Financial peace is an interesting topic to me, especially since its not about the money. Dave Ramsey is the one who I’ve heard about it from the most because he was the right person at the right time for my parents. My dad tells the story about being up to their eyeballs in debt and got the news that my sister needed braces, which was the straw that broke the camel’s back. He happened to catch Dave’s show on TV and kept tuning back in till all we heard from 5pm to 7pm was Dave Ramsey. We heard Dave in the car thanks to XM’s 6 month or year free trial. Dave essentially became the fifth member of our family. Quite frankly we were all tired of Dave. Being young, I was mostly upset about the fact that we weren’t eating out as much. I loved pizza and still do, so it felt like a big hit at the age of fourteen.
Now that I’ve had to live on my own for the past three plus years I can better appreciate the sacrifice my parent’s went through to get themselves out of debt and to put my sister and I through college without student loans. I was naive to think that I’d be entitled to get a job since I had a degree and had work experience in retail for over two years. So I moved out to Portland with a buddy and expected to get at least a retail job until I started getting bio interviews. I spent a good three to six months either unemployed or underemployed and blew through my savings to the point where I had to ask my parents to help me to pay my rent and food bills. I finally got a job after six months that paid well enough to pay my bills, buy stuff I’d been neglecting like new shoes and live life a bit. I built up a small amount of savings and started to contribute to my IRA, but I heard six months in that my company had been bought out. Since my department was one of the reasons the claimed that they bought us I figured that my job was safe. So I didn’t listen to my dad’s advice and kept putting money into my retirement account instead of building up my rainy day fund. Sure enough two months later my position was cut by my company, not the acquiring company. I was given the options of transferring back east for the same job, transferring down into a store position, or taking a two thousand dollar severance. With nine months left on my lease and a roommate, I felt like I only had two options and since I didn’t listen to good advice, I was really only left with one option. God damn did that store level job suck. The people I worked with were great but I dreaded going into work everyday. It got to the point where I rejoiced that it was raining because less people came in to cause me headaches.
While the money obviously would have helped buy me the time to take the severance and look for a different job, the peace of mind would have been worth so much more. I would have felt better knowing that if my car gave out that I could pay for it without freaking out or god forbid something happened to a family member that I could fly back east without putting a strain on my family. The options to use that money for whatever came up is where that peace of mind comes from. Even now that I did get one of those infamous jobs within my field of study and a pay bump, I’ve still had to focus on getting my emergency fund up to par. I built up what I thought would be enough to move back east and it was just enough to move, but it wasn’t enough to replace the shocks on my car or to cover transferring the title and safety inspection etc. Which was enough to again wipe it all out. So I’ve had to spend the past 6 months saving up and not doing much fun activities to build up that emergency fund. I’m not there yet, probably another three to six months to go without any more setbacks till I’ve got it fully funded. The peace of mind to handle a car repair/replacement or another job loss, is well worth the temporary sacrifice.