Monday, July 19, 2010

The Total Money Makeover

So I finally decided to read The Total Money Makeover by Dave Ramsey. A lot of the bloggers I follow live by the principles and “Baby Steps” that Dave has developed. So I decided to check the book out at our local library and read it over our vacation to see what it was all about and if my husband and I could adopt some of his principles.

First of all the book was very interesting to me and I found I could not put it down! It was definitely an eye-opener on many of the points he makes about “myths” and “truths” in today’s society. The motto of the book is “If you will live like no one else, later you can LIVE like no one else”! It is about making sacrifices today to secure your future in retirement later in life. There are also some wonder Budget sheets and debt worksheets in the back of the book for your use. I have already made copies to look more closely at our finances and budget.

One of the items from the book we will definitely be adopting is a stricter budget. My husband and I have always used a budget but it has been loose. We have decided to tighten it up a little bit and pay more attention to where our money is going every month. It also has some great insight on life insurance, saving for retirement and saving for college.

So if you are wondering like I was, the “Baby Steps” that Dave lays out are as follows and they MUST be completed in order to be successful!

1. Save $1000 as a Starter Emergency Fund FAST
2. Start the Debt Snowball
3. Finish the Emergency Fund
4. Invest 15% of Your Income in Retirement
5. Save for College
6. Pay off Your Home Mortgage
7. Build Wealth

I was disappointed in how much he downplayed the importance of college. His book made me feel like he did not see the value in a post high school education. My personal feeling is that you should encourage your children to attend college or at least obtain some type of training post high school. I feel that this is a MUST in today’s society. Yes I am sure there are exceptions of successful people without degrees, but I feel this is the exception not the rule. I consider an education as a security policy. You need that degree to back you up in case something happens to your job. A lot more doors open when you have a degree. I have a bachelor’s and master’s degree and have had a very successful career since graduating college 10 years ago. My husband had a bachelor’s degree and will finish his MBA in December. Education is a strong pillar in our family and will always be!

Even if you do not have credit card debt, I highly recommend reading this book. Imagine paying off your house and no longer having to make mortgage payments! Or even better paying cash for a house if you are currently renting! Dave maps out the road to success to make this happen!

Dave would probably not agree with my family taking yearly vacations. But this is something my husband strongly agree on doing with our children. We plan and save throughout the year so we are able to give our kids a yearly vacation. Some of my most vivid memories as a child are our family vacations and I am striving to give my kids the same types of memories. You only live life once so you need to enjoy it. If you can afford it then I say go ahead!

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