One of my 2018 blog goals is to be as transparent as possible. I started this blog to document my journey and help others reach their financial goals. This post is not to bash Dave or say anything negative. Based on my current financial strategy, I cannot claim to follow him or his baby steps. Since I don’t follow him, I don’t post about him on my blog. There are many amazing Dave Ramsey blogs and journeys you can follow. I will only post about my own journey and strategies/products/companies I have tried. I follow many Dave Ramsey blogs and Dave Ramsey followers’ on Instagram. I have read The Total Money Makeover, Retire Inspired, and Love Your Life Not Theirs. I wanted to explain why I personally don’t follow Dave Ramsey’s baby steps.
1. I Use Credit Cards For Almost Everything
Getting rid of your credit cards is one of Dave’s major tips. I cannot claim to follow him and still use my credit cards for almost everything. I explain in another one of my posts (click here) why I think you should have a credit card in college. I learned how to responsibly use a credit card in college. Of course, credit cards aren’t for everyone. I personally use my credit cards (I have 3) for all of my expenses. I rarely have cash. For me, this works. I have never had credit card debt and I’ve never had a late payment. For the most part, I stick to my budget and put most of my expenses on my credit cards. I might try to do a cash-only month this year just to try it but I love my credit card rewards. I have one cash back card (gas and groceries), one card from college (Netflix and Hulu), and one travel card (everything else).
2. I Care About My Credit Score
In my post, Why You Should Care About Your Credit Score, I explain a little more but I have always cared about my credit score. I have a really good score and I don’t have debt so I personally think you can have a good score without debt. I will be buying a house in a few years so it is important to me to have an excellent credit score.
3. I Saved for Retirement While Paying off Debt
My company matches 100% for the first 3% and 50% for the next 3% (so 4.5% total if I put in 6%). I started working there after college and I have always put in 6% to get the match. It’s free money! Last year I increased it to 7% when I became debt free. I have a lot I need to save for in the future (wedding & house) so I haven’t increased it again. I am also contributing to my Roth IRA (index funds and ETFs) and one of my 2018 goals is to learn more about investing.
4. I Don’t Follow One Specific Plan
I absolutely LOVE reading personal finance books and listening to personal finance podcasts. Some of the books I’ve read are Total Money Makeover, Rich Dad Poor Dad, Set for Life, and Retire Inspired. I love listening to the advice/opinions of many financial gurus and taking the pieces of information that work for me. I listen to the experts and create my own plan. Right now, my favorite podcasts are Choose FI, The Mad Fientist, and Journey to Launch. I am really trying to figure out how I can retire early and invest in real estate!
- Why You Should Get a Credit Card in College
- Adjust These Areas of Your Budget Immediately
- Your Sunny Money Method Course Review
5. I Am Not Currently in Debt
Since I am not currently in debt (9/20/17 was my debt free date), I am focusing on saving as much since I will be in a TON of debt (my boyfriend has about $100k of loans) within a few years. I am currently saving for our wedding, a house, and taxes (I am getting my MBA and I don’t know how much I will owe yet). I have a debt payoff plan already figured out for when we get married. We will be using the debt avalanche method (pay highest interest rate first). I also bought the debt snowball calculator by Easy Budget on Etsy. You can use it for debt snowball or debt avalanche. It is absolutely amazing. I feel confident we can pay off the debt within a few years, so I will still be saving and contributing to my retirement during that time.
April 2019 Update: If you don’t follow me on social media, I got engaged in August 2018 and we are currently paying off my fiancé’s debt ($148k total). Although we are in debt, we are using the avalanche method because his interest rates are SO HIGH and it will save us some time. We are also cash flowing our wedding, honeymoon, and my fiancé is back in school. We have a plan and although we go over budget some months, we have a pretty good handle on our debt.
6. My Financial Situation Is Constantly Changing
Like I stated above, my financial situation will be changing. I went from having debt since 2013 to becoming debt free in 2017. I will soon go back into debt (more debt than I ever had) and then become debt free for the second time. Recently I have been researching real estate investing, travel hacking, and the FIRE (Financial Independence/Retire Early) community. About a year ago I just assumed I would work until I was 65 and then retire. Now I am trying to retire much earlier. My financial interests continue to change and evolve. As they evolve, my strategy changes. Don’t be afraid to adjust your strategy.
I wasn’t going to write this post, but I want my readers to understand more about my financial strategy and why I never post about Dave on my blog or social media. I don’t post about him because I don’t want to post things I don’t personally follow. I have absolutely no problem with Dave. If he helps you that is wonderful. The most important part is you are taking control of your finances whether that is with Dave or a combination of financial gurus. There are SO many financial resources out there.
My recommendation is to soak up as much knowledge as possible and pick pieces of advice that work for you. Don’t be afraid to be different. Don’t be afraid to lose friends or followers. You don’t need to follow any program exactly. Don’t be embarrassed about where you are currently. If someone gets mad at you because you are doing things differently, who cares. It is YOUR journey. Life is too short to worry about what others think about how you handle your finances. Let’s encourage each other even if our opinions differ. Let’s help each other reach our financial goals even if we go about it differently.
If you ever need someone to hold you accountable or you want someone to listen to you rant about your financial frustrations, your opinions, etc. just email me. I am always here to help or listen.