It’s no secret that I am a big Dave Ramsey fan. Following the baby steps Dave promotes allowed us to finally pay off all of our debts except our mortgage (still working on that one) a few years ago. It was a life changing experience, especially since I was laid off from my job of 21 years just 3 months after we paid off that last debt.
When we were battling through paying off those debts I listened to Dave’s daily radio show for encouragement to stick with it. Since paying off that last debt, I have continued to listen to the show each day simply because it helps me stay on track financially.
Of all the calls that Dave receives, by far my favorite are the debt free callers. People call in to tell their story of how they have paid off their debts and finish the call by yelling “I’M DEBT FREE!!” Those calls were extremely encouraging to me when we were paying off our debts, because they were a reminder that if they could do it, I could too. I still love hearing those stories.
Working for a purpose not a payment
Recently, I was listening to one of those debt free calls and the caller made a statement that I just love. He stated that now that he had his debts paid off he was looking forward to being able to work for a purpose instead of a payment.
I love that.
Do you work for a purpose or for a payment?
I remember the years before we paid off our debts. I made a decent wage and yet I always felt broke. I always thought if I could just get ahead a little bit I’d be ok, but that never seemed to happen. The debt payments ate up any excess I had.
From time to time I’d get serious about trying to make some progress, but then something would break or I’d see something I really
needed wanted and soon I’d be back to where I started.
I suspect my story isn’t that much different from most people’s. I was spending my working life mostly working for payments.
I believe one of the real keys to getting out of debt is flipping that script. When we have a purpose, it is a lot easier to make the temporary sacrifices needed to get rid of those payments.
As a Christian I believe the Bible clearly calls us to tithe and yet I have seen statistics that indicate less than 2.5% of Christians actually do it. Why is that? Is it because Christians are naturally selfish, miserly people? I don’t believe that for an instant. I have spoken to many people over the years of teaching Financial Peace University. Many times I have gotten questions about giving while they are trying to get out of debt. For most of the people I talk to it isn’t a matter of desiring to give. It is a matter of simply not having anything left after they make their payments.
I have also seen statistics that nearly half of all baby boomers do not have enough savings to cover even basic needs in retirement. While some people may have a live-for-the-moment mentality, I believe most people wish they could save more. They dream of what they would love to do in retirement. But it is really hard to save when all the money is going out in payments.
I believe one of the biggest problems facing us over the next few years is going to be student loan debt. Student loan debt has now well surpassed a trillion dollars. That debt is stifling for so many, affecting their decisions and options for years. Many parents desire to help their children limit the debt they take on by saving to help with college expenses. But once again it is hard to save when our payments are greater than our purpose.
Consider the life you’d really like to live.
Perhaps, you’d love to be a one income family so one of you could stay home with the kids. Maybe you’d like to have a nicer home in a better part of town, or perhaps you just dream of owning your own home but right now it is just a dream. Or perhaps you’d like to change careers but that change would mean less income at least for a time. Maybe you dream of traveling or perhaps there is a hobby you’d love to be able to pursue. Or perhaps you’d just like to go to sleep at night without worrying about how you will pay the bills.
Change for the better
I challenge you to find a purpose that is greater than your payments.
Dream a little.
What would it feel like if you could choose what you wanted to do with your paycheck each week instead of having a large part committed to payments before you even earn the money?
What would it be like to work for a purpose instead of a payment? If that sounds good to you commit today to making it happen.
Here are some articles to help you get started: