Funerals have a way of making us think differently about life. They can be a strange combination of heartbreaking yet inspiring. Funerals give us a chance to step back from the day-to-day grind and reflect on what’s truly important in life.
I’ve often left funerals feeling inspired to make changes in my life to be more present, invest in relationships, and help others. Each of the three funerals that I’ve attended recently had a common theme to “live life to the fullest”. This can be a strong message when you (me) may not being doing so. Life is short, and sometimes it takes a swift kick to the gut to get us to realize this truth.
Three funerals in Eight Days
All three funerals were for individuals in different stages of life taken for different reasons. All were heartbreaking in their own way.
- A young man who took his own life.
- A sweet woman with medical complications
- A mother of two young children with aggressive cancer
Continue reading “Three Funerals in Eight Days: Why Don’t We Live Life to the Fullest?”
2017 Year in Review
Paying off debt is hard. Not because it requires any type of special skill, but because paying off debt requires a tremendous amount of discipline. Setting realistic goals is important because it allows you to keep focus even when things get tough. Paying off debt is kind of like watching grass grow. If someone were ask you to sit outside and watch the grass grow it would be incredibly easy and boring. However, it would require a lot of discipline to stay focused. Okay, so maybe that wasn’t the best example but you get what I’m saying. Now, if you could trade grass clippings for financial freedom, it might be worth the effort.
From a debt pay down standpoint, 2017 has been our most successful year yet. It has also been the least exciting when it comes to spending money. In the past we’ve almost always spent money on a big ticket item or two that prevented us from aggressively paying down debt. Sometimes the purchases were necessary such as when our HVAC system went out, other times not so much such as buying a wave runner (yes, really), taking a nice vacation, or purchasing a newer used car.
I mentioned in my blog post last week that my wife and I sat down last year and actually wrote down our goals. I believe that goal setting is one of the most important things you can do to achieve success. While we kind of had goals in the past, the process of sitting down and actually writing out our goals made a big difference. Continue reading “The Importance of Setting Goals: 2017 Year in Review”
Following the Dave Ramsey Plan (not really)
As mentioned in my initial post, when we started our journey in 2011 to pay down the nearly $200,000 in debt we had accumulated it started by reading several different personal finance books. One book that had a lot of influence was Dave Ramsey’s “Total Money Makeover”. This book, along with others, helped change the way we looked at money. Money was no longer for purchasing stuff, but for buying experiences and freedom.
The Dave Ramsey plan is a simplistic, and in some ways extreme, way to pay down debt. Dave caters to the masses, many of whom have little financial literacy. He is an outstanding communicator and does an excellent job getting his message across to a large audience. Overall, I love Dave Ramsey and his message. I am grateful that he helped change our approach with money.
A few of Dave’s general teaching and principles are below. Some we follow closely and others not so much.
Follow the “Baby Steps” to Financial Freedom
If you are not familiar with Dave’s “baby steps”, you can click here for a quick overview. The baby steps have basically been our goals for the past several years. When we had seven different student loans totaling nearly $50,000 we paid them off one-by-one using the debt snowball method. Once we paid off the loans and cars, we immediately started saving for the emergency fund. Now, here we are several years later on baby step 6. We are so close yet so far away from getting the mortgage paid down. Continue reading “Following the Dave Ramsey Plan (not really) to Financial Freedom”