Friday, July 22, 2016

What Could Possibly Happen In Five Debt-Free Years?

Five years ago today, we made our way to Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace Plaza. It was for the sole purpose of sharing, on Dave’s radio show, the story of our debt-free journey. We were finally able to scream, “We’re DEBT FREE!” on air.

After the call, we signed the wall in Dave’s lobby:

"$95,283.00 in 51 months! We're Debt Free in STL, Wesley & Mindy"

This was before the live video stream and audio headsets of today. We called him from a real phone, which was sitting on a stool in his bookstore. He’s come a long way since then and so have we.

We are now solidly in Baby Steps 4, 5, and 6, but the last five years have been interesting. About 6-9 months after BS3 was complete, I switched jobs and took a significant pay cut. Little did I know at the time how much God was going to bless our family through this move. Being debt-free gave me the peace to make that decision confidently. Two years later, I was promoted twice at work within a 15 month period. I work and interview a lot better without the stress of debt on my shoulders.

Also, during the past five years, we completed a kitchen/dining room renovation. We did a lot of the work ourselves. Because we upgraded some of the finishes, it cost about double what we had originally planned, but we cash flowed it all and are enjoying it now without any loans. More than enjoying it, I’m kind of impressed with it, since I also designed it.

In February 2007, when we started our debt-free journey, we had a five-figure negative net worth. 51 months later, when we became debt-free, our net worth was positive and just over the six-figure mark. Today, we have been able to take that original negative net worth figure to the positive side and multiply it by ten. God is truly good.

The funniest part of the debt-free scream is that it almost didn’t happen. I didn’t think to contact Dave’s office and set it up weeks in advance as he now tells people to do. The day before, we were at my Dad's, about 30 minutes south of Nashville. We had just arrived there from our first ever debt-free, week-long vacation in the Smokey Mountains. We had been debt free since May and planned to do our debt free scream the next day. I was laying down in the afternoon. Suddenly, I jumped up and thought, I should probably call them and let them know we'd be there tomorrow. I called and left a message. Thirty minutes later, I got a call back and it was all set up. We'd be on the air the next day, live from the lobby. It wasn't until I got home and told my friend, Jen, about what happened when I realized how fortunate we were to have done our debt-free scream on such short notice.

I’ll close this with the Five Principles, I learned during Dave Ramsey's "The Legacy Journey" live broadcast:

“While earning an income over an extended period of time, you will develop a level of wealth if you follow these five principles.

1. Live on a written budget.
2. Avoid debt.
3. Foster high-quality relationships.
4. Save and invest.
5. Be incredibly generous.”

I’ll just add, if I can do this, I know you can too. Follow the Baby Steps…..

Follow this car to Financial Peace Plaza....