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Some Financial Peace

Financially, this is an exciting time in Mark’s and my life together. And in our marriage, really. Have you ever heard of Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University? If not, you should check it out.

If you have heard of it, you probably fall into one of three categories:
A) You haven’t gone through it yet, but it sounds really exciting. You’re not sure how or when you’ll go through it, but you know you want to. You may or may not have debt and problems with money to work through, but you’re excited to learn more about  how to manage your money.
B) You haven’t gone through it, and you know you never will. It sounds like a load of cockatoo poo. You probably have some problems with money or problems with self-discipline that you’re not ready to work through.
C) You’ve gone through it, and you know it’s the cat’s meow. Your life is changed for the better because you had a heart-to-heart with yourself and your spouse about money and feel free for the first time in your life. Your relationship with your money might not be perfect, but you’re paying off your debt and know you’re on the right track.

These categories are probably be too simplified. Obviously I haven’t taken into account every possible situation and circumstance. But on the whole, from my experiences of talking to people about money and Dave Ramsey, these are the three reactions I hear.

As I said, it’s an exciting time for Mark and me in terms of our money.

WARNING: I am about to talk about personal finances. I am aware that this subject is taboo in the U.S. and may make some of you uncomfortable.

We have a lot of debt. As debt goes, it’s ‘good debt.’ But Dave Ramsey would be quick to tell me that there’s no such thing as good debt; it’s all bad. Debt is bad. Debt means somehow, at some time, you’ve spent beyond your means and you’re now paying for it, literally. Debt means that you’re throwing a large chunk of your money away every year on icky interest.

All of our debt right now is school loans. We haven’t bought a house yet (specifically because we know that as soon as we buy a house, the amount of money we spend on our house each month will skyrocket), so we don’t have house debt yet.

Here are the numbers, so specific that they will make the average American uncomfortable and feel like they’re trespassing into our personal lives:

$60,000 – roughly, the amount of money in school loans that Mark and I graduated from college with, combined.
$20,000 – roughly, the amount of one of Mark’s loans that we just finished paying off. Yaaaay! Honestly, I still don’t feel like the numbers add up right. Together we’ve been making less than $40,000 per year since graduation three years ago. I think God must have been making secret payments into this school loan when our backs were turned to get this baby paid off so fast.
$39,000 – roughly, the amount that remains to be paid off. This is still a lot of money.

Remember yesterday, when I was talking about yeast? About trusting God to be who he says he is and do what he says he will do? Well, this is one area where my ability to trust is tested. Yes, God has helped us pay off one large school loan in a short period of time, but then I start to roll things like wanting to buy a house, wanting to start an adoption process, and a bunch of other things around in my head, and the debt seems insurmountable again. But God truly is faithful. He has given and will give us what we need just when we need it!

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