Pick Your Financial Guru

by Sean on April 26, 2007

I got this letter from one of my visitors. 

My daughter sent me an address for your website. I am very interested in obtaining help in managing my debt. I want to become debt free… however my husband and I don’t always agree on the method. Purhaps some guidance would benefit both of us… releasing us from this "my way/your way"… tug. I’m respondsible for managing our funds… please I really need your help. We are enjoying a great retirement and I want it to stay that way.


Hi Rose,

Thanks for checking out my website.  It’s always nice to hear that people are finding it useful.  I can certainly sympathize with you about wanting to get out of debt – I’ve been in the same boat.

Regarding your question about how to work with your husband to get out of debt:
It seems, from what you said, that you are more passionate about getting out of debt than your husband.  It can be tough to get things moving when a husband and wife aren’t on the same page regarding their finances.  To help get both of you on the same team and working in the same direction, here are some things that I would suggest doing, in this order:

1)  Check out some personal finance books from leading personal finance authors, and decide which "guru" you want to follow.  Both you and your husband should be totally committed to following whichever guru’s plan you decide on, because as you’ve discovered, both of you need to be working together to make this work.  Some suggestions of good authors are:  David Bach, Dave Ramsey, and Mary Hunt.  There are others, but those are the ones I’m most familiar with. 

For an extreme approach that really works, I suggest Dave Ramsey.  The thing that makes people either love him or hate him is that he advocates getting rid of all of your debt, including cutting up your credit cards…forever.  Still, he’s very good at what he does, which is helping people get out of debt.  If you get the chance to listen to his show (you can listen to it live by streaming audio on http://www.wgst.com/), you’ll get to hear people call in and scream, "WE’RE DEBT FREE!!"  It is truly motivating to hear the stories of these people who have gotten out of debt.  It’s also very revealing and insightful to hear the stories of people who have gotten themselves into debt and don’t know how to get out of it.

For a more moderate approach, I suggest Mary Hunt.  Both she and Dave Ramsey have been in debt up to their eyeballs, but her approach is less likely to turn you off.  Mary doesn’t necessarily advocate getting rid of credit forever, but she will show you how to stop being a slave to credit while getting out of debt.

David Bach is more of a "learn how to retire wealthy" guy than he is about getting out of debt.  His approach is a little controversial, and can be summed up in about two sentences:  Put your finances on autopilot.  Save money by cutting unnecessary expenses.

2)  Stop being the only person who is in charge of your family finances.  You and your husband are in this boat together, and since he’s the one who’s less worried about getting out of debt, I’d guess that he helped accumulate more than his fair share of the debt.  He needs to be doing his part with the family finances, because you can’t do this alone.

That’s the sum total of my advice.  Find a guru who has a *proven* system for getting out of debt, and then follow that system, To The Letter!  Don’t justify any deviations from the plan, because their plan is proven, and your version of the plan is not.  Go with what works, and worry more about the "how" than the "why".  Work with your husband on this, and don’t take "No" for an answer.  Make a strategy for implementing the guru’s plan, agree that you’ll both do it, and then hold each other to your promises.

I hope this helps, Rose.  It’s the same thing that I’m doing to get out of debt, so I can tell you that it works.