For non-debtors...

Saturday, March 15, 2008

So, I spent part of the afternoon today looking up Dave Ramsey stuff on Youtube. I really just discovered who this guy was, and he's pretty funny. He talks a lot about God - and I really don't follow religion, but most of the stuff is still applicable.

Anyways, I find it all a little bit frustrating. For most financial gurus out there, being debt-free seems to be the last step. Most people are like "Okay, then you're debt free! You're out of the woods! Yay!"

But.... for me, I've never been in debt. While I find many of the lessons appealing (I like to learn about budgeting and credit cards and such), I don't find that a lot of them apply to me. I have yet to find a lot of resources for those of us out of debt - things like, what to do with savings. How to invest (for Canadians), where to invest, should I even invest. Best banks, worst banks. I find that, while I feel a sense of accomplishment for staying debt free and reaching my savings goals, one at a time - sometimes I feel that that's all there is to being debt free (for now)... one savings landmark after another.

It gets kind of boring sometimes. I mean, people with debt have this huge milestone to fight to get to. You could be $100,000, $50,000, $10,000 or even $100 in debt, and you have this "debt-free" sign to look towards. All my signs are homemade - I wrote them, decided where they should be placed and how long it will take me to get there. I feel as though there is nothing "amazing" that I am reaching towards.

Now, don't get me wrong, it's not like I want debt just to have something to work towards, but I'm having a hard time with a debt-free life. I can no longer relate to friends when they say "I'm so broke". I can say "Oh, I don't have the money". But that just means that I have the money, I just don't want to spend it.

And people are having a hard time adjusting, too. Most of them say "Oh, good for you" for (usually!) bringing my lunch from home, but they get bored of the fact that I don't join in their money-broke-bonding time. Almost everyone I know struggles with money, and sometimes I feel like there's no where for me to turn.

Do you ever feel that way?


Anonymous said...

That's a really interesting perspective. I'm debt-free, too. Yeah!! And though I've never been in enormous debt, I know enough people who are to be really glad I'm free.

As for things to work for, I say we non-debtors have the luxury of choosing our own milestones. Right now, I'm saving for a house downpayment, retirement, an emergency fund and a cool vacation. These things are my goals that I'm pretty aggressive about working towards.

JW said...

Being over $11k in debt myself. I'm totally obsessed with getting debt free. Sometimes it seem like I'll never get there but, its on my mind constantly.

Dreamer said...

I think Dave Ramsey focuses so much on getting out of debt because that's where most of his audience is.

I think if you have no debt then you get to choose your own savings goals. Maxing out your retirement is pretty important and then saving for other goals like vacations, future cars, future houses, or anything. I think socking away money into mutual funds is a good way to save if you have your emergency fund in the bank. The goal is to get to the point where you can be really comfortable earning a lot of money through returns on your investments.

Just because you are out of debt doesn't mean the journey is over. It's just that the fun part of the journey begins where you can start building wealth. Grow your wealth until you reach the point where you no longer have to worry about money. Grow your wealth to the point where any emergency that comes up can easily be handled so that you didn't even have to worry about it. I think that is the next step. Make sure you have a big enough emergency fund in a savings account, make sure you are saving a lot into retirement, and then save into some mutual funds to grow your wealth!

Anonymous said...

I've been debt free for 7 years now and counting. It's true: it's boring and people think I am weird. Being bored has a way of opening up yourself to the devil and temptation. Want excitement?-go charge up a storm and find yourself in a position where you can't pay. Think of all those wonderful lawsuits, wage garnishments, bank account seizures and waiting on line at the bankruptcy court to fill your days with fun and excitement. Think about all the wild crazy nights you get to stay up and worry about your next payment or wow! even your next meal. It's fun dumpster diving and going without new clothes, ain't it?
Being debt free means you finally get to live your life.
Don't tempt the hands of fate and start thinking people paying off their debts are having a grand old time because they actually have something to DO! You just may get your wish and find yourself in financial trouble. Like someone will sue you or fall down and get hurt and sue you or you'll lose your job or get sick and need wads of cash for a cure. Want trouble? Keep wishing for it. You'll get it.

Living debt free is a challenge. Don't underestimate it or be so glub and take it for granted. There's a depression/recession going on right now. And it's heading even for debt free you and me.

Say a prayer and thank your lucky stars.

Anonymous said...

PS: find new friends!