Financial Freedom is Possible
This weekend, my family reached a financial milestone: we paid off 100% of one massive non-value debt!
Celebrating Small Successes
I have learned to celebrate small successes. For us, this was a big deal. The 5-year loan still had a year to run. But with rising exchange rate cost (EUR – GBP), we decided it was time to attack the ‘shark’. We did and it felt awesome!
Financial freedom is a term many think is absurd and outside their reach. I did for years. My university education was partly funded by interest-free overdrafts. Along with the rising cost of other loans and credit cards, the word freedom felt elusive for a long time.
After we got married, we decided to consolidate our individual debts. The result wasn’t pleasant. The debt ‘snowball’ was huge. But thanks to practical, tough, godly wisdom and the awesome Dave Ramsey’s gazelle-intensity approach to money management, we have made significant progress.
Get Out of Debt!
Our culture has embedded a ‘spend-what-you-don’t-have’ mentality in us. We thrive on credit cards. We are naturally greedy. Problem is – it’s difficult to live this way and achieve financial freedom.
First, you must resolve to get out of debt! This is the number one principle of financial freedom I know of. I am not talking about house payments (a long-term capital investment) but the non-value debts, credit cards, store cards and overdrafts that are killing your finances.
In January (this year), my wife and I decided it was time to attack our debts for good, starting from the least to the biggest. We have stayed committed to our 3-year plan and remain on course to achieve our dream.
Financial freedom is not all about money. It’s about learning today’s contentment for tomorrow’s generosity – You can tweet that.
What Would You Do?
So before you buy that iPhone 5 or Samsung Galaxy – question yourself. Do you REALLY need it? What would you do differently today to ensure you live well tomorrow?
For us, we chose to:
- Live below our means by cutting back on spending and still give to those to whom we are committed
- Create a ‘tell-it-all’ monthly budget of income and expenditures (what we found was scary!)
- Quit borrowing more and destroy our credit cards (we literally cut them into pieces and it felt good). We were done with spending money we didn’t have. Now, we only two use debit cards from one single cash account.
- Save money (it’s called ‘rainy day’ for a reason)
- Develop a visual debt snowball so we can track progress.
If you must achieve financial freedom, a drastic change of perspective and lifestyle is necessary. It takes time, lots of hard work, tough love, gazelle-intensity attitude and strong resolve. But it’s possible. You may have to say NO to some things or people, but financial freedom is absolutely possible.
Imagine a life without debt. Yeah, go on and think about that for a minute and breathe deep.
What would you LOVE to do when you are debt-free? What other steps do you think are necessary for a healthy financial life? I appreciate your views and feedback.