I am proud to announce that I am finally debt free in my life (outside of rental real estate). Yes, that means I have zero debt in my personal life and the feeling is indescribable.
I have no student loan debt.
I have no car/truck loans.
I have no mortgage.
I have no credit card debt.
Essentially, I have zero debt obligations in my life outside of rental real estate, and I don’t even count that. Why? Because they are cash flowing assets that pay for themselves. I have a mix of long-term rentals and short term AirBNBs. They generate more than enough free cash flow to pay the mortgage payments, expenses, and then some. Additionally, I have an emergency fund for my rental real estate to cover lapses in rentals or slow times for the AirBNBs. So, I don’t count these.
In terms of personal debt though, I have managed to totally become debt free over the past 4-5 years since I started my first business. My estimated debt load when I was just an employed nurse practitioner was as followed:
$65,000 in automobile loans
$65,000 in student loan debt
$7,000 in credit card debt
I had close to $400,000 in debt before I started my first practice… I won’t lie; I thought I would never pay this off. It seemed DAUNTING. But through diligent hard work and disciplined/persistent debt payments, I managed to finally shake this monkey off my back.
How did I do this? 2 ways:
- I increased my overall income.
- I aggressively began paying down the debt utilizing the snowball method of debt paydown.
The most important aspect here was increasing my overall income. How did I do this? By busting my ass no doubt, but more specifically through starting multiple side practices while maintaining part-time employment (The Elite NP Model). Becoming a nurse practitioner entrepreneur was the BEST financial decision I ever made. It accelerated my wealth exponentially and gave me the ability to be debt free.
As a standard W2 nurse practitioner employee, I was doing well. I was making approximately $160-180k a year working my tail off at an urgent care. I was on a production-based model, so for me to earn such a high salary required a lot of hard work and seeing A LOT of patients. Remember when I talked about seeing 30 patients in 2 hours? Ya… that kind of hustle.
I was burnt out…
I was tired…
I was sick of the entitlement…
I was sick of the never-ending rat race…
Making this sort of income though helped me invest into my first practice which ultimately was not much of a success, but that lead me to starting my second practice which was a HIT! When I started my medical cannabis clinic, I finally had the dark curtain that had been over my eyes for many years lifted. I saw the TRUE POTENTIAL of how a business can accelerate your wealth. But first, I had to get my spending under control.
I was living it UP when I was making the high salary at the urgent care. I was going out to eat almost every night. I was going on extravagant vacations. I would buy a new car every 2 years. I would only pay the MINIMUM payment on my debts. Basically, I was being stupid.
I began to read Dave Ramsey and listen to various financial podcasts and finally understood just how this debt was enslaving me. I was a slave to my own debt… This debt had a chain around my ankles, and I could not escape continuing to live like I was. I had to work… I had no choice! I had no options! When you have $400,000 hanging over your head, you MUST pay those obligations, or you could get into some serious financial trouble. Therefore, I had enslaved myself because I had to have the “things” you are led to believe that you need. And the worst part was that I didn’t even own this stuff! You don’t own your house or your car when you have a loan on it, THE BANK DOES! I was sick of it…
I wanted to live life on MY TERMS. Not the terms of some bank. Not the terms of some greedy physician supervisor. Not the terms of some dumb healthcare administrator making more than me….
I KNEW for me to escape this rat race and to live the life I wanted would require becoming debt free. I did not want these obligations hanging over my head any longer. I did not want to be a slave to this debt any longer. I wanted to break free.
So, after I began making some solid side money through my medical cannabis clinic while maintaining employment at the urgent care, I came up with a debt paydown plan.
First, I would pay off the stupid credit card debt. So, after a solid month of doing medical cannabis evaluations, I paid it off in full.
Next, I tackled those pesky student loans. I was SICK of paying them… So, I began doubling, tripling, and even quadrupling my monthly payments. When I got a bonus from the urgent care, I threw it right at the student loans. But it wasn’t enough… It was still taking too long. I wanted this debt GONE!
