There are two great blokes in my life at the moment ….. well, in my audio books collection. You might recognise their names – Dave Ramsey and Scott Pape (aka The Barefoot Investor).
The combined wisdom and clear directions from these two helped me no end to go from truckloads of debt to actually having a financial future.
They have 2 very different styles & slightly different steps in their plans but at the core their messages are the same. For me the core boils down to the following:
Have a plan, clean up your mess and build a future.
Boy did I need that. I had gleefully spent my way through my 20s gathering debt here and there like the pied piper gathers rats. Then, like any ‘normal’ person I decided that, despite all this debt, I needed more!
I decided at 30 that full time university was the way to go. Actually, in my case it was a great life choice, but it could have been better handled financially.
So, here I was, early thirties, full time student with a tiny part time income and lots of debt – what to do? Sell the house or starve? Thankfully the house sold with just enough to pay out the mortgage & the debts from my 20s.
Move on 3 more years and I’m out of uni and right into the next dumb debt thing – credit cards and a car loan! Yes! I had both and spent with reckless abandon! At that time I had a peek at my finances and realised that my income did not match my spending. So, what did I do???? Learn how to be smart? Pay off my debt? No! I got a high paying FIFO job.
Now, Dave Ramsey says you can’t earn enough to keep ahead of your stupidity – I don’t know, I managed that for years (till it caught up with me).
So, here I was, high income, FIFO job, credit cards, spending heaps on travelling & think – Hey, I know what would be great – I could buy a house! Anyway, I’m sure you know where this is going – as Dave Ramsey says – I really did have “stupid, spoiled brat debt”.
Fast forward to 2013 – now working in a job in the city that paid EXTREMELY well (but was enormously stressful), several credit cards, mortgage debt, 2 personal loans AND a brand new car. Yes I had them all! I’m walking the dog across an oval, wondering why I always seem to be broke, and start calculating the daily interest charges. To my horror I realised my daily interest rate on my consumer debt alone just about exceeded my income. Talk about your ‘Oh SHIT! moment!
Thankfully the internet had an abundance of information and so my searching began. Such great classic search lines like – “how do I dig myself out of debt” and even such great life choices like “how can I marry someone for money”. Needless to say that second one did not reveal any options that appealed, so I continued to look for resources that could help me with this mess I had made.
And then, lo and behold, I discovered this crazy American on YouTube screaming on a stage about cheetas, gazelles and how debt is dumb. Yes, I discovered Dave Ramsey’s “The Total Money Makeover”
Now, us Australians are not usually drawn to over the top personalities, but the more I read about his methods, the more I thought that this might work. My personality type is all in, passionate and I want to see progress EVERY SINGLE WEEK. Dave’s gazelle intensity debt payoff suited me to a T.
Over the course of the next 4 years I went from consumer debt, which at it’s height was in the 200,000’s, to …… drum roll please….. ZERO! (I still have the mortgage) Yes, finally in 2018, after 4 long, hard, painful years I finally climbed out of that hole and onto flat ground.
Quite simply, The Total Money Makeover changed my life.
I don’t deny I had help in the form of an emotionally supportive Mum, education, a highly paid career & no kids to take care of, but I also had to do it in a country where the living costs are known to be high, with only one income AND, most importantly, had to overcome my own stupid behaviours.
So, if you are struggling with mountains of debt, take heart, it IS possible to change your future. It’ll take work, but it’ll be worth it.
Do you have anyone who helped you change your life?