About a year ago, in Fall 2017, I was speaking to a friend about one of my favorite topics, personal finance. I was giving her a list of my most highly recommended books and was thinking about my favorite authors – Suze Orman, Jean Chatzsky, David Bach, Thomas Stanley, etc., When she asked about Dave Ramsey I said, “Oh, I’ve heard of him, but he’s too radical for me.” She replied, “Really? What’s so radical about him?”
I had to pause for a minute. I thought to myself, “Hmmm, what is radical about him?” I remember hearing about his philosophy and dismissing it many years ago, but then I said, maybe its time to revisit him. So I did. And it has changed my life forever.
After reading his The Total Money Makeover, I engulfed myself with everything Dave. From reading his subsequent books and listening to his podcasts, I realized that he wasn’t so radical at all. At that moment, I went all in, adhering to his baby steps and following the plan religiously. Now I must say, it wasn’t easy, and still isn’t, there are many pitfalls that come your way as you try to set your future on a new, exciting path, but my will to overcome far exceeded the temporary desires of emotional spending – and as single parents, we know how emotions can take over.
With that, I set out on a journey that helped me pay off my credit card debt and my car loan – over $10K total – in about one year, while living on a teacher’s salary and raising 2 kids on my own.
I’m still on Dave’s plans, step 3B (I have some home remodeling to do) and 4, but I am dedicated to financial freedom. So in essence, I went from being in debt and making payments to debt free, having an emergency fund, saving for retirement, and moving forward with my life; a win-win for me and my kids. Vacations happen yearly, savings is monthly, and I am on track to “Retire Inspired,” in the words of Chris Hogan.
You may be asking what made me think Dave was radical. The answer is that I didn’t like pausing saving for retirement while I eliminated my debt, but hey, it has all worked out. I feel empowered and free with no lingering debt. Besides, having a fat 401K but owing $15,000 is not exactly a goal for me. I’d rather have the 401K, $15K in savings, and no debt as a testament to my hard work and dedication. So there it is! His plan is applicable to single parents as well. It worked for me, see if it does the same for you. To learn more about Dave Ramsey and his baby steps, visit www.DaveRamsey.com.
Have you started Dave’s Baby Steps? If so, what step are you on? Post how its working out for you in the comments below.