When I bought this shirt for Emma, I knew it would turn into a post. I want her to be DIFFERENT. I want her to STAND OUT. I don’t want her to swim downstream because everyone else is doing it. She needs to be the woman she was created to be and I won’t accept anything less than that. I firmly believe that God will show her what it is she was created to do and has put us here to help guide her as she figures this out. This doesn’t mean that we will lie to her. Do not expect to see Emma on American Idol singing a painful version of Mariah Carey’s, “Hero”, and saying that her mommy and daddy told her it was beautiful her whole life. I will help my daughter be who God created her to be and if she can’t hold a tune, it is my job as her parent to cause her no future harm by being honest with her but in a loving way, of course!
So how do we teach her by our example to be the difference? One way that we’re doing this is in our spending. About seven years ago, we were introduced to Dave Ramsey. If hindsight were 20/20, we would already be debt free and living the good life. Unfortunately, we missed the mark a little here but I honestly believe we have realized the error of our way early on and in enough time to be debt free within the next 10 years (house and everything!), if not sooner. Now I tell you this because I truly believe EVERYONE needs to be debt free. I know not everyone agrees, and that’s ok. But let me give you a few good reasons for why J.R. and I are pursuing a debt free lifestyle:
#1- It’s Biblical. God clearly states in Proverbs 22:7 that, “the rich rule over the poor, and the borrower is slave to the lender”. I don’t know about you but I don’t want to be poor. Even more so, I don’t want to be a slave to anyone or anything. I accepted Christ and he bought my freedom at a high price—why shouldn’t I apply this to all areas of my life? Even freedom of debt can be found in Him.
#2- It gives Emma a future. Just like writing a will, having money in the bank takes care of her future. What happens if one of us dies unexpectedly? Hopefully we would have enough money in our regular accounts plus good enough savings that she would be taken care of without having to mourn about anything else. There’s also other funds you want to have put back for your child- college, wedding, and more. Barry & Stacy Myers worked together to write this post on how to prepare funds for your child.
#3- It teaches Emma how to continue to give herself a future. I read an article recently that talked about how Emma’s generation will be the first generation that has to move back home with their parents. I’m not sure about you all, but this caused me some serious issues with my blood pressure. I went through the roof. Seriously? My daughter isn’t even a year old and we’re already giving her an excuse to be a lazy bum? I don’t think so. Emma will be self sufficient and we will teach her how. This is not to say there may not be unique situations, but in MOST cases, once the baby bird leaves the nest, it doesn’t come back.
#4- It gives US a future. At the end of the day, when Emma is grown and married with her own children, we want to enjoy our lives, too. We don’t want all our money being thrown at her and then it’s all gone. We want to travel. We want to spoil our grandkids. We want to bless others like people have blessed us. And my crazy husband eventually wants a boat.
Now I know what some of you are thinking. You want to be debt free but don’t know where to begin. It can be a very overwhelming process and the good news is, Dave has a way to help you out! The debt snowball procedure was a lifesaver for us and really put it all in perspective. Here’s how it works:
Let’s say you start out with 6 forms of debt (can be anything from mortgage to student loans to credit cards and more). In most cases, you would think to pay the item with the highest interest, which is normally one of the items that has the most money to pay off. Now this is a good idea to eliminate as much interest as possible, however, when you’ve been paying the SAME bill for 2+ years it gets old. And discouraging. Yes, you may have paid down $2000 but all you see is the bill is STILL coming. Dave recommends you look at the bills with the lowest amount owed and start there. And it works! J.R. and I weren’t sure we bought into it until we tried it. We were sold. We have paid off numerous things this route and it keeps us focused and encouraged to keep going. Now keep in mind that interest will come into play when you have a bill that is $2200 and another that is $2400. In this case, since the bills are so close, Dave would suggest picking the bill that does have the highest rate.
Will you be joining us on this debt free adventure? We hope to have you partner with us as we work towards living like no one else, so later on, we can live like no one else!