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Happy Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving.

Wanted to talk about being a turkey today.

But first, here's a recap of the Baby Steps used in Dave Ramsey's Financial Peace University.

  • Baby Step 1: $1,000 cash in a beginner emergency fund
  • Baby Step 2: Use the debt snowball to pay off all your debt but the house
  • Baby Step 3: A fully funded emergency fund of 3 to 6 months of expenses
  • Baby Step 4: Invest 15% of your household income into retirement
  • Baby Step 5: Start saving for college
  • Baby Step 6: Pay off your home early
  • Baby Step 7: Build wealth and give generously

So we're on step 3. How's it going?

It's not.

What we're doing now is akin to what happened a lot between baby steps 1 and 2:

  • Save up your $1,000 emergency fund
  • Have an emergency
  • Repeat

Except we haven't had emergencies. We maintain the $1,000 EF month to month and manage other storms. We've had to repair some vehicles, sure. We also have more income now than we did. We were forking over hundreds to creditors not long ago. Now we can handle modest vehicle expenses just by buying less apples for a week or something.

Our expenses have been to catch up where we fell short. We replaced the smashed Ford Taurus with an '04 Odyssey that our mechanic called 'excellent.' We rewarded our 4 year-old with poop emoji blankets on her big-girl bed because she's been doing so well at being a normal human. Meredith made a paid-for IKEA run for some needed upgrades to our home. Because she's amazing. And because meatballs? I guess they have a lot of meatballs at IKEA.

I would not call ourselves gung-ho about Step 3. I'm OK with that. We're not sacrificing a ton right now because we've sacrificed so much and the cost to our family and our relationships have been real. It's still the next most important step for Meredith and I. We need to save $10,000 to $12,000. We've budgeted out several months in advance to get life out of the way first.

You stuck? Discouraged? Can't quite get step 3 knocked out?

This is where being a turkey comes in.

If you fit the statistical mold, so to speak, you're not even out of debt yet. You might not even be convinced that you should be. (You should be. You should try your hardest to get out of debt.) But if you are out of debt, or on your way there, just remember that financial peace takes wisdom. Like the Serenity prayer:

God, give me grace to accept with serenity

the things that cannot be changed,

Courage to change the things

which should be changed,

and the Wisdom to distinguish

the one from the other.

I took a Government class from Mrs. Krejci my sophomore year at Central High in Omaha. That's pronounced "Kray-chee". What an amazing teacher. She was the first person to ever explain the pejorative "turkey."

She said that the epithet comes from the domesticated turkey, which is so bone-dead stupid that it will open its mouth in a rain storm and drown. A quick Google check shoots that down as just a funny story, but the point she made stuck: standing with your mouth open to a downpour is unwise. You can't change the fact that it's raining, but you can change the direction you're facing.

This Thanksgiving, let us not be turkeys. Let's just eat 'em.

Financial peace, and turkey, really does surpass all understanding. What little I've tasted of it, anyway.



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