A Bodey in Motion

Building momentum, one step at a time

FPU Lesson 4 – Dumping Debt

The fourth week of FPU attacks the biggest problem most of us have when it comes to winning financially. Out-of-control debt. Below are my notes from the lesson, including the key points that I highlight from the video when leading the class, and some supplemental material that I think could help the class go further on this topic.

Financial Peace Unversity

Lesson 4, Dumping Debt

Key Points

Consumer debt has only become accepted as normal in America over the last 40 years. The credit card has only been in existence since 1950. It wasn’t until after 1970 that their use became widespread. Your ‘need’ for a good credit score is a recent invention. The Sears catalog used to warn customers against buying on credit, and now it’s their biggest money-making department.

Don’t believe myths about debt. It isn’t part of a healthy financial plan. Debt is a product being sold. Remember that whenever they offer a financing option. You’re being sold a product that is tremendously profitable for them. You don’t have to have a car payment. “90 days same-as-cash” isn’t actually the same as cash. Your FICO score has nothing to do with your financial stability. You can live a perfectly normal life without ever touching debt.

Remember the importance of gazelle intensity. It’s very easy in our culture to wander into a crippling amount of debt. Between stupid loans and consolidations, you can suddenly wake up and find yourself under a mountain of payments. Escaping from that kind of mess takes focus, sacrifice, and intensity. The same motivation a gazelle has when it’s running for its life.

Challenge

Chop some plastic. The first step to getting out of debt is to STOP borrowing more money. This is the week we break out the scissors and ask the class if they’d like to cut up some credit cards.

Go Deeper

If you want a more honest picture of how debt and wealth really works, check out these resources:

Next week, Lesson 5 – Buyer Beware.

March 27, 2013 Posted by | Marriage and Family, Past and Future, Work and Money | , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Kick the Ends Out

As a man beginning the second half of his life, and as the father of young children, I’ve come face to face with the fact that some of the things I’ve been led to believe and live simply aren’t true. A couple of concepts have become a part of our culture in the last century and it’s time to call them what they are: Irresponsible.

Both adolescence and retirement have become twisted bookends on what should be a responsible and productive life. They make living a lot like preparing porridge for Goldilocks. This one is too young. This one is too old. You can’t be trusted with responsibility and freedom unless your age is juuuust right.

…we view young people through a lens that didn’t exist back then – adolescence – a relatively modern invention that establishes teen years as a moratorium on responsibility and prolongs childhood indefinitely. When a young man is passive and irresponsible, he greatly limits his freedoms, opportunities, and successes.

Stephen & Alex Kendrick, The Resolution for Men

My son will be 11 years old soon. I’m faced with the fact that in five years, he could be learning to drive a car. In ten years, he could be ready to be completely out from under my care and guidance. How can I guarantee that he’ll be ready for these challenges, and so much more? By having vision, and remembering the big goal when it comes to his life. I’m raising a young man, not an older boy.

Adolescence tells us that we need to protect our growing children from the risks and dangers of life before they’re ready for them. The problem is, that as we add more and more things to the ‘unacceptable risk’ pile, we necessarily cut our children off from the opportunities and rewards that come with those risks. Our spirit of fear keeps them from achieving their full potential. Our young men and women are capable of so much more, and we should be encouraging them and guiding them to assess and accept risks.

In addition to paying the bills, funding education, paying down debt, we also have the stress of squeezing out the funds to maximize our pension plans so we can quit working as early as possible. In reality, retirement is a twentieth-century phenomenon that has added stress to our lives. And it starts early.

Russ Crosson, The Truth About Money Lies

In 24 years, I will be 65 years old. That’s become a magic number in our society. Retirement. When you get there, you’ve worked long enough. You’ve paid your dues. It’s time to slow down and enjoy the good life. That’s what we’re told.

I don’t understand that. You’ve spent decades amassing skills and knowledge about your field. You’ve created a network of people whose expertise you can call on. All of that doesn’t become obsolete just because you’ve turned a certain age. What does the “good life” have that makes it worth leaving all of that investment behind?

This is a rejection of long-term vision and responsibility. Don’t spend every day struggling at a job that you don’t even like because they pay is great and you can quit sooner. Look further than that. Your time is limited and your life is worth more. Seek out work that fills you with purpose, and it will offer you more life than the “good life” of retirement could ever weakly prop up.

George Washington was appointed an official surveyor at the age of 17, and was paid well for it.

Colonel Sanders founded the Kentucky Fried Chicken national chain after opening the first store at the age of 65.

Don’t let the ends of life go to waste. Kick out the stops. Raise your children to be responsible risk takers early. Look to your future with purpose and a plan. Start strong, finish stronger.

Questions: Do you think adolescence is good for children? How are you encouraging your kids to be more responsible? Are you planning to retire some day? Do you have a plan for those remaining years?

August 27, 2012 Posted by | Past and Future | , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Quick Hits of the Week

  • Over at Michael Hyatt’s blog, Russ Crosson guest posts an interesting question: What would extending your retirement plans make possible? We sort of take for granted that sixty-five equals retirement in this country, but that’s not necessarily going to hold true forever, and it probably shouldn’t. Besides, if you’re doing work that you love (And if you’re not, why not?) why would you want to stop just because you’ve reached some arbitrary age?
  • So, Dan Pearce of Single Dad Laughing has penned a very heartfelt rant about religion, love, sin, and judgement. There are points that he makes that I don’t agree with (sin isn’t a personal thing, at all) but I completely agree with the spirit of what he is saying. As a Christian, love is how I’m called, by Jesus, to live. Even if you’re gay. He even calls Christians to love their enemies.
    I’m going to climb up on my soapbox for a second. Why do we expect people who haven’t chosen to follow Jesus to all behave like Christians? Especially when we don’t? And more importantly, why do we keep passing laws to force them (ultimately at gunpoint) to act the way we believe? Do we really think we can bring them to the cross through legislation?  How arrogant of us. So, I don’t vote “Christian values” anymore. I just do my best to live them with mercy, humility, and love.
    I hope that Dan’s friend Jacob would feel welcome at my church. I hope that we’d love and welcome him.
  • I’m a huge fan of the work Lenore Skenazy does over at Free-Range Kids. I don’t know if it’s the fear of litigation, or ever-present (but hardly realized) stranger danger that drives our culture to extreme risk-avoidance, but it concerns me. It’s not healthy to constantly take precautions against what might occur. For example, just in time for Easter: Beware of Palm Sunday.

April 5, 2012 Posted by | Quick Hits and Links | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Quick Hits of the Week