We moved to Los Angeles at the end of May in 2016. We were 27 (Spencer) and 25 (Becci) years old. We had just travelled across the country in a fully packed car from Jacksonville, FL. We were so excited to be moving to a vibrant and exciting city. And Los Angeles delivered. We loved it! We met our best friends, made countless memories, and it pushed us to become the people we are today. So, why did we leave after almost 5 years?
OUR 3 REASON FOR LEAVING LOS ANGELES
1. We had a vision
About two years ago Becci had the inspired idea to create a vision board. We had been talking about our future for awhile and what we wanted it to look like, but until then it was all talk. We spent one whole day printing out pictures, quotes, and anything else that represented how we wanted our future to look. We put our dreams, our ideal life, our VISION on a large poster board and hung it up on the wall next to our kitchen. For the next two years we looked at that vision board everyday.
Part of that vision board included traveling, living in a tropical paradise, and investing in ourselves. So, in October of last year, when it seemed that we had come to a fork in the road, we looked back at our vision board. At that time we realized that everything we envisioned we could achieve. Not 10 or 15 years from now, but RIGHT now. So, we sold everything, gave our notice to our landlord, and embarked on our VISION. It was only a little over a month later that we found ourselves living in a tropical paradise, just a 100 meters from the beach in beautiful Costa Rica. Our VISION had become a REALITY.
2. No more debt
Two words that we printed out in large block letters and put front and center on our vision board were: DEBT FREE. When I (Spencer) graduated with my Masters Degree I had almost $80,000 in student debt. For some of you that may seem crazy and for others of you reading this you’re probably nodding your head in empathy.
To make a long story short, after 9 years of paying the minimum, Becci and I made a decision that would change our lives for the better. We said, “Enough is enough! We are going to pay the rest off in 1 year!”. I still had $40,000 left in student loans, but we put a financial plan together. First, we calculated all of our monthly expenses and any money leftover that wasn’t going towards our necessities (and I really mean EVERY extra penny), we put towards my student loan. We wrote down our progress on a yearly calendar that we hung up in our kitchen (yes, we love big poster boards that we can see everyday, haha!).
After one year of discipline WE DID IT. We paid off my student loan, but we weren’t done. We took that same financial plan and put it towards our savings account. We only spent money on essentials and started saving our money. We wrote down our progress again on a giant yearly calendar that was hanging in our kitchen. Our savings account for the first time ever, was increasing every month. The feeling was incredible. Financial stability is an amazing thing and we were proud of ourselves.
So, when we were at a fork in the road in October of 2020, we didn’t feel stuck financially. We could take a risk, bet on ourselves, travel the world, knowing that we weren’t in debt and we had the savings to support ourselves.
3. Investing in ourselves
Have you ever wanted to learn a new skill, but never felt like you had enough time to do it properly?
We totally understand that people are able to learn new skills while holding down a full time job and supporting a family, but we wanted to go all-in. We asked ourselves the question: Could we turn our hobby into something full time? If so, what would that look like? To figure it out, we needed to take a risk and instead of saying “Someday we’ll do that” we said emphatically, “Let’s do it TODAY!”
We’ll be honest, the transition hasn’t been easy. We still get anxious and question ourselves, but it’s been the best decision of our lives. We’ll never regret the time we decided to go all-in, take a risk, and turn our VISION into REALITY.
HOW CAN WE HELP?
If you have any questions about the above or you’re considering doing the same, let us know in the comments below and we’d be happy to elaborate on our own experience. We are also thinking about writing a more detailed blog post on how we were able to pay off $40,000 in student loans in one year using just a few useful tips, tools, and tricks.
Love and gratitude,