Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Weekend of September 17th

This past weekend was one of the best in memory, and I’ve had some great ones since being married. It really felt like two weekends rolled into one but without the feeling of being excessively tired. On Saturday we headed to Michigan for a family reunion of my wife’s extended family. The food was great, the weather perfect, but most of all I got to connect really well with a cousin of my wife’s. I’ve found that while I am enthusiastically set in my frugal ways and care more about financial well being than buying the latest trends, there is an absence of like minded people in the windy city. Those that hate debt, despise credit, and opt for savings in the same fervor as I. Enter my wife’s cousin, we’ll call him D.A.N (diligent and noble). Dan is just about five years older than my wife, is married with a beautiful daughter and has another on the way.
Now, coincidentally, Dan is who I find myself wanting to aspire to be in five years. He lives in a small town that he loves, lives below his means, appears unassuming with a quick glance but holds within him a wealth of knowledge and the heart of a lion. Dan works harder than anyone I have ever met in my life, frankly I’m in awe. In his line of work he mixes with those that earn over six figures and those whose wages barely keep food on the table daily. Dan is a producer, he loves creating and is energized by his labor, his vocation essentially is a vacation. And through all of this Dan takes pride in his daily life, loves where he IS possibly more than where he is going, and lives below his means. His “new car” purchase, was around $2,000 for a colleague’s used Ford Mustang, YOU GOTTA LOVE THAT! I certainly do. I also do not find it a coincidence that someone with similar values and wisdom, was only a family tree branch away from my wife, I definitely married up with this one!
I am also proud to say that my wife officially joined our church’s choir. This is a gloating point to me because, one of the reasons we fell in love with our home church, was the music. The choir plays an array of progressive and upbeat music. From folk, blues, gospel, and just about everything in between, the worship services that we attend have been blessed with incredible music. And now my wife is a member of that group. She has the voice of an angel and it stirred my soul watching and hearing her share her beautiful gift with the congregation, I am looking forward even more now to weekly fellowship at our church!
If that were not enough, we also took part in our second week, of our first group class of Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University. I have to say that after a few weeks I am just as intrigued of going through this course in a group setting, if not more, than before the classes began. I’ll lay it out like this: I expected 95% of attendees to have previously heard of Dave Ramsey and have been in the baby step process longer than I (two and a half years as of this writing). I expected to feel scorn and shame that my household completed a fully funded emergency fund and did not snowball our last student loan debt and have one credit card, I fully expected to be schooled in the ways of Ramsey. What I have found in this class is that 95% of those attending are brand new to Ramsey, and by comparison among those that know Ramsey, my wife and I are killing it.
Needless to say, when I learned that our FPU facilitator encouraged overdraft protection on our checking accounts to keep from overdrawing, I just about passed out. I never expected, even in a small pool as the one our class is in, to be ahead of the curve. Thus far my wife and I have sat back and observed, answering a few questions in the group setting but mainly observing. Overall we wanted the experience of sitting in a group FPU class and understanding what stages class attendees are, as we hope to be facilitators in the future. I also expected to be kicked in the butt for what I perceive as “not being 100% Ramsey.” I am on the fence of being an example, a leader, or someone to look to for inspiration in the Ramsey world. Even to this day, I re-read the books and log onto the website to get periodic boosts of encouragement from others on the site, and now I’m looking back wondering “When in the hell did I become that person.” My wife attempted to reassure me that she is always ahead of the curve in everything she does so get used to it (I love how humble she can be J). So for now I will continue tackling our goals one by one and stay on the plan we have set for ourselves: A paid for home in two years, a move to a rural community with a slower pace, and continued financial peace.

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