Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment. Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share. (1 Tim. 6:17-18)

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Working the Debt Snowball Again, Take 2

Photo by Martin Deutsch
My Story

If you've been a long-time follower of this blog, then you're probably somewhat familiar with my story over the last several years. But, if you're new to Rich Christian, Poor Christian, then you can get a quick overview of my history in the following posts:
And just to give you a super fast synopsis of my journey, here we go: In my first marriage, back around 2004, I ran across Dave Ramsey's original book Financial Peace. As a result of reading Dave's book, plus going through a Crown Financial Bible Study about a year earlier, I had one of those "Ah-Ha" moments. I finally understood the stupidity of debt and the importance of getting "gazelle intense" to get out of it as soon as possible. I was able to convince wife #1 the importance of getting out of about $25,000 in consumer debt. We were able to accomplish that goal in 18-19 months, finishing that debt snowball in June 2007.

After completing that debt snowball, wife #1 didn't appear to want to move forward with the Baby Steps. We floundered around, had additional marriage issues, separated, and then went through a messy divorce. Marriage #1 ended in September 2010. The one tiny ray of sunshine for me in a very dark time was the fact that I did not go back into debt as a result of this messy, long, drawn-out divorce. I believe God honored my obedience for attempting to do right, Christ-honoring things in the process. I've written more nitty-gritty details here in this post: Staying debt free through divorce.

Going Back Into Debt, For Love

Just a few months past my divorce (in December 2010), I started dating a wonderful woman who seem to be a very solid match for me in almost every area. Since I apparently wasn't a good match with money principles with wife #1, this area was obviously extremely important to me going forward, especially since I'm a stewardship pastor and fan of doing finances according to Biblical principles.

In the "fact finding" process of our dating relationship, I found out that my potential next wife had a little over $50,000 in debt as a result of a car loan and two student loans. Even though I wasn't thrilled with the possibility of assuming this much debt at some point in the near future, I also didn't immediately dismiss her because of it, either. I shared with her my concerns. I explained that if our relationship continued to move forward and grow, that I would want to run our married finances together as a team, mostly according to the Baby Steps plan as outlined by Dave Ramsey.

In our dating process, my second wife agreed to go through Financial Peace University last spring at my request. I really needed her to understand what she was getting herself into if we decided to get married in the near future. Fortunately for me, she has a financial "producer" and saver personality, so she understands most of Dave's concepts. She's just not a details, spreadsheet kind of girl. She just leaves that job to me, which I certainly appreciate, because I love details! In Dave's terminology, I'm definitely the nerd.

The cool part of going through this process with her is that she is getting to experience the victories of working the debt snowball. I think she was a little bit in shock when I told her last month that I sent in her final car payoff amount, and we even had a little extra money remaining to put toward her smallest student loan.

The Debt Snowball Really Does Work!

I'm pleased to say that after six months of working the debt snowball together, that this stuff really works, especially if you're gazelle intense about it! We've already been able to pay off her vehicle. We also just began chunking down on her smallest student loan. I'm hoping that we'll be paid off in the next 6 months, and then we can attack the final big loan with a vengeance!

Since it's been almost five years since I last ran a debt snowball, I have been pleasantly reminded how well Dave's plan really does work. When both partners in a marriage are working the plan together and you have a decent size "shovel" to dig your way out, the snowball approach works incredibly well. Thanks, Dave, for your financial wisdom and guidance over the last several years!

Where are you at financially right now? Are you debt free or still in debt? Are you working the debt snowball with gazelle intensity? Or, perhaps, you've gotten a little weary in your debt free journey, and you've slacked off on your debt snowball intensity? If I can, let me be an encouragement to you, today. Reassess where you're at on the journey, get together with your spouse (if you're married), and recommit to getting out of debt as soon as possible. You'll be happy and excited that you did!

Also, check out these related posts:

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