Later this morning, we will give away my favorite prize of the year here on WOSH: A "scholarship" to Financial Peace University at the 20th Avenue YMCA. This was a Facebook contest--where anyone who "likes" WOSH is entered (there is still time if you post your like before 7:15 this morning).
While trips and concert or show tickets are nice, those affect your life for just a few hours or days. Getting a chance to go through FPU will (if you follow the plan) affect your life forever. Will tickets to the Lion King help get you out of debt? Will seeing the Steve Miller Band at EAA help pay for your kids' college educations? Can you parlay a free meal and drinks at a local restaurant into a comfortable and secure retirement? Obviously not, but getting a chance to learn about Dave's Total Money Makeover will do all of the above and then some.
Back in November, my wife and I completed Baby Step Six--pay off the house early--and moved on to Baby Step Seven--build wealth like crazy. We have upped our 401(k) contributions and earmarked cash for other investments (we were already maxing out our Roth IRA contributions). In addition, we are salting away money to purchase our first new-to-us vehicles in TEN YEARS!! When Dave says it's amazing what you can do when you don't have a house payment--he is absolutely correct.
The best part of achieving Financial Peace is that what used to be dreams suddenly become goals. Early retirement, more travel and--most importantly--more charitable giving are now all within our reach. I've gone from running my own schedules of amortization to see when we are going to be able to pay off the house to running investment growth projections to see how soon I can start rolling out of bed sometime later than 2:45 am and head to the golf course every day instead of the office.
And that 10th anniversary return to Hawaii will no longer mean putting off the purchase of better vehicles--like it did before being completely debt-free. Plus, we won't have to do everything on the cheap like we did the first time we went on our honeymoon--and came home to find all of those expenses on our next credit card bills. And now my wife and I are having more conversations about where we would like to donate some of our good fortune--and where it will have the most positive impact.
There is still time to "like" the WOSH Facebook post about the Financial Peace University scholarship contest. If you are going to enter--PLEASE be committed to attending all ten weeks of classes and making the effort to follow the Baby Steps. Hopefully you will find out like my wife and I learned, that it is the greatest gift you could ever receive.