Our year of failure was a success!


Happy 2017! We are super excited to share this update with our readers! Last New Year, we themed 2016, the year of failure. You might be asking, “Why would anyone theme an upcoming year “a year of failure”?”  Well… keep reading!


Let’s back track to 2014… One month before our first wedding anniversary, we decided that we were sick of being in mounds and mounds of debt. Shortly after our wedding, we quickly paid off some taxes and our honeymoon, but that still left us with a debt of over $800,000. Approximately $660,000 of this debt was our student loans.

Student loan companies usually schedule 300 monthly payments to pay off debt. That’s 25 years of a whole lot of interest! We calculated exactly how much we would be paying in interest if we stayed on a 25 year schedule. We would have paid over $400,000 in interest alone, totaling over $1 million in loan payments over 25 years!

We were not willing to pay $1 million for “tuition”. Our original plan was to pay off our private student loans in 3 years, then pay off our federal student loans in 10 years. Instead, we became even more aggressive with our debt payoff. By April 2015, we had paid off our entire private student loan debt – $130,000 in only 6 months! Once we slayed the private loans, we went to work on the federal loans – $530,000.


While we continued to aggressively pay off student loans, the year 2015 had come and gone and we were no closer to any of our other goals. We had an independent contractor business that we wanted to get off the ground. Nii wanted to start a podcast. Renée wanted to start a consultation business. All of this while trying to start a family, which proved to be one of the biggest challenges that we faced.  By the end of 2015, we had some serious  decisions to make.

Much of what held us back was fear of failure. What if we tried and failed? Then we asked, so what, if we tried and failed? At least we tried. Facing our fear of failure head on, we themed 2016 our “year of failure”.


2016, our year of failure


We are happy to report that as of New Year’s Day 2017, we have paid off 74% (over $440,000) of our student loans! For seven straight months, Nii went to work as an independent contractor to make additional income, which helped launched our business Equal Access Health locum tenens. He then started his podcast, Docs Outside the Box, in April 2016. Renée finally launched her consultation business, Pre-med Strategies, Inc., as 2016 came to a close.


In August, Renée decided to leave her permanent job, do independent contracting, help manage Equal Access Health, and work on her business. Nii left his permanent position as of the first week of January 2017 to focus more on the businesses as well.

But, the greatest news of all is that we are expecting a special delivery in the next few months! You might be thinking, “Why would two people quit their jobs at such a transitional time in their lives?” The question is not just why, but how. Our why is to move closer to our families, especially with our new addition coming soon. The how is by proper planning. We’ve saved for this transition and if we fail, we can always return to being employed. But, if we never take the leap, we’ll never land where we want to be.


In light of our goals, our theme for 2017 is “the year of family.” Not only do we look forward to moving closer to our families, but we look forward to having the flexibility that this new life will give us to make all the birthday parties, school plays, high school football games, and all other family events that we missed over the last several years. The risk is well worth it.

Happy New Year, everyone! What will you theme your 2017? Please share in the comments.





About Nii and Renee

A newly married couple in pursuit of financial peace, marital bliss, and career freedom!

Posted on January 7, 2017, in career, debt, marriage, money. Bookmark the permalink. 14 Comments.

  1. You are the epitome of role models. Proud to say you are my cousin and you inspire others. love you

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I want to high five you guys for each of these awesome accomplishments!
    I was at a retreat yesterday and one of the work pages was list 25-30 things you would do if you couldn’t fail. Not have a 9-5 is on there, and some fun alternate ‘jobs’ instead. Trying to save now while I really enjoy this job, and see what the future holds.
    This is my year of finding balance between work, yoga (taking and teaching and training), family and friends.
    Wishing you all the best and congratulations!


    • Awesome Jacq! You are so right. How many things would we accomplish if we couldn’t fail. Many times we won’t fail, but the fear of failure stops us from even trying. Thanks so much for reading our post and sharing your 2017 goals. May you try so that you, too, can find out that you won’t fail!


  3. Congrats on the upcoming addition! If anything, having a child will definitely provide more impetus to be in control of the days and hours of your lives. My son was my biggest motivator to find financial freedom!

    My theme for the year “looking for the positive”. Through various life moments from physician burnout that I have personally experienced to the stress of being a father and husband (both roles I love, but they can be tough) I have found myself being negative at times. Looking at the negative instead of the positive. This year the goal is to focus on the positive! I look forward to reading more of your site.

    -EJ at Dads, Dollars and Debts


    • Thank you, EJ! Putting a positive spin on things that can be (at times, but not all the time) stressful in our lives is a great theme for the year. We are definitely excited about the year to come!


  4. Nakeetsha Dryer

    Thank you for sharing! I also quit my full-time job to do contract work full-time from home as a psychiatric nurse practitioner! This took a lot courage but each time I make a big move I tell myself that nothing is permanent.We have the freedom to shift and change. Leaving Egypt required much courage, but I am determined that my journey to student loan freedom will not be a 40 year one! Godspeed to you!


  5. Physician on FIRE

    Happy New Year, Nii & Renee! Congratulations on the “special delivery.” The Year of Family, indeed!

    Wishing you great success in your latest ventures and your move closer to home.

    My theme for 2017? I think I’ll go with Clarity. Last year was full of uncertainty and some distant idea of a sabbatical or early retirement that proved to be a moving target. This year, I plan to clarify our future plans.



  6. God Speed to you both! Inspiring story. Thanks for sharing!


  1. Pingback: UNITY: Our theme for 2018 is in full effect! | Keeping up with the Darkos

  2. Pingback: Goodbye student loan debt… Hello 2018! | Keeping up with the Darkos

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