From the time my son was three, I’ve been a big Dave Ramsey fan. When my youngest children were young (two under two), I quit my job to stay home with our three kids. We decided to get gazelle intense with our debt. Since my husband was working part-time and attending graduate school, that meant I had to work from home. Work I did. I worked a lot, and I compromised my health.
While we reduced our debt a lot, we never got debt free.
Then we had a cross-country move.
We also had significant medical bills this last year when one of our children had a medical crisis, the treatments of which were not all covered by insurance.
Our income, while more than it was years ago when I was gazelle intense, has never really grown much.
My husband and I were talking about finances recently, and I mentioned that I’d like to get gazelle intense again.
But, my husband, not so much.
He sees our children growing up, and he doesn’t want to work, work, work trying to pay off debt. Instead, he wants to spend more time with the kids, take vacations with them, and just enjoy them before they fly the nest. As fast as time is going, that will be all too soon.
Turns out, my husband is not alone in this sentiment.
Recently, I stumbled upon a Daily Worth article where the author’s husband felt exactly as mine did. He didn’t want to spend all of his time working and penny pinching, not enjoying life, in the hopes that he would one day be debt free. The author writes of her husband, “He didn’t want to wait another five years to take our first family vacation. He didn’t want to give up a decade of our lives in order to live my extreme version of the American dream. He wanted a house in a better neighborhood that was actually big enough for our family. He wanted to spend some of the money he had worked so hard for. He was done.”
So, too, is my husband.
That doesn’t mean we’re going to go crazy spending. What it does mean is that we will save money to take a vacation with our kids. (The only vacations we’ve ever had were when we took the kids along when my husband attended conferences. I took the kids to see fun things while my husband worked—not exactly a family vacation.)
We’ll finally start putting money in the kids’ college funds, and we’ll also start funding our Roth IRAs. (We didn’t want to do these two things until we became debt free.)
My husband is expecting a substantial raise soon, and we will use some of that money to pay down debts, but we’ll also use some of that money to enjoy now. After all, you’re never guaranteed tomorrow. . .or retirement.
If you’re in debt, is your goal still to be 100% debt free, or are you choosing to live and enjoy your life now while paying down debt?