Color of Money: When you know better, you'll be inspired to do better

Michelle Singletary on

Take a moment to rejoice if you too are getting close to being rid of your mortgage like this couple. "We moved into our house in 2015. Took out a 10-year mortgage of $100,000 since we are close to retirement, want to get it paid off before we retire. We have been paying extra when we can. We are finally below $50,0000. I will come back and let you know when it is paid off in full."

I can never get enough of stories about people paying off debt. "My wife and I paid off all our loans (student, cars and credit cards)," another reader wrote. Now they plan on aggressively going after the mortgage. How did they do it all? They mostly lived off one income.

Speaking of burdens, Americans are carrying a combined $1.4 trillion in outstanding student loans. I'm thrilled when people drop that weight off their back. One person shared what that's like.

"It feels great! I wanted to thank you for your words of wisdom and also let people know that it doesn't have to be all or nothing. We took a more balanced approach. I was able to get married and we paid for the modest wedding ourselves. We are a one-car family even though it can be inconvenient at times. We also manage to go on small vacations every year and bought a house within our means. I wanted people to know that their life doesn't have to be totally on hold while paying off student loans."

If you've got a testimony, I want to hear from you. Send your comments to You never know. Your story might inspire someone else to do better.



Readers can write to Michelle Singletary c/o The Washington Post, 1301 K St., N.W., Washington, D.C. 20071. Her email address is Follow her on Twitter (@SingletaryM) or Facebook ( Comments and questions are welcome, but due to the volume of mail, personal responses may not be possible. Please also note comments or questions may be used in a future column, with the writer's name, unless a specific request to do otherwise is indicated.

(c) 2017, Washington Post Writers Group



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