In an entertaining column in the New York Times, M.P. Dunleavy describes her family's effort to "go medieval" on that last few thousand dollars worth of credit card debt accumulated prior to their marriage.
To help eliminate the last bit and break free from debt hell, the couple has temporarily suspended retirement savings. Was this a good decision? She's not really sure. The credit card debt only has an interest rate of 6% and given the tax deduction that comes from funding a traditional IRA, there's an argument to be made that she should have continued her retirement saving, even at the expense of paying off debt.
But that's all beside the point, according to Dunleavy: "There are a dozen ways to crunch the numbers, but the ultimate gain wasn't financial, it was peace of mind."
There's a good message here for financial decisions: ultimately, it's about improving your quality of life, and nothing is more important than peace of mind. If a financial move will make you feel secure and comfortable, it might be a good one: in spite of what any online calculator says.
Paying off debt is about more than just money