I had a very good stable job, with a great income. But we like many people, were living paycheck to paycheck.
We were using credit cards to make up the difference at the end of each month.
We also had almost $50K in consumer debt (car loan, credit cards, student loans, medical bills, etc.) and had no savings for emergencies or retirement and no plan to pay for college for our son.
Worst of all, my wife and I were not working together as a couple and we also realized that we were not honoring God in managing the money He had entrusted to us.
However, and most importantly, we also realized that we needed help to change our situation.
What Did We Do?
It is true that the first step in solving a problem is admitting that you have a problem. Once we did, we turned to God for help. I prayed for a way to change our situation and He answered in a big way.
In September of 2005, our church offered Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University (FPU) course and I attended the course (which back then lasted 13 weeks).
I started learning and applying biblical principles for sound financial management. My wife joined me in the process and we began a life transforming journey for our family.
The changes we made paid off. We are still living on a budget. We still have a plan for our finances. We have learned to live on less than we make.
In 29 months we paid of all of our consumer debt ($50K). We now have a 6 month emergency fund. We were also able to pay for our son’s college education without borrowing money and without him borrowing money.
We have a structured plan for retirement savings which we know will give us options and control of when and how to move on to the next stage in our lives when the time comes.
More importantly: we are honoring the Lord with our financial management and we are working together as a couple in every area of our lives including our money.
What Have We Learned?
As I reflect on how our lives have changed over these past 10 years, several thoughts come to mind.
First of all, I am always going to be thankful to Dave Ramsey for his FPU course and his financial teachings.
You may not agree with him on everything he teaches or on his methods and you may not like his personality, but for us, what he does was life changing and I know that he has helped millions of people more. So Dave, thanks for what you have done for us and what you continue to do for others.
You truly led us to have financial peace. I hope I can join you in helping others to win with their money.
Second: once I understood the incredible power of learning to control your money I knew I had to share what I learned with others.
That’s why I became a financial coach. That’s why I blog. That’s why I do a Podcast.
I want you to have hope for the future!
If we could achieve victory with our finances, you can too! All you have to do is decide that you need help and that you will do what you need to do to change your financial destiny.
Third: I am fully convinced more than ever that if you are married, you need to work as a team with your money. You can’t have the view that it is “my money” and “your money”. Or “your debt is your problem”.
You have to be all in as a couple. If you are engaged to be married, start talking about money now. Your goals and dreams. Your fears about money. Your mistakes with money. Your view on money.
Put it all on the table and begin your life journey together by getting together on a plan for your money.
And finally, the most fundamental lesson I have learned is that we are to honor and serve God by managing our money well.
It is not only about giving tithes and offerings although that’s important for those of us who claim the name of Christ.
It is also about honoring God in how we use our money. How we save, how we plan for the future.
And it is also about having a lifestyle of generosity. If you are in a position of strength, you are in a position to really help those who are in need. Only the strong can help the weak.
We are designed to be givers. To be rivers through which the blessings of God can flow to others.
Regardless of where you are today, decide that generosity will always be an essential element of your financial plan.
So what about you? Where will you be in 10 years with your money? Or where will you be in 10 months?
Will you have financial peace? Will you be in your way to financial peace or will you simply stay where you are?
The last lesson I have for you: It is all up to you!!!!
Question: What would financial peace look like in your life?