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You’ve had it—you’re finally ready to say "hasta la vista" to debt. But how can you get the rest of the family on board? The journey to debt freedom is a long one, and you’ll need all the support you can get.
Every family handles the journey differently, but if you’re looking for guidelines or talking points, we’ve got you covered. Here are three important steps you can take once you’ve decided to get out of debt. Now schedule a family meeting, hit these three points, and get to work.
1. Communicate the why
You may be surprised how often people skip this part—but it’s the first step! If you cut the cable and unlimited data plans without telling your spouse or your kids what’s happening—and explaining why—you might be in for World War III when you get home. Communicate first.
Hopefully you and your spouse are already on the same page. But if you’re not, sit down and talk about why you want to get out of debt. Dream together about what life will look like when you don’t owe anything to anyone. Will you save for a new car? Go on a dream vacation to Italy? Build a school in an impoverished community?
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If your kids are old enough to understand work and money, loop them into the discussion. Don’t let this moment pass. Use it as a chance to teach them about the power of money—and how to set tangible, long-term goals. You might be surprised by just how much they’re paying attention.
Related: Why Kids Need to Experience the Value of Hard Work
2. Set benchmarks
The only way to eat an elephant is one bite at a time. Getting out of debt may take six months—or six years. The average family that goes through Dave Ramsey’s most popular class, Financial Peace University (FPU), is debt-free except for their house in 18 months. But let’s face it: you didn’t get all that debt overnight, so you aren’t going to get rid of it overnight either.
Avoid burnout by celebrating small wins throughout the journey. Those little victories help you keep the process rolling. Say you owe $60,000 in student loans. Instead of waiting to celebrate until it’s all paid off, plan small victory laps along the way. Maybe every time you shave off $5,000, you go out to dinner or take the kids to a movie.
Don’t go over the top—this isn’t permission to take a trip to Disney World each time you make another payment. But breaking a big goal into small benchmarks will keep you energized and motivated. Those little wins add up!
3. Work as a team
There’s power in numbers, which means you’ll get more done if you work together—as a team. The Belgian draft horse, one of the largest, strongest horses in the world, can pull a hefty 8,000 pounds on its own. But when you pair it with another horse, they can pull upwards of 24,000 pounds—three times as much as one can pull on its own.
Moral of the story? If you want to get further faster, work as a team. This is especially true if you’re climbing out of debt with your spouse. Keep in mind—the enemy is debt, not your spouse. So schedule monthly budget meetings. Cheer each other on. Offer regular encouragement. You’re in this together!
You won’t get out of debt overnight, but the journey will be easier—and more fun—if you communicate, set benchmarks, and work as a team. Get the kids involved! And let your friends and family know what you’re doing. You never know how your story could change someone else’s family tree.
Ready to get out of debt once and for all? Change your family’s future with Financial Peace University. Get started today!