Face it: THE AVERAGE AMERICA WILL NEVER BECOME DEBT FREE
But a poor widow came and put in two very small copper coins, worth only a few cents. Mark 12: 42
Pamela, I feel your pain. I am in your situation. I think it is important to remember that God is concerned with motives and the heart. In other words, ” are we doing our best at managing the talents the Lord gave us?”
“Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much, and whoever is dishonest with very little will also be dishonest with much.” Luke 16:10 NIV
The dry spell in our lives has not only taught me to live simply but that less is more as well. Less worry, more joy, fewer things to be responsible for keeping. This may sound strange but there is nothing we must have that God does not provide. It helps to get to a point in life when we no longer confuse “wants with needs.” When I look back over my life I can’t help but notice that almost all of the things I thought I had to have I no longer have today. Yet, I’m still here. How many things have you obsessed over possessing? And, of those things you acquired, how many have stood the test of time, as in are still in your possession. Whether it was people, money or things, is irrelevant! What matters is the truth! Do you still feel the same way about the importance of acquiring material things as you did 10-20 years ago? Some may. But if we took a poll, I believe most have changed how they prioritize things in life!
LET’S TALK ABOUT DEBT
Learning about David Ramsey’s debt solution advice provoked me to reexamine how I view debt. To come to a conclusion it was necessary to consider Ramsey’s debt solution advice does not focus on the power of faith. That said, I think, if followed, David Ramsey’s debt solution advice can change the financial picture of most people’s economic forecast. However, for me, recognizing that “with God, all things are possible” is critical. Consequently, I do not believe it is possible for any American to be debt free, even before encountering tough times like these. I have learned to discipline my thoughts and opinions where advice is concerned. In short, I treat advice like we treat “all-you-can-eat” establishments. I cherry pick, select not only what I want but some of what I need as well. While I want sound financial advice, I need realistic financial advice that takes ethnic and cultural disparity into consideration. Strategies without access to resources necessary to rise above one’s circumstance simply do not work. Can anybody build an emergency fund? Truth be told, there are many people who cannot build an emergency fund because they are too busy trying to stay afloat earning minimal or less than adequate wages. Basically, these people have no emergency fund because they don’t have one extra cent to spare. If you have not been there you probably cannot relate to this scenerio. However, because you cannot does not mean the dilimena does not exist. “Personal finance is 80% behavior and only 20% head knowledge. If you truly want to get out of debt and stay out of debt, you have to treat the root of your money issues, not just the symptoms.” Dave Ramsey
Ramsey has interesting takes on the following:
Debt Consolidation vs. Debt Settlement ~Managing your debt isn’t the answer—demolishing it is! ~Dave Ramsey
Quick Fixes – “True debt help is not instant or easy. Just like get-rich-quick schemes, you should be suspicious of anyone who promises to solve your money problems with the snap of their fingers.” ~Dave Ramsey
Should I Borrow Money to Pay Off Debt?
Ramsey says Nope! “He believes borrowing money to pay off debt is like trying to dig yourself out of a hole. A personal loan won’t solve your problem because it’s just moving your debt from one place to another.”~Dave Ramsey
Bankruptcy- “Bankruptcy falls into the same category as divorce—sometimes it’s necessary, but as a general rule, you should do everything in your power to avoid it.” ~Dave Ramsey
Debt Help that works- The Debt Snowball Method? A debt Reduction Strategy [https://www.ramseysolutions.com/debt/how-the-debt-snowball-method-works]
Power to get out of debt
While Ramsey provides a wealth of information to help people get out of debt, many will not find a key to relief using many of his methods. Frankly, his methods do not take America’s almost 50 million poor folks into consideration, nor women in general who work full-time, year-round. According to Business Insider, U.S. women earn approximately 82.3 cents for every dollar men made in 2019, based on median earning data from the Census Current Population Survey. That means women are paid 17.7% less than men, earning $10,157 less than men. https://www.businessinsider.com/gender-wage-pay-gap-charts-2017-3
There is one belief Ramsey has I definately agree with, “debt has become a way of life for so many people.” ~Dave Ramsey
Dave Ramsey is a huge proponent of settling credit card debt because you can negotiate for cents on the dollar. https://www.easybudgetblog.com/how-to-negotiate-credit-card-debt/. His strategies consist of
- Do you think you could use these strategies to get out of debt? Why or why not?
I can use these strategies because they have been designed to turn bad financial situations around. I can see myself taking baby steps. Baby Step 1: $1,000 cash in a beginner emergency fund:
Some time ago, when my husband drove 18-wheelers, an unexpected truck repair wiped out our emergency fund. Before this happened, the fund was approaching $5000.00. Taking baby steps allowed us to build our emergency fund back up by cutting all unnecessary spending, and saving $500 a month.
- Why does the Debt Snowball work and how could you apply it to your effort to get out of debt?
While the Debt Snowball can work because it reduces debt gradually; carrying out the process is easier said than done. Implementing a debt snowball system takes time and patience. My husband and I are in the process of using this approach. We took a good look at our financial situation and realized that change was in order. Initially, learning that you can probably only pay off one debt at a time may sound trivial. Believe me it is not.
- Which Step do you think would be the most difficult for you to accomplish?
The financial improvement step most difficult to accomplish will be paying off student loans. That would be my husband’s school loans. My husband says we’ll eventually pay off his student loans, “I can’t see it, don’t believe and for reasons that are too exhaustive to cover in this discussion.”
Ramsey wrote:” there’s a way out of money stress.” While his statement is true in theory it’s possibility comes with monumental challenges for many depending on economic and ethnic backgrounds.
Baby Steps to Financial Peace
There are many factors that determine whether financial peace is possible during the lifetime of the masses. Jesus said, “the poor will always be among us.” ‘You will always have the poor among you, but you will not always have me.’ John 12: 8 NIV
If we are to believe this we must examine the meaning of “financial peace” through biblical lenses to determine if the type of financial peace Ramsey eludes to is truly possible for all people.
Pay Off All Debt but the House
One cannot go wrong listing all debts accumulated whether they can be paid off or not. Examining the DNA of acquired debt forces us to examine our values. What we spend our money on evidence what we value most.
College Funding for Children
Like me, most parents want their children to go to college. These days saving for kid’s college education is getting harder and harder due to extenuating circumstances mostly tied to corporate greed. [By the time you graduate from college, you may have between $5,000 and $30,000 or more in student
loan debt. With the average student
loan debt now around $25,000 (for an undergraduate degree), today’s graduates can expect to spend 5 to 25 years or more paying off their student
Ramsey gives excellent suggestions for parents to save for their children’s college fund. Ramsey (2017) “529 college savings funds or Coverdell ESAs (Education Savings Accounts). These are both tax-advantaged savings vehicles that let you save money for your kids’ education expenses. https://www.daveramsey.com/baby-steps/5
A fully funded emergency fund of 3 to 6 months of expenses
This step is smart in my opinion, requires discipline and perseverance but is achievable. Building a full emergency fund takes full commitment. I think this idea pushes us to look beyond the immediate.
Invest 15% of your household income into retirement
This takes preparation and planning. We have failed consistently in our efforts to invest a reasonable percentage of our earned income over the years.!
For more Dave Ramsey financial advice: https://www.ramseysolutions.com/
The Bible tells us that the Lord loves a cheerful giver. When God builds wealth in our lives, He expects the beneficiary of said wealth to share his or her wealth. I’m thankful that I am wealthy in ways that can benefit other people. My love for Christ enriches my life in ways that having money alone can’t.