Friday, April 18, 2008

Financial Peace Is An Oxymoron

But we're hoping that one day it won't be. You see, Ren and I are on the Dave Ramsey train. We've been following his stuff for quite a while, listening to his radio show, reading his books, attending Financial Peace University, etc. We've actually been hosting a FPU group at our church on Monday nights for the past couple of months. This is the second time we've taken the class, and honestly, I get a little dismayed when I think about how long we've been applying some of these principals in relation to how much further we still have to go. Now, granted, we haven't always had gazelle intensity, but we haven't given up yet, and we're not going to!

The past couple of classes have been a little overwhelming for me, I must admit. At our last class, Dave taught (via video, of course) about saving for your retirement and your children's college funds. The week before that was all about wise investing. Now, Ren and I are still on Baby Step #1, which is kind of discouraging. So, the idea of investing and saving for college is a bit far off into the future for us. Truth is, we've actually completed Baby Step #1 like 10 times, but we somehow end up needing the money for some type of "emergency" or another. So we're actually kind of in limbo somewhere between Baby Steps #1 and #2.

All that to say, it looks like we're going to be cutting everything to the bone. And when I say everything, I mean EVERYTHING. Anyone looking for a couple of great house cats? We're even discussing cutting our Dish Network subscription, which isn't totally crazy because we, including the kids, never watch it. We just don't have time, and the kids would rather watch their DVDs. Ren is even in Ebay mode. And I've got a sweet Taylor acoustic 814CE that I'm looking to sell as well. Sad but true, but honestly the thing is just sitting collecting dust right now and has been for the past couple of years. And, let's face it, I probably won't be touring the country with my hit record any time in the near future.

There's just no stress like financial stress. It will literally choke the life out of you. It also seems to magnify every other minor problem you have in your life. Anyways, we're committed to doing whatever it takes to get out of debt and have some sort of future planned for my children. That's worth some gazelle intensity, I do believe.

We just started a financial series at Fusion Church called "Night of the Living Debt." Last week, Pastor Tony talked a little bit about how using credit is like "borrowing from the future." Basically, you're saying, "I don't have it today, but I am CERTAIN that I'll have it tomorrow!" Or next month. Or whenever. Anyway, I thought that was a very strong point, and very often a lie that we're tempted to believe. It could also apply to our time management (e.g., "I'm too busy now, but in the future maybe thing's will slow down, and I'll have more time"). I used to think that I could make a mess of things (to a certain degree, of course), and that God would somehow sweep in and fix things for me, as long as my intentions were good. I think He does that for us when we're young, but then there's just a point where you grow up and have to take some responsibility for your actions. I'm also learning that even though I am a child of God, things are not always easy, and I don't always get my way!

With all that said, I am really looking forward to this Sunday's message. Author and speaker Joe Sangl is coming to give his testimony. He has written a book called, I Was Broke, Now I'm Not. I can't wait to hear what he has to say.

P.S. Could you all be praying for us? Once again, we've found ourselves strapped with paying two mortgages. Technically, a mortgage and a half since, thankfully, we're in this one with a partner. As if one mortgage wasn't enough, right? It comes at a rough time for us, considering we're about to add another to our ever-expanding brood. And also considering that the housing market is at the lowest point it's been in years, we're definitely feeling it. Pray that we could sell or rent this house ASAP!

5 comments:

holly said...

will pray ang, i know all about the house market as we still sit in this one!

Amy said...

I am SO feeling your pain. Every time I don my good ol' orange apron, I am trying to remember that I am a gazelle running for my life....
Consequences suck.

Scarlet Snow ::mike:: said...

AB,

I'd like to talk to you about your guitar.

m

shannon said...

no cable, here and much better for it. I also cut Starbucks and frivolous trips into town (really wishing the train was working). Ronnie dyes my hair- ha! I got really lucky, there. And we dress warmly in the house in the winter. We live on a lot less than we used too and it's done us good. I hate to see people with their big fancy cars and sirius radios and special tvs and restaurant bills with a family that's needing more time together and a huge debt to pay!

ShadowRester said...

We are on the "do it sometimes" Dave Ramsey plan. That is to say, we can go through the program, but in general, most people are not going to be ready to do anything past step 2 for a LONG time! So the last time I looked at the info I just stopped in the book as far as we are and don't bother to go ahead (at least not through step 4). So we sit in between steps 1 and 2. Back and forth some. I think that is pretty normal, especially if you have had a lot of debt and maybe not a lot of budgeting and financial planning experience. It takes time to learn all that stuff, at least it has for me. And it has taken time to implement the principles and stay the course. I know you will make it! I hope we do too!
I have not really cut out a lot of stuff recently (we have not had cable for a while). The biggest thing I've done is setting up a budget and cutting back on grocery spending. It is hard work!