I’ve followed your plan for three years. I’m living totally debt-free except for my home, and I pay for everything with cash. It’s so freeing! I’d like to convince my family to stop using credit cards and follow your advice too. How can I do this?
It does feel great, doesn’t it? Congratulations! I’m really proud that you have worked hard, been disciplined and taken control of your money.
When it comes to your family, however, I’m not sure that words will do the trick. There’s an old saying, “Those convinced against their will are of the same opinion still.” Some people are just stuck in their ways and have been brainwashed into believing that credit cards and debt are an unavoidable part of life.
Trust me, I know what I’m talking about here. I’ve been fortunate enough to help millions of people change their lives, get out of debt and take control of their finances. But there are millions more who just won’t listen. They just keep going deeper and deeper into debt. As much as I want to help people, I had to accept the fact long ago that being stupid with money isn’t illegal.
You can make some irrefutable arguments against credit cards. You don’t need them to get a hotel room, rent a car or buy airline tickets. A debit card will do all of that without piling up debt. For an emergency fund, you can simply save up cash. It takes some discipline and hard work, but relying on credit when things go wrong is a trap.
If they won’t accept these points, try telling them your story. Don’t leave out the part about old habits being hard to break, but stress how great your life has been — both financially and emotionally — since you made the decision to control your money. Maybe a light will come on, and you can walk them through the process!
I work for the police department, and I’m required to contribute 9 percent of my paycheck toward my pension. I know you recommend putting 15 percent toward retirement, so I was wondering if I should put an additional 6 percent into this plan or go with something else.
Your pension is probably pretty stable if you work for a police department, so if you feel good about your position and the returns you’re seeing, I’d be OK with you putting the extra 6 percent there — maybe even a little bit more.
If you’re feeling iffy about the pension, I’d recommend putting the remaining 6 percent in a Roth IRA invested in good growth stock mutual funds. Make sure these funds have strong track records of at least 10 years.
I’m glad to know you’re serious about saving, Brian. By planning for the future now, you can look forward to retiring with wealth and dignity!
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