Random conversation

Was talking to an acquaintance today. He just found out that he’s going to be the dad of twins…and he just bought a $240k house….and he worries the economy is going to implode…and he has student loan debts…and…and..and…

I almost had sympathetic bowel cramps just thinking about the stress he must be going through. He’s a nice kid, but he is a kid..and I cant imagine the kinda pressure he must be under. We chatted a while and he told me he has some debt from the IVF treatments that got him the twins, he has some student loan debt, and he has this mortgage that he just signed up for. I said, “You know, I got something here I wanna give you.” I had, coincidentally, brought one of my extra copies of Dave Ramsey’s The Total Money Makeover to the shop with me that morning and I handed it over to him. He said he had been listening to the radio show lately so he was somewhat familiar with it. I said, “Dude, we do pretty much everything this books tells you how to do and it takes so much stress and worry out of our lives. This stuff makes such a difference that when the book went on sale I bought a dozen copies to give to people I care about. Here, with my compliments.” Will it make a difference to him? :::shrug::: Who knows? But he’s a nice guy and if there’s a chance it’ll help him out…

We also chatted about storage food, gold, guns, woodstoves, etc, etc. He’s a classic internet meme about preparedness – he thinks the world is heading for some major ugliness and wants to spend money on gold, guns, and grub…and his wife want’s to put money in the bank and but new baby furniture. I cannot imagine what that must be like. He makes excellent money for this part of the country, but three kids and a spend-at-home mom can put a big dent in that, I would imagine. With the great income he’s got he’s in an awesome position, even with the kids, to do some great things for himself and his family if he can make himself think ahead, get the wife onboard, and have the discipline to stick to his plans and budget. But if he can do that, he’s gonna do awesomely.

Of course, discussions like these do remind me how good the wife and I have it (thus far). Other than the mortgage, we have no debt…we have money in the bank for emergencies, months of food in storage, guns in the safe, a stash of precious metals, stored fuel, and a very small circle of good friends. It hasn’t always been this way, and some of it we just kinda stumbled into, but it’s a world of difference from the situation this young man is getting into.

Unfortunately, this is the dramatically un-sexy side of preparedness. But, preparedness is about being prepared and that includes being prepared for the mundane and boring stuff…like life.  No point in being prepared for the zombie apocalypse if something like a busted water heater or dead refrigerator is enough to put you into a deep personal economic crisis. As much as I love the gear-queer aspect of preparedness, it’s just far more likely that we’ll have a personal financial crisis come up before we have blue-helmetted UN troops driving BMP’s up Main St. so it would be pretty remiss to ignore preparing for the economic angle of things.


8 thoughts on “Random conversation

  1. I too live by the Dave Ramsey rule, it has taken most of our financial worries out of the picture. I buy used cars that I can pay cash for, I have a house paid off and no credit card debt. I even took advantage of some great deals I read about in your blog. I must admit though it was a partnership with the misses, she is careful about what she buys and how the money is spent and yet never gets upset if a new gun or some unusual gear is delivered by UPS. Now if the government will let me keep what I have worked hard for and not give it all away to some illegal immigrant, or some schmuck that spent all theirs before they earned it and expect me to bail them out I will be just fine.

  2. Gawd, I really feel bad for the young’un, but it was his choice.

    Who I feel sorry for the young kids that had no sense of what debt is. I’m 65 now, but I had to leave the work force at age 29. I can remember not eating for several days, so my wife and two sons could eat. Better them eat, after 4 days, I would have a half of meal.

    I was in debt up to my eyeballs, but several years later and a thrifty new wife, my debts were cleaned up, and we while do have plastic, balances are paid off monthly. Or else the cards sit at home until they are.

    We’ve got some $ stashed, but I like to forget about it. Out of sight, out of mind.

    Good gift with the book.

  3. Dave Ramsey…man, I love listening to that guy on the radio…and I agree if you can follow his way to the letter, you will be living a much less stressful life.

    The problem is, following it to the letter. I am a weak, weak person. Like the gentleman in your conversation, I make a comfortable living, and while I am lucky to not have the IVF or Student Loan debt, I do have pre-listening to Dave Ramsey debt lingering out there. I understand his approach in my brain…Pay Off the Debt, and do without it if you can’t pay cash. We are pretty good on the 2nd part…the only time I use the credit card anymore is to buy something online, and I then use the computer to transfer those funds directly from savings to my credit card within the hour.
    It’s the ‘pay off the debt at the expense of everything else’ where I break down. The fact is, my comfortable living eats at my soul, and causes me frequent amounts of heartache. Part of combating that is doing things with my family, and particularly, an honest attempt at a date night with my wife every 4-6 weeks. By the time you figure in baby-sitting for two kids, and tickets for the movie, a bare-minimum date night is close to a C-note…and most of them are more than that.
    I know what Dave would say about that…but I also know that saying about ‘all work and no play. But…I’m careful not to go in debt for that. It’s one reason we haven’t taken the kids to Disney yet…I’m not charging $3,000-$4,000 for a week of fun.

  4. We don’t drink the Dave Ramsey Koolaid 100% but our practices closely mirror it. Not having debt (except maybe a reasonable home) gives a lot of flexibility to save for something we need/ want or pay the bare minimum and get by if things are tough.

    I’m probably not much older than him but we are in a fairly different money place.

    It was a nice thing you did. Hope he reads that book, passes it to the missus and they get on the right track.

  5. Amen to all that…

    The best feeling ever was when I paid off my house. Since then I’ve focused on the important stuff. Cash on the barrel always!

  6. Dang, I bet he is in some debt – IVF treatments run around $12k each, not covered by insurance, and god knows what the average student loans run up to these days. Sounds like the very first thing he needs to do is make sure his wife understands the situation and is reading from the same page.

  7. As one of my buddies said to me, “You lead a frugal lifestyle.” Amen brother amen. Truck? Paid in cash. Car? Paid off. Credit cards? Two that I pay off monthly. Cash in bank? Some. Silver? Some. Other than this house (Grrrr, long story) no bills.

    Student loans? Why? There is a PLETHORA of free classes online from some MAJOR Universities (MIT, Ivy League). Zero Hedge has some interesting reads on the whole student loan bubble and discrepancy(ies) in starting place in life, education et al.

    Insofar as your buddy and his wife. I suggest they have a heart-to-heart on finances. And send her to the Shadowstats web site. Hopefully that’s a wakeup call.

    Personally? Either I retire from the military in the next three years, or I take a position out West in the Great Redoubt (Tm – Rawles). Lord I love the South, but, living only 30 miles from Atlanta? The Hordes would flood all over me.

  8. I’ve know about Dave Ramsey and have read his books for many years, wished I had heard about him sooner. Wouldn’t mind paying that forward to someone else and I’ll bet there are others out there who have discovered the freedom/joy/peace (financial anyways) of being debt free who wouldn’t mind doing likewise. I checked your amazon wish-list but didn’t find any of his stuff listed. Not saying I would jump on it now if you did, but Festivus will be here before you know it.

    Not sexy at all, but arguably more applicable to more of your readers than most of your posts.

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