Money Confession: I Have a Car Loan

I’ve been blogging for over a year now and if there’s one thing I’ve learned since joining the realm of ~bloggers~, it’s that it is SO EASY to lie.

Instead of explaining how you spent 90+ hours a week to grow your million dollar business, it’s easy to simply say, “Hustle hard, ya’ll!” Early retirement? No more coffee or cars. Paying off debt? “Side hustle.”

The problem with these one to two word answers is that they barely scratch the surface of what is required (and what is sacrificed) in order to accomplish big money goals.

There are A LOT of things I don’t talk about on my blog. Sometimes I leave things out because it’s not my story to tell. Other times, it’s because it is too painful to talk about. Regardless of the reason, I can assure you that my money situation is more complex and nuanced than it appears.

Which leads me to today’s confession: I have a $3,000 car loan.

When I paid off nearly $14,000 of student loans last year, I swore up and down that I would NEVER take on debt again.

Debt was my greatest enemy and I was happy to bid it farewell.

So what changed?


Throughout the past year, I’ve done a deep dive into what actually matters to me. I’ve stopped chasing happiness and started chasing meaning.

I’ve become kinder to myself and made a conscious effort to become more generous…even when it’s hard.

I’ve also tried to come to terms with the fact that life is maddeningly, absurdly short.

My mom and my step-dad

As I was on my way to a UCLA math final in 2014, I received a phone call from my sister. She was in tears as she explained that they weren’t sure if my mom was going to make it. Due to one nurse’s mistake, my mom was unexpectedly experiencing kidney failure and no one was sure if she would survive.

I was forced to think about what life would be like without my mother, but I couldn’t imagine it.

She is the glue that holds our family together and the rock upon which my sisters and I lean. She is my very best friend and my role model. With my mother in a small town in Oklahoma that was a two hour car ride from the nearest airport, and me in California, there wasn’t anything I could do as I waited for updates. My sister told me to take my final and I did. While I calculated complex probability problems, tears fell on the page.

Three years later, my mom has recovered and she is as wonderful, loving and fiercely loyal as ever.

But even though three years have passed since that horrible day, I’ll never forget it.

It was the ultimate lesson of the fleeting nature of this world and the fragility of our human lives.

Nothing is guaranteed.

My (very, very small) car loan seems unrelated to my mom and the fleeting nature of life, and maybe it is. But in many ways, I think my car loan is a sign that I’m continuing to grow into the person I hope to become.

I hope to be a person who sees manageable amounts of debt as a useful tool.

I hope to be a person who looks at the big picture and not the irrelevant details.

I hope to be a person who is not obsessed with money or trapped in the past.

I hope to be a person who contributes in meaningful ways to society.

I hope to be a person who always tells my family and best friends that I love them.

I hope to be a person who doesn’t waste my life on trivialities like saving a few dollars.

I hope to be generous with people and organizations I care about.

I hope to be gentle, kind, humble and hard-working.

I hope that when my time on earth ends, I have helped to make it a slightly better place for someone else.


What kind of person do you hope to be? Have you ever had a change of heart about money?


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6 thoughts on “Money Confession: I Have a Car Loan

  1. Steve from Arkansas says:

    I wouldn’t sweat a small car loan. I’m retired, wealthy and by used cars with cash, now. But at your age I actually bought new cars on payments. If I could go back and change that then my net worth might be two or three hundred thousand higher than it is but I have way more than I’ll ever spend and I’m sure you will too. Obsessing about money is obsessive, but you are awesome and full of hope and joy! You go young lady, I think you are so smart at a young age.


  2. NZ Muse says:

    It’s not a popular opinion but getting a car loan was the best financial decision I ever made re vehicles (and possibly ever).

    There are lots of specifics about my money situation I don’t go into detail about either but this is a great reminder that we all have stuff going on behind the scenes ❤


  3. Mrs. Picky Pincher says:

    Puh-reach. I hate when you read about people’s “secrets” that got them to the top and it’s a lot of fluff. Of course, I guess people don’t want to share the actual juicy deets–then they’d have competition. 😉

    I also have a car loan, but I’m not shy about admitting it. Many times the math works in favor of paying off other debts first since car interest rates are so low. That’s what happened in our case. We don’t need to look at car loans as something shameful or bad. As long as it works for you and you have the math to back up your plan, who cares?


  4. Revanche @ A Gai Shan Life says:

    Debt is a tool. Sometimes it’s misused or abused but that doesnt invalidate it as a tool.

    I think I have become largely the person I’m happy to be: I look out for my loved ones, I support my friends, I adore and spend time with my chosen family as best I can. As I’m typing this, I’m sick with a terrible head cold and am resting my elbow on Seamus’s side as he snuggles next to me. His skin and coat are shiny, pink, and beautiful now, a huge contrast to the skin and coat he had when we rescued him: dingy, weeping sores, scars from sores gone untreated for too long. He’s a healthy weight and has never lost his loving nature no matter what he’s been through. I’m listening to JuggerBaby cackling in the bath with PiC, having just splashed him with ice cold water. This has been a rough day physically but I’m still happy.

    I’ve changed. My first priorities used to be, had to be, money. Now they’re my people and my dogs (present and future) and money is the tool to ensure their health and safety. It’s a very important tool and I won’t ever stop paying a lot of attention to it. The difference now is that it’ll be a tool I use, among others.


  5. ZJ Thorne says:

    I agree that debt is a tool. In so many places in the US, you need a car to prevent poverty. Not everyone is able to save for a car without a car to reliably get them to work. Cars are also useful in emergencies and for getting you precisely where you need to be. Do you, friend.


  6. Durga says:

    Your confession on car loan is really a liable one. Coming to the debts, it may be a burden when the clearing time comes. But if you manage to clear your debts in regularly in an organised manner by evaluating the priorities, you can be cool.


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