Paying off Our Ranch


I’ve mentioned financial prepping before. By financial prepping, I don’t mean planning for retirement. Retirement planning may be integrated into financial prepping plans, but it isn’t the same thing. By financial prepping, I mean getting prepared for financial difficulty in your own life. Financial difficulty can come in the form of a lost job, identity theft, a debilitating injury, or the more glamorous zombie appocolypse induced world wide financial collapse. (Yes, I say the last one with tongue firmly in cheek, but life’s strange. Who knows?)

My Loyal Sentra
My Nissan Sentra with 100k miles on it.

My wife and I went into a lot of debt for education and related costs. We need a lot of work in the financial prepping part of our life. Even though we are still facing ongoing education costs for children and my wife, we can still work toward debt-free financial freedom in little ways.

My first concern financially is our ranch. We have an undeveloped 80-acre ranch that our entire family absolutely loves. I’m already planting and tending native trees on the ranch. I’m planning for a well, pastures, gardens, and orchards on seven acres of the property. Eventually, my wife and I want to build a home on it. For now it is a great weekend getaway, and a realistic bugout location if we ever needed one. Someday, we’d like to use it as a extended-family recreation spot, too.

In times of financial hardship, what good would our ranch do us, if someone else has a lien on it? During financial difficulties, we’d lose our ranch.

I’ve spent a lot of time considering how to pay off the remaining loan on our ranch. The main options when paying off any debt are to cut back on other expenses, get a second job (make more money), or sell something. Luckily, we got our land for a great price, so the outstanding loan has not been huge.

After weighing all my options, I realized that we have three cars and only two drivers that need vehicles at home. We’ve been playing musical cars all winter, making sure none are left idle or on the street for too long. It’s actually been pretty annoying to keep track of whether each car is getting driven enough to prevent a dead battery.

I decided to sell one of my cars. We need the van, as it is the only vehicle our entire family can legally fit in. The trick was deciding which of the two cars to sell. I’m absolutely in love with my Sentra but our Altima looks like a beater, even though it probably has another 50,000 miles of life in it. I went back and forth for all of December. It was a very difficult decision.

I finally decided to sell the Sentra. It hurt to sell my favorite car, but I got over the pain pretty quickly, because I was able to sell it for almost exactly what I owed on the ranch.

Immediately after the cashiers check had cleared, I got a payoff quote for my land loan, and sent off the check. Now my wife and I own our ranch free-and-clear of any liens. We still have a lot of debt to deal with, but at least one little bit of our financial prep is finished.

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