We became debt free including our home and cabin on February 28th, 2015. The last day my husband was 50. We had the goal of being debt free by the time we were 50 years old. DONE!
Am I here to brag? No !!!! The exact opposite. I am here to celebrate and give others hope that if you follow Dave Ramsey’s plan you can be debt free and have financial peace. We had a TON of debt so it took us 10 years- 9 years 9 months if you count the moment we became gazelle intense.
We do not owe one single dime to anyone! In fact, after our last recent payment on the cabin -they owe us a refund of 261.23!
Now it is time to “live like no one else-give like one else”-and save like crazy and make up for lost time!!!
We are not sure how we are going to celebrate –we are kind of in shock. We have had this carrot dangling out there for so long. Now it is time to find a new dream.
If I am being transparent– I have to admit that I got a little depressed after we paid the house off. It has been a specific personal goal of mine my whole life and it drove me to work hard in so many areas of my life. It was almost a ” now what”? feeling. I was melancholy and sad. Weird I know.
Then we continued to hammer away at the cabin– we had a ton to throw at it with the house being paid for. That gave me some more drive.
My husband has been just amazing. It has made us so much closer. We work together. He pays bills, I form the everydollar budget and we both have equal say. He is not saying “no” all the time and I am not hiding the stress of money issues from him. We were in a horrible pattern for alot of our married life. Of him putting his head in the sand, and me just doing what I wanted with our money. Not a great or successful way of doing things. We’ve never separated our money. We always have lived as one, ever since we took our marriage vows. But, we weren’t managing God’s money correctly. About 10 years ago it hit me, and I handed the bill paying responsibilities over to my dear husband. (He is way better at it. He is able to be more on top of it ;being home fulltime). It helped us both learn from each other and jump back on board with the Dave Ramsey program.
When he first started paying bills he would track me with my debit card purchases, I remember my sister warning me and saying it is never going to work. (obviously she saw how much I spent, a reasonable thought). It was a
little very tense at first but, it was time for me to grow up and be mature. We got out of debt the first time because I did it all, the second time we did it together. I think that is why we kept going and hit our goal. So— to get to the point- it is not easy. But it is worth it and the one thing that is the number one cause of divorce has made us closer. I actually had a family member say to me after I explained that we needed to put maximum in IRA for my husband every year and catch up on the contributions, ” your going to put it in his name? what if you divorce?” What would have angered me years ago, made me really sad. I am glad that I don’t view life that way and make decisions based on “worse case” scenerios. Besides, if we divorce my husband deserves half of what we have accumulated after being together for 32 years. Amen to that.
We started to teach Financial peace classes together and it really kicked our level of understanding of finances and building wealth. It helped us realize what we could do- most important volunteer and help others have financial peace. It is so motivating to sit in a class we teach and have someone thank us after class because they finally had the courage to face their debt, and to face their behaviors that caused the debt. It is fun to see them calculate how long it will take themselves to get out of debt. The difference in their walk from week 1 to week 9 is amazing. They feel confident and most important are full of hope.
Following the program, gives you a sense of power and control, so much that you get all areas of your life together. Power and control? Yes– because you are planning and telling every dollar where to go at the beginning of every month. You realize that you are in control. You learn how to get organized and take care of other areas. We did the following:
Life insurance, disability insurance, identity theft insurance, wills, IRAs, regular insurance, sink accounts, savings accounts, and college accounts and savings.
Of course we had to learn the hard way and go broke or get back into debt before it stuck!!! It’s stuck – this time– BIG TIME!
Stay tuned for Part 5 where I dig into the Top 10 stupid things we have done with money. Things that are normal…. oh yeah and I have to do our debt free scream- “WE’RE DEBT FREE!!!” FREEDOM!!!!