Justin (age 29) and his wife (age 30) live in Birmingham, Alabama. They called to tell Dave that they'd just finished paying off the last of their non-mortgage debts. "How much was that?" Dave asked.
Oh, just a tad: $132,000. "There's some school loans in there," Justin offered.
Dave: "Man! How long did it take you to pay a hundred-and-thirty-two grand?"
Dave: "What do you make? Like six hundred thousand?"
No, Justin's wife is a new doctor who started up a practice. Their income is "six figures, for sure," Justin said. They're driving 13-year-old cars, and living in a home financed for 15 years at a fixed rate. It's a "very modest" home, Justin said, bought just so they could afford to flush all the other debts quickly.
Assuming that nothing funny is going on there (and there might well be), I will just come out right now and say that Justin's and his wife's accomplishment is freakin' impressive.
Listeners will undoubtedly counter, "Yeah, but they're making six figures!" I don't much care. Justin's household makes six figures, and they paid off six figures' worth of debt in under a year. I make five figures, and it took me much longer than nine months to pay off my five figures' worth of debt.
Income does matter. But so does determination.
Just another anecdote to add to my "Don't tell me it can't be done" notebook.