Thursday, January 17, 2013

Living Like No One Else, So Later We Can Live Like No One Else

The rich rules over the poor, and the borrower is the slave of the lender. Proverbs 22:7

"That's what Christmas is all about Charlie Brown"
This Sunday, $53,000 was given by 90 people/families/couples to outfit an orphanage in Kenya. It was all part of a challenge called Advent Conspiracy. The money was raised just by taking the commercialism of Christmas down a notch. Imagine how we could change the world if everyone took control of their finances. 

The prior Sunday, Patrick and I divulged some very personal information about our lives in front of a few hundred people. I contemplated including the video in this blog, but I was there. I remember my voice cracking and my hands trembling I don't really wish to see it from your perspective. So instead I will share what was said with a few more details.

Most people are familiar with the Proverbs passage above. We've lived it and we're getting out!

Patrick and I had the average american debt. School loans, cars, and a couple very small balances on our credit cards. What really got us into trouble was the year leading up to our wedding. At any given time one of us was unemployed and relying heavily on our credit just to get by.

We started out in our relationship knowing that we have very similar ideals and goals, even in regards to our finances. However, there was no plan in place to get us anywhere desirable. I was left frightened and hopeless as it seemed no matter how hard we worked we just became more enslaved to our debts. Patrick, I imagine felt a bit defeated as he really desired to know how to take care of his wife.

After a year of marriage and never ending frustration, our church announced that they would be hosting a 13 week class called "Financial Peace University." We knew this was our answer but weren't even sure we could afford the $90 dollars to attend. Once we knew we could make it happen we made a promise to do whatever Dave Ramsey and our facilitators told us to do, we had nothing to lose.

We were pleasantly surprised by how much we laughed and how entertaining Dave makes the class. We were also surprised that he doesn't make you feel bad about yourself, your financial status or the choices that you've made to date. But rather he encourages you to get angry about the lies society as a whole believe about credit & money... so mad that you take action.

As a result of this class we've had 4 great accomplishments in the past year.

1. We stopped accumulating debt and cut up all our credit cards.

2. We have the money to pay cash for emergencies.

3. We live on a budget within our means.

4. We've paid off almost a third of our debt. There is a light at the end of the tunnel!

This year hasn't by any means been easy. We've had to say no to our friends when they go out, even though there's nothing more we'd rather do then spend time with them. We've even waited essentially until it was an emergency to buy clothes or shoes. But we know its temporary, they are choices we are making to "Live Like No One Else, So Later We Can Live Like No One Else." 

But Financial Peace is not just about getting out of debt and building wealth. It's about relationships, it's about being a responsible steward of the gifts we are given. It's about a plan that generates HOPE! 

If you are still skeptical here are some sobering facts. The average American has an income of $52,762* but has an average debt of $83,500* with average credit card debt of  $7, 271*. There is a trend in the numbers that the higher the income the more debt as well. We started out pretty average; last year we had a joint net income of just under $50,000 and started with a debt of $55,026.90. We are not so average anymore because we paid off $14,113.74, which included medical bills, four credit cards and a car! That's almost a third of our debt and because most of our smaller debts were the ones with higher interest rates in the coming year we'll be able to pay off even more!

Start your journey to financial freedom and join us tonight or find a class near you by going here. If you absolutely can't make a class check out his free content here or get one of his books to get the ball rolling. Trust me, your future is worth the investment!

If you've gone through Financial Peace, I'd love to hear your success story too! 

*2012 stats from the US Census Bureau

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