Monday, 29 August 2016
For someone without a lot of free time to read, reading takes on an even greater meaning . . . meaning quality and value. Quality is how interesting I find the writing. Value means what I get out of it. This varies for everyone, and it varies, too, with the purpose of the reading. Information? Entertainment? “Have to” reading for a class? (I admit, textbooks and 18th century literature put me to sleep, and I was an English major!) Because this is a blog about getting out of debt and into retirement, we will focus on financial books, not whether or not Mary Shelley was a liberated woman.
The First Inspiration
Up front, I am not really sure what pushed me to begin reading about getting our finances together. It had been on the back of my mind for awhile. We sold a rental a few years ago, and didn’t use our tax refund wisely, meaning, we did not use it to pay off debt.
We started on track in late 2015, with 2016 being the beginning of serious debt reduction.
When the Subaru blew up to the point we were no longer willing to fix it, we were torn – new car, new-to-us old car, fix old car? We had sunk close to $4000.00 into the Subaru in the past year, for this and that, so when the head gasket went, so did the Subaru. We decided on a new car because the used cars we liked were too expensive for their mileage, and the one that seemed a best value was the HRV.
With that purchase, one credit card we have bumped its interest rate to a tad above 20%, and that tipped it for the plunge into “gazelle-like intensity.” (That line always makes me laugh!). This made me furious, and thus the serious move to reduce debt began, and while I had read Dave Ramsey’s Total Money Makeover, I dug it out, and began in earnest. We paid off our lowest card this month. And now the revenge on that 20% card begins – while it may not be with F-you money, it is still an F-you!
The First Book: The Total Money Makeover
Yep, we do owe Dave a lot. He’s inspired us with his simple method and the short, inspirational tales. The psychology of getting one card out of the way was and is an important element for us: it made us feel successful. That psychological factor was very important for us. The empowerment is heady. We have felt like financial failures, even though we did not talk about it, for many years. Feeling like a failure leads to victimhood and to acquiring more and more debt – that’s what financial failures, do, right? Feeling in control decreases the sense of being a failure, and that, in turn, decreases victimhood. We ain’t no stinkin’ victims, man!
The next credit card will be a bitch. It has a horrid interest rate, and the plan is to pay it off in June 2017. This means an average payment of $1400.00 / month for ten months, beginning in September. This, and continuing to aim for $1000.00 in savings per month, for back up money and for property taxes. It will be tight. And whatever needs to be paid off in June, to make that goal, will come out of savings.
Once we started reading about and thinking about getting out of debt, the internet search began. A lot of great things are out there, and the fact that there are blogs about real people doing the real financial independence thing, and writing on a regular basis, is a big help. Isolation is not a good thing, and though I doubt we will ever meet any of these bloggers, they help us stay focused. We see where they have been and where they are going. A number of the blogs I enjoy are on this site, in the inks, for my easy access. I have my favorites . . .
Besides the blogs, new books are coming my way. Some I like, some I don’t. JH Collins book, The Simple Path to Wealth, is a good read, though I haven’t finished it, and I am enjoying Ramit Sethi’s I Will Make You Rich, too, but I was hesitant at first simply because of the title – it is a bit over the top for me – but is worth the read as there is a lot of good stuff in it.
Now, time for coffee!