Thursday, August 02, 2007

Mary Hunt's Debt-Proof Principles




I've been fortunate over the last several years to have had the opportunity to correspond with and get to know financial author Mary Hunt.

I consider my time conversing with Ms. Hunt, in fact, to be one of the three or four best benefits (among a great many) that I've received from this blog and web site. I have tremendous admiration for her work. Her book Debt-Proof Living is a must-read, in my opinion, for those of us working out of debt. (That's why it inhabits my Recommended Reading list.) And honestly, I could only aspire to produce half of the amount of great advice Mary has consistently and graciously generated over the years.

The following version of Mary Hunt's "Debt-Proof Principles" can be found in her 2003/2004 book Debt-Proof Your Marriage. I wholeheartedly recommend it for anyone who might be having financial difficulties within your relationships. Mary does a better job reconciling "marriage and money" issues than any other author I've read.

Mary Hunt's Debt-Proof Principles


  1. God Is the Source

  2. I'm going to pretty much leave this alone, because I do my best to leave religion out of my writing ... and out of my financial picture. I understand, however, why authors like Mary Hunt and Dave Ramsey make it an integral part of theirs, and I don't hold it against them. As long as they don't go overboard with the religious references and admonishments, I can glean value from what they have to say. What works for me, though, might not work for you.

    In any case, Mary suggests that what wealth you have is always a result of your brainpower, abilities, and talents. These traits, while technically "yours," were initially God-given. Thus, what wealth and financial resources you have (and will have) are also God-given. (I might argue that perseverence is often as responsible for wealth, if not more so, than brainpower and talent ... and that it's a trait which certainly can be developed even if one were not "born" with it.)

  3. Money is Not for Spending

  4. "Money," Mary writes, "is for managing first, and then for spending." And I agree one hundred percent. I plan my spending, and while some months work out better financially than others, even the worst months now are better than my best months 7 or 8 years ago. And I'm pretty certain I have my spending plans (yes, monthly budgets) to thank. To a large degree, at least.

    Trying to hold on to unmanaged money is like trying to hang on to a handful of water. No matter how tight your grip, it leaks away. Money without specific direction has a way of disappearing.


  5. Never Keep It All

  6. I have come to believe that you cannot know the true value of money until you give it away to someone (or something) who needs it more than you do. Our world is one in which despair, heartache, and the want for simple and basic necessities are all too rampant. No matter how bad your or my situation may be, we must understand the fact that there will always be someone, somewhere, in worse straits.

    When we work to lift that person, we work to lift ourselves.

    The first thing you must do when money comes into your lives is to give some of it away. No strings attached; no expectation of anything in return. Giving away the first part is the way we offer gratitude.


  7. Never Spend It All

  8. Look: We all know we should save. Some of us make it a way of life (although we may have learned to do it later than sooner). Conversely, some of us will never find a better time to save than tomorrow. Always tomorrow.

    Like the ING Direct slogan says: Save. Your. Money.

    Once you give some back, you must pay yourselves. That means you always put some aside for the future, and you do this before you pay anyone else.


  9. No More New Debt

  10. Here Mary actually specifies "no more unsecured debt," and I wonder if this might be leaving the door open just a bit too far. But I can't argue the point too much, as my own debt paydown, while void of unsecured debt, still represents a financial (and, to be honest, somewhat emotional) weight which I want released as soon as possible.

    Unsecured debt is like a cancer in a marriage. At first it's not life-threatening. It's small and hardly noticeable. But it never stays that way. It begins to multiply and grow to the point it takes over.


  11. More Money Is Not the Solution

  12. Oh, if I had a Snickers for every time I heard this: "If I could just make [insert negligible amount here] more per month, my life would be so much easier."

    In reality, that's just never the case. More money in the door will simply equal more money out the door ... unless strong action creates a contrary effect. Saving substantial money, paying off debts early — these things don't "just happen." They require effort, discipline, determination. (There's that perseverence thing again.)

    I used to believe that if I had more money, everything would be fine. Then we'd get a raise or a tax return that was larger than expected. Was everything okay? No. That's because money became a qualifier, the down payment on whatever it was I decided we needed that cost more than the money we actually had.



So there you have it. I consider Mary's "Debt-Proof Principles" to pretty cover a nice chunk of your (very) Basic Financial Puzzle.

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— Posted by Michael @ 8:31 AM








4 Comments:
 

While I don't disagree that wishing for more money is not useful (and that getting more will not help if you don't manage what you have), nobody seems to acknowledge that more money will definitely help if your money is being well managed. My life actually gets a lot better every time I get a raise. I can save more, enlarge the grocery budget to include more healty food, increase the cushion between myself and the temptation to make ends meet with the credit cards.

 

Mary suggests that what wealth you have is always a result of your brainpower, abilities, and talents. These traits, while technically "yours," were initially God-given. Thus, what wealth and financial resources you have (and will have) are also God-given. (I might argue that perseverence is often as responsible for wealth, if not more so, than brainpower and talent ... and that it's a trait which certainly can be developed even if one were not "born" with it.)

What Mary and/or Dave is suggesting is that God short changed some people in the ability to develope knowledge and more importantly the temperment to use it?

Anonymous Anonymous
, at 12:38 PM, August 02, 2007  
 

So God is the "source" of a person's wealth? This appears like a cynical attempt to sell books to religious people. My present wealth comes directly from the long hours I spent studying for a PhD. God had nothing to do with it.

As for never keeping all your wealth, this is a very US viewpoint. In Europe, the taxes we pay provide a decent welfare and socialised healthcare system for all. As a result, individuals are entitled to keep all their wealth for their own family.

In summary, I can't stand these type of "preaching" financial books. You can get much better financial information from blogs like this.

Anonymous Anonymous
, at 9:47 AM, August 03, 2007  
 

"Unsecured debt is like a cancer ...."

Just a notification of being cited quotable metaphors/analogies in Archive of Metaphor and Analogy.
Thank you.

** Comments Closed on this Post **

Thoughts on my personal finances, goals, experiences, motivations, and accomplishments (or lack thereof).

My financial life began turning around when I took responsibility for it.
— Dave Ramsey


100%

Start (2005-12): ~$21,900
Currently: $0
[About Our Debt Paydown]

100%

Savings Goal: $15,000
Currently: ~$15,115
[About Our Liquid Savings Goal]