We first really encountered Liberty Trust at their stall in Parachute 2011, when we were 21 and 23 yrs old. It was just a month out before our wedding and Liberty trust aligned well with the values we were planning for our future family. We wanted to use money wisely and be able to support more ministry and charities. We assumed we would be able to buy a house through a traditional bank mortgage relatively soon with our savings, but we also loved the idea of supporting others to be able to own their own homes or churches one day through our donations; a great mission to be part of. We were fortunate that we were both savers, and wanted others to be able to become debt free and have good financial opportunities as well.
Had we known the future of the Auckland housing market from 2011 to 2020, we would have bought a house straight away. Month after month, year after year we saw house prices skyrocket and our short term plans of owning a home in Auckland, became more of a long term goal, and then a dream, and then later as many people said 'an unrealistic dream'. All we had to turn to now was flat whites and smashed avocado on toast to keep us company in our pity, but we couldn't make that leap to cafe culture due to our competition of who could be more frugal. However, we did end up travelling a bit as cheaply as we could during this time, alongside continuing to save for a deposit. What we did have, despite whatever the Auckland housing market threw at us, was an interest free loan with Liberty trust on the horizon.
Three years before our Liberty Trust loan became available we heard about an new affordable housing area in Hobsonville Point being built where you would have to be picked from a ballot to be able to buy the home. To us these homes were still expensive, but far more affordable in comparison with the rest of Auckland prices. We applied for several ballots over 2 years, which took a lot of time and paperwork each entry. One time we dropped off last minute paperwork with our 2 day old baby on the way from the hospital to the birthing centre in the hopes of owning a home. It turned out the hassle was worth it, as soon after this time we received the good news that we had been drawn out of 60 applicants. We now own a 3 bedroom townhouse based in a beautiful area well suited for kids and we have joined the local house church where there is a focus on intentional community in the neighbourhood, using our houses to do church and show hospitality for our neighbours. We have been amazed by how many events we can host in a small space! We feel very fortunate we won the ballot and then even more so in 2020 when Liberty Trust gave us a call that we were going to be able to go interest free on our loan soon! Even amidst the lockdown and financial pressures that was brought on by Covid19, we could replace our bank mortgage with the Liberty Trust loan, knowing we can now pay our house off within 10 years with no interest. (We estimate the donations we gave to Liberty Trust over 8 years, are approx 4 years worth of interest based on the mortgage interest rate we were paying on a 30yr term. That is 26 years of interest we have saved!)
We feel very priviledged financially, but know that other with less than us can take part in a similar journey too by joining Liberty Trust, and we share the model and philosophy to whoever will listen. Many people are intruiged at first, but think that the model sounds too good to be true, even when shown the numbers proving its feasibility. Many prefer to rely on a bank for a mortgage or the government to organise affordable housing schemes because they want to stick with the norm. However, we think this norm means staying in debt most of your life. We have found there are other ways to become debt free and even financially independent and we think Liberty Trust is a great step in this direction. Hearing people share about the stress of their mortgage, having to make ends meet due to housing costs, not being able to have kids, spend more time with their kids, or not able to support charities/ministries etc due to thier finances is very common, and ideally it would be a different story. In Auckland owning a home has become a key focus or dream in life, but in our family we want our key focus to be on something bigger than ourselves, which involves reflecting Jesus, and for us an integral part is being ready to give to others in need. With Liberty Trust we are encouraged to focus on investing wisely, giving financially to ministries, sponsor kids, and global aid as crises come up, and even more so when the loan is paid off. With Liberty Trust we can also set up our kids towards this mission too if they want to take it on, as well as own a house and pay it off early in life.
It is a wonderful journey to be able to support ourselves into owning a home, becoming debt free quicker, and at the same time help others do it too through our donations. For those who havent started, we think you should give it a go, even starting with 10 dollars a week. For those reading this who haven't yet started with Liberty Trust, picture yourself in 8 years time, mid 2028, will you be thinking, 'I could have owned a house interest free by now', or 'I can own a house interest free now!' We hope it will be the latter.