Monday, April 07, 2008

Financial Peace

Just got back from my FPU class at church.  That's Financial Peace University.  It's a class that Dave Ramsey designed I don't know how many years ago that helps out-of-control people like myself learn how to get our financial lives in order.  Thus, "Peace".

It's a thirteen week program, and we are in week ten.  So far, I've put together a real monthly budget (every penny -almost-spent at the beginning of the month, on paper, on purpose!), gotten all my debts gathered together and started paying them all off, closed my one credit card, and have saved a little over $1,000 as a baby emergency fund.

I feel really good about these steps.  Up to this point, I've mainly spent every cent I make monthly (and then some), rarely had a balanced checking account, and had NO money in savings.

So all of these activities would seem to be helping me get my financial act together.  Now, tonight's lesson.  The theme was funding our retirement.  We learned that, if we are thirty years old and put $500 per month into a mutual fund (this is after we've paid off all existing debt, incurred NO MORE debt, and are living below our means so we can save), we would have a little under six million dollars at age seventy.  A couple of thoughts here.  One, if I were saving like that, I'd probably feel okay about retiring before seventy.  Six million seems like more than enough to be comfy in my senior years.

Now, the glaring fact:  I am not thirty.  Actually, I am not forty.  I am just a hair under fifty.

So, when I crunch those numbers, I find out that in order to retire at my current monthly income in twenty years, I will need to invest $1,200 per month into a retirement fund.  Couple of problemos here.  Well, actually one.  I don't have the $1,200 "extra" to do this yet.  But,  hopefully using Dave's strategies to get the heck out of debt and live within/below my income, I can at least start doing something towards this as soon as I get my other baby steps done.

It will take a little work, and it won't be easy, but I don't see much of an alternative.  Besides, I have God on my side, and I'm pretty certain that He trumps even Dave for retirement planning.

No excuses, though.  Dave's way sure the heck is better than what I've been doing with my money the past umpteen years.  I'd really suggest checking it out.  His site is

And I'd suggest that all people get their financial stuff in order NOW.  'Cause this later stuff - quite frankly - stinks.  

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