Can I Get out of Debt & Live Life on My Own Terms?

Can I Get out of Debt & Live Life on My Own Terms?
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This is a question many of ask ourselves these days and according to Paula Pant the answer is YES! More and more, we are seeing people take steps out of the traditional workplace and do things differently. These leaps can help you stabilize your life and help you avoid falling victim to a life you don’t want to lead. We spoke to Paula Pant, from Afford Anything, about her journey and the Afford Anything revolution she’s started.  

For those of us who’ve found ourselves in bad debt situations, it can sometimes feel like we’ll never get to a point where we’ll reach financial freedom. Goodness, most of us don’t know where we’ll get the money to pay off this month’s bills. In North America, a number of us have grown up with a very traditional view of how our careers should unfold and what our futures should look like.

Many people who accept and live by the traditional model may look at some of the actions an individual like Paula Pant has taken as risky or unnecessary. However, after we caught up with Paula it’s clear that she wouldn’t have it any other way.

Back in 2008, Paula was continuing her career as a Journalist in the States and was doing some big-name interviews including Joe Biden, Roger Ebert and Patch Adams. Although she fully enjoyed these experiences, she felt like something was missing. Many people in the same situation would have just accepted that life – sometimes – has to feel this way. Most people would probably just carry on with what they were doing so they could pay their bills and live their life. Sound familiar?

However, Paula wanted more. “In 2008, I quit my 9-5 job and decided to go travelling,” Paula reflected. As you can imagine, she received mixed reviews from friends and family. Some thinking that she was being a bit hasty in her decision and others jealous that she was taking such a big step.  “How can you afford this?” “I’d love to do this but I could never get the money together” – these were comments that Paula started to hear all the time before, during and after her two and a half years of travels.

While the same comments kept being said from friends back home, she realized that anyone could afford anything they wanted – whether it was travelling around the world or a brand new car.  Paula believes that she was able to do what she wanted at that stage in her life because she was “ruthless about prioritizing money”.

When Paula came back from her travels, she was in awe about the amazing experiences she had but needed to work. She could have gone back to the grind and find a 9-5 job as before. But, she wanted more.  She thought of ways to avoid working 9-5 and methods for creating multiple streams of recurring income.  This is where Afford Anything began – a revolution for finding financial freedom on her own terms.

Budgeting & Generating Passive Income

It was clear from our discussion with Paula that the keys to her success have been in setting a prioritized budget to afford anything important to her and in generating passive income.

Although Afford Anything doesn’t focus directly on bad debt situations, “the first priority for anyone wanting to achieve financial freedom is paying off debt”, Paula noted. Bad debt can limit opportunities for financial growth. The primary way to get out of debt quickly is to set a prioritized budget and stick to it. When Paula talks about a budget, she is pretty clear that this can mean that you’ll have to cut back on things that you’re used to. However, these expenses may be things you spend money on all the time but they may not mean a whole lot to you. She realized the importance of prioritization as she was travelling and understood that sometimes if you give up something it can lead to much greater opportunities in the future.

Once you’ve paid off your debt, passive income is a means of earning money even when you’re not working.  Paula has learned to generate passive income from “passively index funds, rental properties, through creating eBooks and generating income through her blog”. In generating this passive income, Paula advises her Afford Anything community that it’s important to have multiple sources of income. Paula states that “since things don’t always work out, you need to diversify your income”.

A Community of Financial Freedom Seekers

Paula’s is a positive story who decided to go with her gut instinct and take control over her own income.  Since she quit her job and started Afford Anything, Paula’s learned a lot about herself. When asked what she would say to people who are thinking of making their own leap, Paula noted that most importantly it was “important to live on your own terms”.  She is proud that she had the courage to quit her job, start her own business and in doing that she’s created complete financial freedom for herself.  Although she noted “it’s not been a clean linear progression” it has been the best thing she’s done in her life thus far.

Part and parcel to the Afford Anything mindset is helping others.  In three years, Afford Anything has grown a community of like-minded people who are interested in developing financial freedom. Paula has no intention to change people’s mindset forcefully but tries to empower them with tools to help them build passive income and prioritize their budgets so they can achieve financial freedom.

Speaking with Paula was refreshing and shows that even if you are in a bad debt situation now, there are alternatives out there that can help you. Not only can you carve your own path out of debt but – more importantly – you can start to take the steps that can put you in a position to achieve financial freedom on your own terms.

To find out more about Afford Anything or Paula Pant, visit her website

About Paula Pant

Paula Pant is a Journalist, Globetrotter, Entrepreneur and Investor. She’s traveled to 30 countries, owns six rental property units and her own boss who lives on her own terms. Her site, Afford Anything is about harnessing money to buy back your life. Starting out as a newspaper editor and reporter, Paula interviewed influential leaders like Joe Biden, Roger Ebert and Patch Adams. In 2008, Paula quit her job and sold all her worldly possessions. For the next two-and-a-half years, she backpacked across the Middle East, Asia, and Europe. Afford Anything is based on one radical idea: You can afford anything.

You can’t afford everything. But you can afford anything — trips to Rome, buying your dream home, quitting your job to launch your own business.

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