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January 14, 2013

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The Dark Side of the Personal Finance Industry
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Dave Ramsey might as well be the second coming to several individuals in the conservative world, and I was rather ambivalent towards him, until he started adding some more of his voice to the political arena.

That having been said, my family is experiencing the same thing your extended family is as well. We've made clear conscious efforts to stay away from debt-inducing devices. We only have one credit card in our name that it strictly emergencies only and used once every two years for one large purchase just to keep the credit rating up. We've also managed aggressively pay off one vehicle, and the other has less than $5,000 left to pay off on it. Other than that, the only other debt we carry is our house and one of my education loans (which unfortunately, is rather larger than I would like).

I feel confident about our situation, and only paying for what we need with cash. It's hard though, as the consumerism around us is tempting to get caught up with. We don't go on family vacations to Disney World, our house is always under constant slow-moving DIY and/or small contractor remodeling, and Christmas and other celebrations are small. We're okay with it, and while we might "miss out" on a lot of things other families in our situation are doing, at least we can say we're paying for it as we go; building financed memories isn't in our plans.

Just wanted to let you know there are others out there in our generation trying to so the "right" thing.

To my mind much of the personal-wealth counselling industry is flat-out exploitative, aimed as it is at people who do not have much financial sophistication. You don't see investment bankers buying Suze Orman books; there's a reason for that. Come to think of it, you don't see investment bankers buying books at all… in fact, if you're lucky, you don't see investment bankers, period. But anyway, I digress…

FYI - here's a fascinating site by a guy who totally structured his life so as to be financially independent in 5 years, by extreme reduction of expenses and saving 75% of his income. He's a good writer and a clear thinker, and his methods are thoroughly detailed on his website. Not for everyone, but many people could at least find some useful tips here:

http://earlyretirementextreme.com/about-the-blog

Thank you, thank you, for sharing these thoughts, cheers, and redirects.

Ben, it sounds like courage and sense are grounding principles for your family, which is really inspiring. Memories, happily, can be made in so many ways, and the precarity that comes with debt isn't a price that need be paid, as you're revealing.

Mike, you make good sense -- both of the common and humor varieties! :)

Neo, thanks for the link. I love the merging of "DIY ethics" to this money realm...

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