The Total Money Makeover Challenge



Aug 8, 2020
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This is the first real section of Dave Ramsey's book called The Total Money Makeover. I'll be covering this entire section in this thread, post after post. But before I do that, I'd like to briefly discuss how much I can identify with the intro to this section. Dave starts off by talking about how "there was too much month left at the end of the money." About how he felt the crushing sense of responsibility for his wife and children. And about how he still felt like a little boy who was terrified of his new mortgage payments, utility bills, and prospects for saving for his children's college educations and his own retirement. I can totally get all this because I've felt somewhat like he felt. Every guy has. Well, every guy who has found himself in a relationship with a house to pay for. Stuff gets real, real fast.

I remember about a week after I bought my first house. It was back in the early 2000s. I had never had to pay a mortgage, homeowner's insurance, and property/school taxes before. I was mowing the lawn and when I stopped to take a break, I stood in the shade looking at the front of the house. As I did this, a strange overwhelming fear crept over me. Owning and paying for a house was completely different than renting. While renting, you always have the opportunity to run away and hide. If you went broke, you'd walk away and leave your landlord in the lurch. That's not too terrible. He'd have to find a new tenant and that's that. If you stop paying for your mortgage and taxes, all sorts of bad things happen. That type of thing follows a guy around for a good long time. As I stood there in my front lawn looking at my new house, I began to sweat. And the sweat wasn't because I was working outside. It was because I firmly realized that if something bad happened and I couldn't pay for the house anymore, my wife and I would become homeless. That's a lot to realize. That sort of thing will change you, that's for sure.

I have to tell you though, had I been single standing there in front of my house, I wouldn't have cared about not paying for it in the least. The reason I was overcome was because I had realized that I was responsible for another person's well being. I can't even imagine how I would have felt if I had both a wife and children inside of that house. I can't even imagine how I would have felt if I had come inside after mowing the lawn to see them playing in the living room or cooking together in the kitchen. While most people think that sort of thing is a wonderful scene, to many men, it can be utterly dreadful. Yes, it's nice to see people you love having fun and doing things together, but the pressure it puts on a provider to keep it going is immeasurable. The weight of the world truly feels like it's on a provider's shoulders. Many men don't talk about this and I'm not sure they should. It's just a fact of life. The trick is to stay clear of the things that can take you down. That, and prepare for the worst like crazy.

I know a lot of men who are single and who live alone in cabins in the woods. Some of them don't even have electricity in their cabins. Yes, it's true. More people than you think live like this. When a person is single, they have very little responsibility. Lots of these guys are perfectly happy. It's only when they decide to get married that playing the game begins. Things need to be a certain way. Kids have to go to the right schools. Spouses are to be kept happy. These things can cost an extraordinary amount of money. And if people aren't kept happy, fights begin and divorce happens, which costs even more money. So keeping everyone happy is a goal, if you want to stay sane and maintain a semi-decent balance in your bank account.

I actually don't want to get too far ahead of myself because Dave begins talking about what I alluded to in his next section. I'll read what he's got to say and then continue on down below. I'm looking forward to it!

This post is part of a series: The Total Money Makeover by Dave Ramsey
The Total Money Makeover Challenge was posted on 06-04-2021 by Phoenix1 in the Finance Forum forum.

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