A blog post recently published by Dave Ramsey’s team called “7 Characteristics of Debt-Free People” got me thinking the other day. I want to be more like these people. I want to emulate these characteristics. Many of them I’m still not great at, but I am learning more about them and striving to integrate them into my daily life. These characteristics are simple and extend beyond how you handle your money. So, without further ado, here is how I’ve grown in each of the areas of the top characteristics of debt-free people.
I think we are all looking to become wiser. But, wisdom is different than intelligence. Wisdom is the action where intelligence is just thought process. I think that by becoming a “doer” and not just a reader, we become wiser. By creating my budget new each and every month, I am gaining wisdom about how to handle my finances better. I am learning more and more through my action.
If you want to learn more about gaining patience, just have kids. My wife and I have had to learn patience with things that we want and ways to delay pleasure so that we can make wiser decisions so that our future selves will appreciate us more. One of the biggest things that we’ve had to learn is how to compromise with each other to fill our goals. We know that we can’t do everything at once, so we had to make a list of priorities and then be patient enough to work down that list. This is still an active part of our core skills we are building, and I don’t know when we’ll be able to say that we are “successful” at it. But, I know that we have some new tools up our sleeves to try to get on the same page and allow ourselves to work together for the common goal rather than just what we want individually.
Our confidence in how we handle our money has grown tremendously. I can remember when we were first getting started, and we were barely getting by. We couldn’t think about the future, let alone next week. There is something about having our budget in order and knowing where our money is going that allows us to focus on bigger and better things with a level of comfort that can’t really be explained. Our confidence in the plan and our confidence in our own skill of handling money continues to grow month by month as our net worth does. We are seeing options that are much bigger than ourselves and starting to work to meet some of those needs. It feels great and I know that when you get a hold of your finances in a way that they don’t become troublesome, it will allow you to do great things as well.
Both my wife and I are very goal-driven. We set our target and then go after it. This has been great on our journey. We have been aiming at something the whole time, whether it be our debt snowball, our emergency fund, or building up our investments. Goal setting has to be one of our biggest motivators. Set yourself a goal today and start working towards it with everything you have and you will see progress unlike you have ever experienced before!
Responsibility goes hand in hand with maturity. We knew things had to change for us when we were getting started. We were drowning in debt and our expenses were actually outweighing our income. This brought on a tremendous amount of responsibility that we were needing to face. We stood up to it and developed a plan. By becoming responsible, I think we have been given more. I think that as we grow our net worth and become more generous, God is going to be asking more of us, but, He’s also going to bless us more as we take on and take care of more.
This one has always been a hard one for me as I am a sucker for technology. I find that if I can control my trigger points that cause me to spend, then I have a much better chance of saying no to that new shiny “whatever” and staying focused on my goals. By working harder to learn to enjoy experiences and things that won’t fade over time, I’m getting better at realizing what’s really important in my life.
7. Willing To Make Sacrifices
If you want to win at anything, you have to be willing to give up to go up. We had to learn to make sacrifices now so that we could prosper more in the future. Not only us, but we have lofty goals of leaving a legacy to our children and their children, who are more important than any thing that we can get here. By making sacrifices, we are giving up the little to get the big. I think by having our priorities strong and working to make sure we can change our family tree, we will be able to give up the little things today.
I would like to leave you with the outro that was in the article that inspired me to write this:
The bottom line? You have to be motivated and do something about it over time.
If you want to get out of debt, you can get out of debt—no matter how much money you owe. Even if you don’t think you’re particularly strong in all of these characteristics, you’ll be amazed at how your perception of “wants” and “needs” will change once you start the Baby Steps.
When you’re motivated, passionate and even a little angry, you’re more than willing to do whatever is needed to find financial peace. Everything else will take care of itself.
This article was originally published on MyFamilyOnABudget.com and is republished here with permission.
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