Since posting our Jewish Dave Ramsey story, I have received a number of comments and emails — most of them positive, but a few of them not. And I’m good with that, because G-d knows not everyone has to like me or like our story.
But what I’m not good with is the entitlement attitude that a few of these more negative emails have had. The “you can’t possibly understand because we only make $x a year” or “there’s no way we could do what you did because we have five kids and you only have three.”
Listen, whether I can “understand” you or not — and believe me when I tell you, we do NOT earn a sizeable income — and whether I have three kids or thirteen, it doesn’t really matter. Because YOUR life is still your life.
And all that negative “you don’t understand me” stuff is just an opportunity to avoid looking at the reality of it.
I am really sorry that anyone is struggling. I am. And I know how frustrating it is to feel like you have too many obligations and not enough money.
But you know what? It is what it is. And if you keep using that as an excuse, your situation is only going to get worse.
I’m not saying there are never extenuating circumstances — of course there are. But if you always use those circumstances as a rationalization for why you can’t, then you never will!
Here’s the bottom line: Every single time we spend a dollar — or, more likely, swipe our credit cards — we are making a choice. We may not be paying attention to that choice, but we are making one nonetheless.
And each of those choices comes with a corresponding opportunity cost. Maybe the cost is debt that continues to accrue. Or it’s savings that doesn’t get squirreled away. Or maybe it’s more subtle… like adding to our feeling of insecurity about money.
Does that mean we should all go live in a cave in order to avoid spending money?
No! Of course not. We have to live.
Heck, it’s even okay that we enjoy ourselves along the way! But ultimately, how we choose to live determines our financial legacy.
And this part I’m saying as much to myself as I am to “you”.
So here’s my advice — to myself, and to anyone else who’s listening: Enjoy yourself and your families. Honor your commitments. But balance that with awareness and responsibility. Make sure that the choices you are making today will help you to leave the financial legacy you intend.
Okay, rant over. But before I get back to our regularly scheduled program of menu planning and bargain shopping, I’d love to know what you think. Is it really impossible for some people to get out of debt due to income and/or family size? Or is that just a justification to keep doing the stuff that got them into “trouble” in the first place?