Friday, September 14, 2007

"Better Than I Deserve"

My DH and I both retired early to take care of parents, quitting before we were eligible for Social Security. I had a great retirement package as a public school teacher, but my hubby really just quit. Mind you, we're not wealthy people. But I had been working toward retirement for many years, always saving any pay raises I got, and purposefully living below our means, paying off credit cards in full each month and limiting our debt as much as possible. Now, we have DH's SS, and this next year I will be eligible for it, too. I've since inherited my Daddy's estate, part of which we gave to our daughters, so we could enjoy seeing them make good use of it. But there's a good bit in the bank right now, waiting for us to decide how to best invest it for future growth.

Am I bragging? Well, maybe, but really I'm just stating the facts, Ma'am, just the facts.

So, it's been really interesting to listen to the Dave Ramsey show on the radio every morning, as we were living the debt free lifestyle long before we ever heard of his Financial Peace ideas. I can testify that it does pay off.

We both owe our frugal ways to the upbringing of our parents, products of the Great Depression. Fortunately, unlike so many couples, who have succumbed to easily obtained credit cards, payday loans, car title loans, and sub prime mortgages, we always strove to stay out of debt. When we did find it necessary to use credit, we were careful to get the best interest rates and pay everything off just as quickly as possible. We also tithed through almost all our married years, although there were a few times when we didn't - something I'm not the least proud of. That good stewardship of our money left us financially able to quit our jobs and take care of our loved ones. We are both very grateful for that, and wouldn't have had it any other way.

So, if you are one of the many who is carrying a load of credit debt, I would urge you to spend some time listening to the Dave Ramsey show, reading his books, or exploring his website. If you weren't fortunate enough to have had prudent teaching from your parents about how to live within your means, or you just didn't follow their good example, then he may be able to help you live better than you deserve, too.


Sheila said...

I've listened to his show and you are right. I hope others will check him out. Unfortunately, we have some of the bad habits.

Dirty Butter said...

He had a sale on all his books not long ago for $10 each, so we bought 5 different ones, read them, and then passed them on to one of our daughters. When she finishes with them, they will go to our other daughter. Figured it might help, and couldn't hurt.

Marsha said...

I haven't heard of this show before, but I love Suze Orman, thanks for the advice. My husband and I are debt free too. This lesson was passed along to me by my parents as well. I am very proud of the fact that we save and live below our means. My parents were able to retire early due to their saving ways as well. I do believe that having a savings account and being debt free makes for a happier life style. My friend's with their fancy cars, big tvs and house full of stuff, they are not very happy and always worried about money. It is nice not to have to worry about money.

Dirty Butter said...

You said a mouthful, Marsha! It IS nice to not have to worry about money!!

Norma said...

I've often wondered what will happen when those of us who had parents to talked about the Depression are gone. My children don't have the same sense of staying debt free that we have.

Dirty Butter said...

I think it's in our nature to want what we cannot afford, Norma. Look at Adam and Eve! LOL

So, the economy tends to run in cycles, and I think you're right that the boom/bust times come when there are no longer enough eders telling how it used to be when times were hard.

The mess with sub prime loans would never have happened to those who lived through the Depression, and probably not many Boomers, either. But young people are just now getting a taste of where foolish borrowing leads.

I'm relieved Bush didn't try to bail them out. If he had, it would have perpetuated their rose colored childish view of credit and eventually led to another Depression.

Naomi said...

Hi Rosemary

Great post. Unfortunately today's society encourages us to buy lots of things we don't really need and can't afford. It's certainly true in England where we're bombarded with junk mail advertising loans and credits cards. It's all over the tv too.

P.S. Just came across to remind you to let me have your post if you want to join in the England carnival. Need it by tomorrow or Saturday latest if possible Rosemary. It's all going quite well at the moment. I've received quite a lot of posts.

Dirty Butter said...

I'm not surprised to hear that the push to buy on credit is rampant in England, too, Naomi. Instant gratification seems to be the characteristic of today's society in lots of areas, and certainly when it comes to buying things we don't really need or can't afford.