Godliness With Contentment

Ann stays home with her three kids. Her husband is a commercial pilot. She wants to pay off the house with savings, but he's fighting against it. Dave tells her to pay it off tomorrow.

QUESTION: Ann in Knoxville stays home with her three kids and used to make six figures. Her husband is a commercial pilot. Despite all their savings and having only mortgage debt, her husband is convinced they’re going to eat cat food in retirement. She wants to pay off the house with savings, but he’s fighting against it. Dave tells her to pay it off tomorrow.

ANSWER: I would write a check today and have no debt. If you have $325,000 in retirement and $90,000 in investments and you have no debt and there’s a downturn, you’re going to be okay. It’s an emotional and a spiritual problem—not a mathematical problem.

I’m not saying you should quit saving. The good news is he’s paranoid. The bad news is he’s paranoid. His paranoia’s caused you guys to be fabulous savers. You’ve done a wonderful job. The bad news is you can’t seem to enjoy it. Why he’s got you is to remind him to live while he’s in the middle of all this math. You have to live. Personal finance is also personal. You have to enjoy the process. It doesn’t mean you party and goof off like most people, but you guys are not those people. You guys have done a great job. You didn’t call me up with the numbers in the opposite direction. You’re young, and you’ve done a good job.

I would pay off the debt tomorrow, and I would continue the savings process, but I really hear from you that you need him to continue to be diligent but to relax in his diligence. You’ve just got to relate to how it’s making you feel. It’s a spiritual thing—learning to relax. Godliness with contentment is great gain. Being able to be ambitious and diligent and excellent and push for goals in the midst of being content is an art form. It’s a spiritual and emotional decision, not a mathematical thing. It might actually relax him a lot if he paid off those houses. He needs to do that today with the numbers you gave me.