Therefore, I knew I had to make more income, so that is when I started my men’s health clinic. I invested the money I was making doing the medical cannabis evaluations into my men’s health practice while maintaining aggressive monthly debt paydown on my student loans and car loans.
About 6-8 months after I started my men’s health clinic, I saw just how powerful having 2 businesses were in terms of generating income. Mind you, I was still working at the urgent care as well. So, I had developed 3 income streams. But at that 6-8 month mark, I finally wrote the “big check” to pay off my student loans. It was nauseating writing a large check, but once I saw that balance hit zero, I was in bliss.
My businesses continued to generate income, I reinvested money back into the businesses, and started 2 other ones (a telemedicine practice I sold and The Elite Nurse Practitioner). I continued to pay down my auto loans aggressively and finally got to the point where I was sick of kicking the can down the road and wrote another “big check” to pay those off. That was relieving.
Eventually, the only debt I had was my mortgage. I stared at that balance long and hard. I thought to myself “Jeez Justin… how the hell are you going to pay off this $230,000?” It was an unfathomable amount of debt to pay off at first glance. So, I came up with a plan:
First, I would begin doubling/tripling the mortgage payments.
Second, as my businesses began to become more successful and generate more income, I would begin funneling 30-50% of all profits at the mortgage. I wanted it GONE!
But why only 30-50%? Well, I still wanted to reinvest money back into my businesses and also invest into other assets such as real estate and the stock market, so I figured that was a reasonable strategy: 50% to my mortgage and the other 50% to my long-term investment portfolio.
As I did this, I cut my hours back more and more at the urgent care because I didn’t NEED it anymore. I had minimal debt payments at this point so why would I continue to kill myself making that company rich? Instead, I focused down on my businesses, paying the mortgage off, and investing for financial independence. I was becoming more and more FREE. It was fantastic.
Through the income generation of my medical cannabis clinic, my men’s health practices, and through the sale of my telemedicine practice, I was able to aggressively pay down my mortgage. I am happy to report that I paid my mortgage off in FULL towards the end of last year.
Yes, I own the dirt under my feet. I own the roof over my head. I own the sink I wash my hands in. This house is MINE, not some banks.
Guess what happened shortly after I paid off my mortgage? I QUIT THAT DAMN URGENT CARE! I became FREE!
I no longer am a slave to debt. I no longer have to listen to what others tell me to do to satisfy THEIR dreams and desires. No, I don’t have to deal with the BS anymore. I live life on my terms now.
When you have zero debt, you don’t have to make that much money to live comfortably. Why? Because you don’t have any payments lingering over your head!
When you have zero debt, your wealth begins to skyrocket. Why? Because now you can invest most of your income into wealth generating assets, NOT DEBT!
I will become wealthy because I have no debt, not because of my income. Think about that. Think long and hard about that. Yes, you need income, but when you have zero debt, you are free to pursue the activities that bring you joy. You have the time to invest in your practices and businesses. YOU BREAK FREE. You essentially start building that “F.U.” money and live on your terms.
Can this be done through standard nurse practitioner employment? Sure, it can… but it will take a lot longer than if you had owned a business. If I was still employed at that urgent care, I would still be in debt. No question about it. Would I be in less debt? Sure, but I guarantee I would still have the majority of my mortgage and car loans still hanging over my head.
Starting my niche practices was the best financial decision I have ever made. Talk to other nurse practitioners who own their own practice, and they will tell you the same thing. I know dozens of other nurse practitioners that are debt free as well, and they are ALL nurse practitioner entrepreneurs. So, if you are sick of the debt that is enslaving you, then seriously consider starting your own practice. It is the fastest path to wealth for the nurse practitioner entrepreneur.
Outside of that, begin to live below your means.
Begin to cut down on your expenses.
Create a plan for debt paydown… Pay the lowest debts off first and then snowball it into the larger debts you have.
Also, create a tax lowering strategy as taxes are the BIGGEST expensive in your life…
It is very simple friends. All it takes is a plan, an income stream, and some time!
If I can do it, and the dozens of other nurse practitioners that I know can do it, then so can you!