Maybe it's the shaky economy, and the financial uncertainty and insecurity it's causing all over the country. Whatever their reasons, it's a fact that millions of people are paying off all their bills, including their mortgages, and discovering the pure unadulterated liberated joy of living "debt-free".  A lot of them live in Angelina County.

More than one third of all households in Angelina County are not worried about how they will pay the house note next month, for one simple reason: They don’t have one.

More of Angelina County’s occupied homes are owned outright than have mortgages on them, according to 2010 Census data released this month.

The Census Bureau counted 31,090 occupied housing units — including homes, duplexes and apartment complexes — in Angelina County. Of those, 10,795 were owned free and clear of a mortgage, 10,547 were owned with a mortgage or loan, and 9,748 were occupied by renters, according to the new data.

Those in the know say one reason for this is that people in Angelina County are more likely to remain in their homes than those in other parts of the state.  They're here to stay.  Over time they become “empty-nesters” and pay off their mortgages.

Many of those "empty nesters" don't stop there.  With no mortgage taking the biggest bite of their monthly income, they're able to put a lot of that free'd up  money into paying off all their bills and debts, and a great many people are doing just that.

via Most Angelina County homes don’t have a mortgage; 42.4 percent of Lufkin residents live in rented housing units, according to Census - The Lufkin Daily News: Local & State.

There are plenty of financial gurus out there with sure-fire formulas for getting out of debt.  The tactic that's proven to be most effective is what's called "the debt snow-ball".

Using this approach, list all your debts smallest to largest, throw as much money as you can at the smallest and make the minimum monthly payment on all the others.

When the smallest is paid off, move down the list to the next one and repeat the process, adding the money you used to pay off the one before.  As each debt is paid off, the amount of money you have to pay them grows, like a snowball rolling downhill.

Depending on how deep in debt you are, it can take several years, but many people who've used this tactic say it really does work.  It just takes a lot of focused determination and a real commitment to the dream of living "debt-free."