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4 Suggestions for Retiring Debt Free

Toni Husbands shows people how to live debt free on her blog, Debt Free Divas. This is a real story of one client’s situation.


Annette Ramsey (no relation to Dave Ramsey – as far as we can tell) is working on a goal familiar to many. She’s dumping debt in advance of her anticipated 2021 retirement date. Annette provided insight on her in-progress debt dumping goals for this New Year New You 2015 profile.

Retiring debt free is a goal we all should have in common. Who wants to spend your golden years managing debt or worse dealing with harassing debt collectors if payment is no longer an option?

4 Suggestions for Retiring Debt Free

If retirement is on the horizon, do not believe debt freedom out of reach. One of my favorite debt free conversations involved Jeff Ehrlich of the Debt Free Squad. He and his wife reminded us it’s never too late to begin dumping debt.

They began in their mid 50’s and didn’t finish until they were 60 and 61.

A survey by HelloWallet found that he majority of workers with a retirement account have more debt than retirement savings. In addition, Boston College’s Center for Retirement Research found 2/3 of Americans over 60 are still carrying debt.

Much of that is mortgage debt.

I’ll have a few suggestions for those with debt nearing retirement after Annette’s interview.

1. When did you decide to begin actively working on your goal to eliminate debt? What prompted the decision? Sometime in October 2013. Getting ready to retire from the Government in 2021.

2. How much debt do you have? $99,694.00

3. What resources have you found helpful throughout the process? Reading books

4. How comfortable are you talking about finances with your circle of friends or close family? Very

5. What are you top 3 financial goals for 2015 and how do you plan to accomplish them?

  • Pay off one Visa with Citi
  • Pay more on my NFCU Visa.
  • Pay half my car off by 2015.

6. What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learned thus far in your debt free journey? This goal is obtainable.

7. What is your anticipated debt free date? 2020/2021

8. What will be / has been the biggest obstacle so far to accomplishing your goal? Saying NO to my 4 grown children however, I’m learning.


1. For any #teamdebtfree members approaching retirement, accelerating your debt repayment needs to be a priority. If your minor child care concerns have decreased, you’ll want to be as aggressive with your disposable income as possible. In addition, you may also have the extra time to pick up extra work – either with your current employer or a part-time position. Side Hustle Required

2. Continue to improve your financial literacy. Reading is an excellent option. Libraries or community organizations sponsor financial improvement seminars. Money Smart Week is an excellent opportunity to connect with agencies or individuals who can help you learn strategies to better manage your money and properly prepare for retirement.

3. Identify how much you owe. Create a plan to dump you debt and track your progress. Enlist the help of a Money Buddy to hold you accountable. There are many approaches to dumping debt. We like the Debt Snowball as one example.

4. Just like the airplane emergency briefing, take care of your finances first before you can help those around you. Learning to say no to grown children will be a valuable skill as you evaluate whether you are really helping.

Toni Husbands, Financial Coach

I'm a financial coach with the Debt Free Divas on a mission to help 1 million families dump consumer debt. My family dumped over $100K in debt and you can too. Instagram: debtfreedivas

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