Friday, September 23, 2011

Money Makeovers and Attitude Adjustments

During our first year of marriage, Jeff brought home a book called “Total Money Makeover” by Dave Ramsey. (It must have been a first edition or something.) Needless to say, Jeff devoured it. He is, after all, an accountant.

I, however, cannot say that his newfound delight peaked my interest very much. (Forgive me; I think I was busy reading some seriously theological stuff at the time, like the Left Behind series.)

I remember the basic financial principles though. They were something like, “Blah, blah, blah. Emergency fund. Blah, blah, blah. Snowball. Blah, blah, blah. Debt free.” Yep, that about sums it up.

In all sincerity, though, I thought it sounded very nice. Very responsible and all that. Very Jeff.

But, like I said, I didn’t really get into it with quite the same fervor. It was more Jeff’s speed. And I was more than happy to let him go about his merry way, planning our finances and our future, while I moved on to another book series. (Forgive me; I think it was Harry Potter.)

Fast-forward to a crashing economy and a three-year run of company-down-sizing.

Um, gee, what can I say? I’m glad I married an accountant. Actually, I’m glad I married Jeff. He had the foresight, not to mention the self-discipline, to prepare us for darker days.

Our church is currently offering Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University. It’s a 13-week series to help people get on track with their finances. We’ve enrolled, and I have to say that my attitude is different this time. While the information is the same, I am much more willing to participate in the program’s plan, and I am no longer defaulting to Jeff’s strengths and letting him take on the bulk of this responsibility.

Have you participated in this program? Or one similar to it?



Marsha @Spots and Wrinkles said...

When it is just words, theoretical stuff, it just doesn't carry the same impact as when the family down the street tells you they are losing their house to foreclosure.

We heard this from one of our neighbors this evening. So sad, they are a lovely Christian family.

Yes, we have read similar books, and thankfully followed many of those suggestions. It wasn't always fun following them, but it surely has been validated.

Good post!

Warren Baldwin said...

We've used this program at church with good success. Thanks for promoting it. Good post.

seekingmyLord said...

Before Dave Ramsey was ever on the radio and I have listened to him a lot, I had a cash-only envelope system of my own. I do not use my debit card, but my husband uses one on a separate account where his reimbursement funds are deposited for car expenses. We both use a credit card, but only for emergencies beyond our emergency fund and online or ordered purchases, which are paid off before interest accumulates.

My husband was let go from a company who bought a company (about four buyouts total over twenty-some years) nearly four years ago and lost his company car with it. He got a job at 60% of his previous pay just before his six months of severance checks ran out and worked that job for two and a half years traveling mostly by plane.

We had only one car and this time last year we felt a strong calling to give 20% to our church for six months at the end of which we would be flat broke, the end of February. But in the beginning of January, we received a call from a recruiter from out of the blue (God works in mysterious ways), who found his resume from when he lost his first job and he was offered a job with another company at nearly as much as he made before with less plane travel, but still traveling a lot and no company vehicle.

Obviously, we absolutely had to have another vehicle and we had no funds to do that, but we do have excellent credit so instead of getting a car loan, we purchased by a credit card check with 0% interest for a year. We hoped to pay it off within two years and I will be doing some math to see if it is advantageous to transfer it or get a lowered interest rate, although I think it is about as low as any around already.

I would have liked to have purchased the van with cash, but even if we had some things of value to sell, nobody is buying in our area--too many moving sales with foreclosures here. So, I do not agree with Dave on the credit card issue, but then for over twenty years we have had a budget plan and do not have a credit card problem as many of the people who need his program do.

I have read Total Money Makeover and, if I did not have my own system, I would use Dave's. It is a very sound conservative program and quite similar to my own, but then Dave even says that what he teaches is not new, but probably how our grandparents handled money (before credit cards).