We All Have Unique Financial Situations

photo-1421977870504-378093748ae6This post was written by Sarah Greesonbach

A few weeks ago, my husband and I began our first Financial Peace University as coordinators. It’s been awesome so far, despite my ongoing nervousness about speaking to large groups of people.

But the large groups of people part is very important. Because it’s when you have a bunch of people in a room re-learning the basics of handling money that you start to see how similar we all are… in that we’re all not so similar.

Sound weird? Stick with me. The coolest lesson I’ve learned so far is that we all have unique financial situations and the solution to all of these problems is the same. It doesn’t matter if your debt comes from student loans, stupid loans, or health crises. They all feel the same. You feel a little stupid, a little tired, and a little suspicious of people who don’t have those kinds of loans. And the solution is to find a way to make more money quickly, get a savings account together, and make a plan to pay off your debts.

I learned this lesson from several couples in our course in particular. They’re a little older than my husband and I, and their situations are very different. One couple is saddled with debt from medical emergency after medical emergency. It’s so stressful, and it feels a little unfair to have these accidents keep happening. The other couple is a little less in debt but staring down huge student loans for their children. If feels stressful, and it feels a little unfair to have to worry about this when they should be concentrating on retirement.

The answer for both? The only thing that will make you feel better again. Save. Pay off debt. Get your financial priorities in order and then take care of others. Because it’s only when you feel the peace of a financially-sound household that you can let go of that feeling of stress and unfairness.

Josh and I are still fighting Baby Steps 1 and 2 years after we started the program. But it’s reassuring to see that the solution is always right in front of us: find a way to make more money, then work together to save that money, and then put all of our resources together to pay off debt. And as we return to this process for the rest of the fall season, we look forward to seeing what kind of progress we make.