Even though I’ve talked about it many times here on the blog, I’ve never really gone into detail about the fact that I don’t pay rent or have a mortgage. My home is provided to me by my employer. In other words, my home is provided to me as part of my SALARY. In other words, if I were to do the SAME job, but I did not live in employer-provided housing, my “paycheck” would have to be adjusted UPWARDS to make up the difference. My taxable income INCLUDES the “housing” portion of my “pay package”. The number that I use for my “gross income” is a rough estimate of my “income” plus my wife’s “income”. $80K represents an “approximate” gross income, INCLUDING the housing portion of my paycheck. The exact number for taxation purposes varies from year to year. So, my actual taxable income may be slightly MORE or slightly LESS than $80k. I do not live “for free”. My home is provided as PART of my compensation package. I keep the numbers a little “fuzzy” because I don’t want to reveal every little detail about my finances. Let’s just put it this way: My house is provided as part of my income, but I pay for telephone, electricity, television, etc. (If I were to estimate, my home would rent for approximately $650-$800.) While I am thankful for my job (and the home we live in) I have worked the same type of job in a different location, and we rented, and my salary was adjusted upwards during that time. I think that the interview with Jean made it seem like paying off debt was somehow “easy” because I don’t pay rent or have a mortgage. The fact is, if my house was not provided as part of my salary, my “salary” would be $7K-$11K MORE than it is now.