With only a week from Thanksgiving day and about a month until Christmas my thoughts instinctively go towards the things I am thankful for and gift giving. I have been thinking about being satisfied with your means and living intentionally for a while now. I may have even talked to you about it once or twice but I thought I would explore it on paper a little today.
So what is living intentionally? Well, it is a lot of things and I am sure each one of you has a definition that you might subscribe to. Ultimately, for me I think it comes down to simply living in a way that allows you to impact your family, friends and community. For me living intentionally also has a lot to do with personal finance and working toward being debt free.
Being debt free is certainly not the be-all or end-all in life, but it definitely provides a path toward being able to live the life that you want. Dave Ramsey describes the path toward being debt free as “living like no-one else, so that later you can live like no-one else.” Obviously when you are working through your debt, it sometimes gets kind of hard to remember what you are working towards.
I am pretty much immersed in these ideas all day, so I have a tendency to forget to explain to my wife with the reasons we are doing different things with our finances. I guess I take it for granted. The other day she said, “so what is the point of all this debt free business anyway?” – That question kind of stopped me in my tracks.
I thought, “What have I done!! If I can’t convince my wife that this is a good idea, can I convince anyone?!” And then I realized that it was actually a pretty darn good question. What is the point of being debt free?
Is it so you can horde away a bunch of cash and swim in a giant vault like Scroog McDuck?
No, I don’t think so – that might be cool for a day, but lets get real. What I think it comes down to are two things, peace and giving. I think the peace part is fairly straight forward. If you don't have debt looming over you, it is pretty darn easy to relax and do what you want - that’s peace!
Giving is not complicated in theory but in reality, it is. What makes it complicated is that giving is not just something you should start when you “get rich”, it’s really for everyone.
You see, “rich” is a state of mind and if you wait for it to hit you… well, you might be waiting for a while. No matter how much money you make or how big your net worth is, if you are not satisfied with your lifestyle you will just keep looking for more.
I know I have been on the receiving end of someone who was really generous – more than one person actually. I don’t know if any of those givers would call themselves rich, but they certainly made an impact on me. I am sure many of you have a cause that you can relate to or something that you have always said you would like to help out. Maybe it is research for a medical issue, a religious organization, a children's home or maybe you just want to help out an individual person. You should give now! But just think how much more you could give in the future.
I think Dave Ramsey would say, the point of being debt free is so you can give like no one else.
Just think how cool it would be to leave a $100 tip to a waitress working on a holiday, or to anonymously help out that family in need at your church by writing a big fat check. Those are the things that you can really do if you don't have any debt hanging around. This is what gets me excited about reaching financial independence, how about you?