There are two ways to get out of debt fast.
The first is the Dave Ramsey way: attack your debt, then live however you want as long as you can pay for it in cash. As Ramsey says, “Live like no-one else now, so later you can live like no-one else.”
There’s a second way, one not familiar to many evangelical Christians.
It’s the Mr. Money Mustache’s “total rejection of the American consumer lifestyle” approach to debt reduction.
Mr. Money Mustache is a pen name for a personal finance coach named Peter Adeney, who 12 years ago retired in Longmont, Colorado, at the age of 30.
He loves Dave Ramsey’s “baby steps” as an approach to getting out of debt once you’re in it.
However, Mr. Money Mustache says that our problem isn’t debt itself, it’s the typical American lifestyle that people pursue that got them into debt, AND the lifestyle they pursue after they’re out of debt.
“I’ve been preaching a different brand of financial advice from what you see in the newspapers and magazines. The standard line is that life is hard and expensive, so you should keep your nose to the grindstone, clip coupons, and save hard for your kids’ college educations.
Then tuck any tiny slice of your salary that remains into a 401(k) plan and pray that nothing goes wrong in the 40 years of career work that it will take to get yourself enough savings to enjoy a brief retirement.
Mr. Money Mustache’s advice? Almost all of that is nonsense: Your current middle-class life is an Exploding Volcano of Wastefulness, and by learning to see the truth in this statement, you will easily be able to cut your expenses in half – leaving you saving half of your income. Or two-thirds, or more.
If you can save 50% of your take-home pay starting at age 20, you’ll be wealthy enough to retire by age 37. If you already have some assets now, you’re even closer than that. If you can save 75%, your working career is only seven years.
My wife and I saved about 66% of our pay without really noticing it, and in under ten years we woke up and realized we didn’t have to work for a living anymore.”
The problem with Dave Ramsey’s plan is that – if we don’t combine it with Jesus’ teachings on minimalism – all it does is eliminate debt so we can keep on pursuing an over-consumptive American lifestyle.
BEFORE you’d buy a bunch of stuff you couldn’t afford.
AFTER ELIMINATING DEBT, you buy a bunch of stuff, just not on credit.
We know this because Dave Ramsey lives in a $5,000,000 house and has a 1500 sq. ft. garage.
Mr. Money Mustache reduced his lifestyle so he could live on $27,000 a year, completely eliminated his debt, saved the rest, and STILL lives on $27,000 a year.
Mr. Money Mustache is NOT a Christian. Dave Ramsey IS.
Which approach do you think Jesus would advocate?