Well to start with we HAD NO IDEA what we got ourselves into, so the first thing we needed to do was admit to ourselves that we had a problem!
Mel and I got married in 2010 and came into the relationship with a respective amount of debt individually, but on a positive note we did disclose the amount of debt we were both bringing into the marriage… at least we got that part right, right?? Wrong! Reason being after disclosing that information to each other we did nothing about our debt for FOUR YEARS y’all yes FOUR years, we neglected them and put our heads in the sand like an Ostrich with our butts in the air not knowing that in a few years everything was going to come to a head and our lives were going to change forever.
Moment of Truth
As the end of 2014 was approaching I (Murphy) was in a lobby waiting for my counselor I then started to reflect on the state our marriage was in at that moment and I was scared, hopeless, confused, numb, and saw no positive end to the magnitude of stupidity we had got ourselves into. I felt like I had failed as a husband/provider that I was supposed to be for my wife.
I soon got an epiphany of the name Dave Ramsey that someone close to me had mentioned to me a while back during a conversation about finances. So the next thing I did was pull out my iPhone, typed in Dave Ramsey in my safari browser and started mentally downloading everything I could possibly find out about who this guy was. Now to say that I was enlightened would be a complete utter understatement, I felt like I struck gold and found exactly what could help us get out of debt!
Now the next step was to go home and try to rev up my wife and insert that same excitement and enthusiasm I had at the time into her, unbeknownst to me……. that was NOT going to be easy!
Realization to Execution!
Based on some statistical information from Nerd Wallet the student loan crisis in America as of March 2018 has reached a whopping 1.5 Trillion dollars! Yes you read that right!
Now mind you I did not know anything about how much America’s national student loan debt was at the time nor did I care, the only thing I cared about was how the heck my wife and I were going to stop the ongoing bleeding of debt from pouring out of our ears and how to get rid of it.
The first time I mentioned to my wife about the Dave Ramsey plan and how we were going to get out of debt she was completely apprehensive and not convinced, after about a week or so we then had a follow up discussion and she wanted to hear more…. SCORE, time to get rockin!
So the first thing we did was WRITE down every debt that we both had and faced the truth, this was one of the saddest moments we experienced together and was definitely one of our rock bottom moments. It felt like someone knocked the breath out of us, we finally admitted to ourselves that we were sick and tired of being sick and tired.
Secondly, we started a zero based budget, which is a budget that accounts for every dollar until the total at the end of your budget reaches zero. This process was very hard at first because we really did not have a budget for the first 4 years of our marriage, I don’t know how we survived financially without one….. oh wait a minute never mind we didn’t that’s how we ended up with over $229,000 in debt! Oy Vey.
Third, we initiated the debt snowball method of paying off all our debt and building wealth which was developed by Dave Ramsey. The steps are the following;
- Save $1,000 baby emergency fund
- Pay-off all your consumer debt from smallest to largest, with the exception of your mortgage
- Save up an emergency fund of 3-6 months of household expenses
- Contribute 15% of your household income to a retirement saving account, e.g. 401(K), ROTH IRA and etc.
- Start saving for your children’s college. (Optional)
- Pay-off your home mortgage early
- Live and Give Like No One Else!!
Where we stand Today!
As of Dec 11, 2018 we’ve paid off $212,000 of $229,000 of debt with a little over $17,000 remaining and to say that we are exhausted is an understatement at the least. So to put it lightly we CANNOT wait until this debt is paid off! Once we’re debt free we’ll have many options on utilizing how we want to spend, give, and invest our money. We’ll have more control over our money instead of contributing to skyscraper buildings constructed by Bank of America, Wells Fargo, Chase Bank that we see when we walk down the financial district in San Francisco, California.
In conclusion, the components of what lead us to where we are today are the following:
- Admit to yourself the damage you’ve made financially, and write down all your debt!
- Find a plan that WORKS for you, and give it your full dedication and commitment.
- Initiate a budget using a spreadsheet or software app. (We would recommend a zero based budget, and Everydollar by Dave Ramsey )
- Establish an accountability partner. (Trust me this is imperative to succeeding in your debt payoff journey)
- Add the most powerful word to your vocabulary, and that word is “NO.” (Delay gratification temporarily)
Better Your Mind Better Your Life my friends!