Today I’m going to talk to you a little bit about:
- The numbers are not lying. Most of us are settling in life.
- How my family became debt free except for our mortgage
- And why I show my kids every day that they are NOT my #1 Priority
“YOU ARE SETTLING!” I was listening to a person I respect greatly speak to a large group. I think I reacted just like the majority of the people in the room did….”I know he’s not talking to me. I’ve got a great marriage, a career, plenty of food, a roof over my head, a 401k, blah blah blah. Surely he’s not talking to me.”
Well, then he dropped this nugget of information on me….
According to the Social Security Admin if you take 100 people and start following them at the beginning of their careers here is what you will find at retirement age (40 years later):
- Only 1 will be wealthy
- 4 will be financially comfortable
- 5 will be working because they have to
- 54 will be broke and dependent on family, friends, and the government
- 36 will be dead
…so 95% of us will either be struggling financially or dead, and if you are lucky to be in the living then health stats say that a third of us will be overweight. Pretty bleak picture!
So, open your eyes & look at your situation (struggling or not) to know that you could be doing better! Just Saying.
**Action: The answer is having a “growth mindset” vs. a “fixed mindset”. Read Carol Dweck’s book Mindset and start changing how you think about your situation.**
Psychology of Debt – There are generally two “strategies” in paying down debt.
If you want to play along on this one, quickly grab a pen and paper and do an inventory of your debts including the amount owed and the interest rate. Feel free to NOT include your mortgage on the list. The two strategies are:
1. Highest Interest Rate First – basically you’d take the list you just made, and order it from greatest interest rate to the least. You pay the minimum amount owed each month on all your debts and attack the highest interest rate debt with any extra funds.
The Why: Mathematically this is the best way to pay down debt because you are paying down the debts that are “costing” the most in interest first. This is likely the most popular way to pay down debt because people are so fixated on the numbers. But is it the best way?!
2. Lowest Balance First – now take the list you just made, and order from least to greatest based on the balance of what is owed. For this strategy, you pay the minimum amount owed each month on all your debts and attack the lowest balance debt first with any extra funds.
The Why: Getting out of debt is hard and you need “quick wins.” By paying off the lowest amount first you have psychologically given yourself momentum to attack your debt. As you pay off the lowest balance debt you then attack the next highest and the next. Because as you close out one debt you’ll use the monthly payment amount (that you no longer owe) to even more aggressively pay off the next highest debt on the list.
Stacy (my wife) and I paid down our debts using Option #2. We are now completely debt free except for our mortgage. Which we are chipping away at fast!!!! (I’ll save that for another post.)
Do you have a plan to become debt free? Let’s continue the conversation over on the Three Action Thursday Facebook group.
Got kids? Well, my wife and I are blessed to have FOUR!!! Every day I come home from slaying dragons, and inevitably there are one or more children waiting to greet me with a hug (often an attempt to tackle me). Pretty cool huh?! Like I said I am blessed.
But (nearly) every day I push past them and ask where their mother is. You see, I love them to death but they HAVE to know that their parents marriage is the #1 priority. This daily act is perhaps a not-so-subtle reminder to them (and me) of what is most important.
**Action: Establish a daily habit of showing your kids that your relationship with your spouse trumps your relationship with them. Examples: date night without kids, an early kids’ bedtime to spend time together at home, seeking your spouse out intentionally when you first get home, etc.**