Finances: Teetering Between Debt and Freedom
“The rich rule over the poor, and the borrower is servant to the lender.” Proverbs 22:7
A couple of years ago, Rick and I signed up and went through the Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace class through our church. Yes, there was weeping and gnashing of teeth, but we bit the bullet (no pun intended) and owned up to the pink elephant in the room - our looming debt issue.
Over the years we had made a lot of financial blunders, plus lived the all too familiar “Cops don’t get paid enough” theme song. With those two things working against us, one could say that we’d gotten in over our heads and were experiencing that sinking feeling.
When I heard that the class would be taught in our church, I immediately approached my husband and said, “We’ve got to do this thing!” A few him-haws, groans, and scowls, God providentially gave us the money to attend the class and we were in with both feet.
Like every other hot-blooded, got-to-have-it American out there, we had lived life according to a fleeting dream – nice vacations, nice vehicles, new homes, expensive dinners, clothes, toys, a pool, etc., etc., etc.
The problem was that we had not saved up for these items, but flashed that plastic. It was easy! A flick of the wrist and voila, instant fun. What we forgot, though, were the nightmarish statements that came with the price of our happiness.
Oh, but never fear, we can consolidate with ease! Yes, we did that too…many times. However, consolidation was nothing more than a ticket to more interest and longer payment terms.
So, when we began learning about savings accounts, debt snowballs, Roth IRAs and flashing those Ben Franklin’s, the sinking feeling we had once experienced on an everyday basis, turned into hope and freedom to “live like no-one else, so we can live like no-one else!”
Are we totally out of debt? Nah, not yet, but we are well on our way. We have been given some very valuable tools to help us honor God with the monies He’s entrusted us with. Not only that, but our children are seeing our financial responsibility and are now becoming responsible themselves! What a miracle.
If you, like so many others, are experiencing debt bondage, then I would strongly encourage you to step out and take the necessary steps to secure your future. I can honestly say that God has blessed us in so many ways, that cash is becoming the happening thing.
Following are Dave’s seven baby steps to remember and follow, in order to ensure your financial freedom:
- Start an Emergency Fund with $1,000
- Payoff all debt using the Debt Snowball (smallest to the largest debt)
- 3 – 6 months of expenses in savings
- Invest 15% of household income in Roth IRAs and pre-tax retirement
- College funding for children
- Pay off your home early
- Build wealth and give!
*If you would like more information about Dave Ramsey or his Financial Peace University, you may go to www.daveramsey.com.
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