Friday, December 07, 2007

It's a Personal Decision

Getting out of debt seems obvious to me now, but a year ago I would have laughed at you and said, “Isn’t that what life is about? Working to make money so you can send the minimum amount due toward your debt payment?”

Now that I’m on the other side, I can’t imagine going back to the way were living. We had no financial plan, tons of debt, new cars, weekly trips to the mall, almost daily trips to the grocery store. We were spending and spending and spending. We felt were were ok because we weren’t using credit cards and we had a healthy savings account. But we also weren’t seeing our financial situation progressing forward. We were stagnant. Every penny we made went right back out. And more often than not, more money went out than came in. We could tell our savings account was slowly dropping, but we never knew exactly why. Pool Boy would say, “What happened to our savings account this month?” Truth is, we had no clue. We made deposits and wrote checks. Whatever happened, happened.

I know I talk a lot about Dave Ramsey, and I’m well aware that is annoys the hell out of Pool Boy sometimes. But I really feel it was an amazing blessing that I discovered him at the time I did. We are still young and still have time to turn this situation around. I know I’ll never convince all my family and friends to see how important a financial plan is. I doubt I would have listened to anyone a year ago either. In fact, I remember making a specific comment about someone else’s frugality and laughing. Oh, if I could take that back because they were actually the smart ones. I know people are laughing at us now, but I also know that we will be the ones who will be debt free and retiring MANY years before them. I wasn’t put on this planet to make payments, and I don’t intend to live that way my whole life.

I encourage you to ask yourself these questions:

1. Do I know where every single dollar of my money goes each month?

2. Are there things that I am making payments on that aren’t necessary, such as newer cars, trucks or toys?

3. How much money will I need to retire?

4. Do I have an aggressive plan for paying off my debt?

5. Do I even know exactly how much debt I have?

6. Am I properly insured in case something happens to me?

7. Do I know how I will support myself in retirement?

8. When do I want to retire?

Please don’t wait until it’s too late to get on the right financial track. Every day you wait to get it figured out, every penny you spend, is taking you further and further away from making your family a financial success.