Sunday, December 28, 2014

Keeping motivation up

Author and radio talk show host Dave Ramsey.
Author and radio talk show host Dave Ramsey.

Dear Dave,

I make $30,000 a year. I've just started Baby Step 2 of your plan, and I'm paying off my debts from smallest to largest. I have $55,000 in debt, including $15,000 on a car loan. I recently picked up a part-time job to help pay down the debt, but sometimes I'm working 70 hours a week. Do you have any recommendation for staying motivated during this process?

-Brandon

Dear Brandon,

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  • I understand, man. We can all get tired and run short on motivation from time to time. There's an old saying that fatigue makes cowards of us all. I know sometimes, when I'm traveling a lot, I can lose some boldness, strength or compassion when I get tired. So fatigue is a real issue if you're working long hours and facing additional pressure.

    The balance on your car is awfully high. My general rule is that you don't want to own vehicles equaling half or more of your annual income. If I'm in your shoes, I'd sell that car and move down to a little beater for a while. I'm not talking about a rattletrap piece of junk, just something lots less expensive. You can find a decent used car to fit the bill, and that would get rid of a big chunk of debt in a hurry.

    At this point, I think you just need to feel like you're making some measureable progress. Sometimes, that means throwing a stick of dynamite into the middle of your life. Also, try keeping your debt snowball list where you'll see it on a regular basis. I knew one lady who kept in on the fridge, so she could look at all the little red lines drawn through things she had paid off. It was a visual reminder of the progress she had made, and it provided motivation to keep working hard and become debt-free!

    -Dave

    Dave Ramsey is America's trusted voice on money and business. He's authored four New York Times best-selling books: Financial Peace, More Than Enough, The Total Money Makeover and EntreLeadership. His newest book, written with his daughter Rachel Cruze, is titled Smart Money Smart Kids and is out now. The Dave Ramsey Show is heard by more than 6 million listeners each week on more than 500 radio stations. Follow Dave on Twitter at @DaveRamsey and on the web at daveramsey.com.

    Dave Ramsey Syndicated Columnist
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