Welcome to my adventure. My name is Jessica Johannesen I am a freelance writer, designer, illustrator and together with my husband, I run Porter & Hazel custom leather jewelry.  I went to college and came out with a LOT of debt. And then I met my husband who has his own student loan debt. Add a car loan and we are about $100,000 in debt not including our mortgage. Closer to $200,000 with the mortgage. Thankfully, my debt isn’t related to my credit card spending, though I do have a little bit of debt from that too.

It is time to get out of debt and create the life I want.

Regardless of where the money comes from, the truth is I suck at finances. I have no actual financial credentials. And as I write this about page my entire financial knowledge can be summed up in a few words: spend less than you earn. But as far as how to apply that concept, dig myself out of debt, create a positive net worth, and have money I can retire on, I have no freaking clue. Figuring out money is the whole point of this blog- learn about personal finance, and create the financial future I can retire on.

Getting Rid of Debt to Pursue a Dream

I want to move to Canada. Not because of politics or Trump but because I have loved Canada (specifically Québec) for a LONG TIME. I have dreamed of moving to another country since I was a kid and it is time to make this dream come true. But moving abroad isn’t easy or cheap. And understandably other countries don’t want citizens that will be a burden on their system. I don’t just want to visit. I want to live permanently in Canada. My best option at this point in time is by using a self-employed visa.

To move to Canada on a self-employed visa you need to meet a few requirements:

  1. Provable two plus years experience in your field.
  2. Bank statements to prove you are not going to be a drain on Canada
  3. Pass various medical and background checks
  4. Get at least 35 points on the entrance evaluation quiz.
  5. For a family of 3, I will need around $5,000 US in the bank
  6. A positive net worth of $100000 CAD which is about $79,000 US

Number 6 is the rough one. A positive net worth of almost eighty thousand dollars. That hurts. It almost feels like a dream killer. But I am not going to let that stop me. A quick trip around the web and I find countless stories of people paying off massive amounts of debt. And so now it is time for me to be one of them.

So here is my plan

I am going to get rid of my “bad” high-interest debt first. The credit cards & the car loan. After that, I have my husband’s and my student loans, and our mortgage. I’m not sure whether the student loans or mortgage is better to go after first, but I’m not at the point where I need to decide yet (and procrastinating is something I’m good at so, dealing another day it is!). Having a savings, retirement fund and emergency fund are also important so I have to figure out how to pay off debt and save.

When I tackle my student loans I am going to snowball method and pay off the smaller loans and then work on paying down the loans with the largest balances last.

All of this will mean knowing more about my monthly finances – where my money is going, how to budget better and making sure I get rid of frivolous expenses.

This all feels so very overwhelming but I refuse to be a part of the debt culture anymore.

If you have any thoughts or questions, click over to the contact page and send me an email.