If you follow me on Facebook or Twitter you’ve probably already heard this incredibly exciting news, but I’d like to go into a little more detail.
When my bro/sis-in-law asked us about possibly joining Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University class, we weren’t sure. Mostly because it cost $100 and we didn’t have $100. But after some prodding and worrying (from me. Would they scrutinize our finances and check up on us all the time? No.) we agreed to take it. We missed the first week (and have actually missed a couple more) but this class has literally changed our lives. We think about money in a completely new way. Instead of instantly satisfying ourselves by buying groceries or going out to eat we think of all the ways we could use that money instead. Granted, Jason has always been frugal and in a way so have I and we weren’t splurging on anything and everything, so this class wasn’t that much of a stretch for us. But we didn’t have hope. We were living paycheck to paycheck like most of the US population. We were lost and didn’t know how to organize our money.
But this class is disciplining and conditioning us to think about our futures for retirement, kids, their college fund, and most of all it is giving us hope. Hope for our futures. We don’t have to be poor and working at Lowe’s in our 60s. We can be MILLIONAIRES (and we will be) and can live a comfortable life by giving to others and enjoying God’s earth.
I remember just after getting married I started to ask questions about retirement. How do we save? What’s social security? How do we pay for our children’s college education? All of these questions, and TONS more, have been thoroughly answered thus far and we aren’t even done with the class. We have three more weeks.
So this leads me to our big announcement:
WE. ARE. DEBT. FREE.
We don’t owe a single penny to anyone. (Besides insurance and cell phones, of course.) We wrote a big fat $2500 check to the bank our car was financed with and said good riddance. We paid the last two installments of my tuition and said see ya later. (Thank you tax refund!) When I wrote those last checks this morning I didn’t know what to feel. But for the rest of the day I gradually felt that burden lighten and realized that we don’t have to budget for those things anymore. We have a hunk of money free each month now. To SAVE! To build our retirements. To buy a dishwasher. (HALLELUJAH AMEN!) To finally chuck this old iPhone 3G and upgrade (eventually) to the iPhone 5.
It’s crazy to think that before this class I didn’t really know that being debt free was possible. I never paid a great deal to my financial future. Now I we do. (I love being married.)
We have hope. We finally, finally have financial peace!
In honor of the month of love I painted my nails a very peppy shade of red! Happy February!
Since Jason and I started taking Financial Peace University by Dave Ramsey, we’ve noticed some things:
1. We can seriously become millionaires if we make our money work for us.
2. We need to get some new bills.
3. We aren’t as poor as we thought we were.
4. EVERYONE needs to take this class. (SERIOUSLY. Even you high schoolers!)
5. It’s never too early to start saving for retirement. Never.
By new bills I mean life insurance, renter’s insurance (which we won’t always have, but since robberies have increased at the school–that’s right across the street!–we’d rather be safe than sorry), and identity theft insurance. I had the unfortunate experience of having my bank account hacked into the day before I left for NYC several years ago. Since that was such a hellacious experience I can only imagine what having my identity stolen would be like. Yikes.
When we sat down and put a name to every cent in our money it was really like we had gotten a raise. We made a plan for the whole year! We made a list of things we wanted or needed and made a budget for them. Granted, we weren’t bad off before we did the budget. Jason has done one every month since we’ve been married almost. He knew where the money was going but I didn’t even have a log in to our bank account. Well, that’s changing now since I am involved in the budget and money process.
It’s tough feeling like I have no say in where our money goes because Jason is the one with the job. Out of repressed feelings of no-Jason-you-do-what-you-want-because-it’s-technically-you’re-money-not-mine-even-though-we’re-married-and-share-the-bank-account-and-a-last-name-and-a-house-and-two-cats-so-just-give-me-an-allowance I let him handle the money even though he begged me to get involved. He always wants me to be happy and it bugged him that we weren’t on the same page. BUT! Today I got myself my own log in to our account! I also got insurance quotes from several companies. So now all we have to do is pick one and budget for it.
Last Sunday on our way up to class we rode the elevator up with an older couple. He saw my binder and said, “I should take that.” And I chuckled and nodded in agreement saying how incredible it was. He said, “We retired but have since had to go back to work. The economy is really taking a toll on everyone.”
Now, two things happened in my brain at that moment. Pity and non-pity. Pity because he and his wife left good jobs only to go crawling back to them in their 60s and 70s. Non-pity because it isn’t the economy’s fault he didn’t prepare for his own retirement. Harsh? Absolutely not.
He and his wife worked too hard to expect the government to take care of them once they retired. They worked too hard to retire only to go back to work.
I don’t want that to be my story. I want to retire. For good. And thankfully with this class Jason and I will be able to do that and live well. Really well.
Does anyone else feel slightly overwhelmed with all the grown-up things we have to do? I mean, identity theft insurance? That’s a real thing we have to pay for! Do you ever feel like you won’t ever make enough money to get all that insurance?! Sheesh!