would like to be completely debt free in my 30s, and that includes the mortgage.

  • John S @ Frugal Rules

    I would like to be there in our 40’s – seeing as that starts in 6 months for me 😉 I guess the good thing is all we have is our mortgage.

    • That’s great John, especially since the mortgage interest is tax deductible (so far!). I think you’re well ahead of the game.

  • Emily @ evolvingPF

    I would like to keep a mortgage for a looooong time if it has a low enough interest rate and we’re invested aggressively enough. I don’t know if that’s quite to death, but close.

    • It is tough to justify pre-paying a mortgage that’s at the incredibly low fixed rates that have prevailed the past several years.

  • Greg

    I’m shooting for the end of my thirties. Although, I plan on continuously buying real estate, so that may keep the debt up a bit longer. Everything else will certainly be covered.

    • I think debt to finance investment real estate should not count in this survey. If your cash flow covers the debt payments and other expenses, then you’re good. In other words, you’re not borrowing to finance consumption, which is the real issue I think.

  • jefferson @seedebtrun

    Oh.. you must be talking COMPLETELY debt free.. No mortgage, no car payments, etc. We achieved total consumer debt freedom earlier this year, but just started a new mortgage soon after. However, with rates as low as they were, I don’t think that the new mortgage will cripple our finances. We will probably shoot to pay the mortgage off in 15-20 years, so that would presumably be my answer.

  • Holly Johnson

    Our plan was to be completely debt free by age 35….However, we are set back a few months because Greg is making a career change. His new job is 100 percent commission…if he does well we should be back on track pretty quick!

    • Being debt free in your 30s will be fantastic, good for you! And what do you mean “if” Greg does well?!? 🙂

  • I don’t mind a little bit of debt if the interest rates are ultra low. Living in NYC, I think I’ll probably have mortgage debt at some point in my life and I doubt I’d be able to completely pay it off that quickly. I do also have student loan debt, I paid off most of the higher interest ones, would like to pay off some more. Not in a hurry to pay off the ones around 2% though.

    • Inflation’s been running under 2% so that debt’s still costing you a little, but I hear you. As long as your income is reliable and emergency fund well-stocked so you’re not at risk of unexpectedly and abruptly facing debt payments you can’t make, I can see your point.

  • I voted not taking into account mortgage debt. I will pay off my car loan this month likely, and then I have a small student loan to take care of. That’s at 1%, and since I make 2% just in my normal savings account, I’ll pay it off slowly.

  • Herbert

    I tried to ditch the debt trap, but in vain. Guess the American way of living is designed such that you can’t really get off the line of credit. Just a personal opinion.

    • Herbert, you can adopt any way of living you want, no? Have a visit with a credit counselor at a nonprofit agency to chat about your situation. To find one near you, go to http://www.nfcc.org. Best of luck to you.

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