Why Be Normal?

My wife and I first realized just how normal we were in 2008. I was a 37-year-old graduate student at Michigan State, and we were more than $150,000 in debt, not including our mortgage. Looking back at things now, it seems like we had every kind of debt imaginable. We had two car payments, student loans and credit cards, a personal and a home equity line of credit … and, we owed the IRS from our previous year’s taxes!

Like most “normal” Americans, (approximately 70% of the population, according to recent studies), we were struggling financially and living paycheck-to-paycheck. It seemed like there was always too much month left over at the end of our money. Sometimes it felt like we were drowning. If this sounds familiar to you … read on.

That summer I heard a guy on the radio talking about the importance of living on a budget, and how your income was your best tool to get out of debt, build wealth, and create a better future for yourself and your family. Given how we were feeling, I couldn’t help but listen carefully. His name is Dave Ramsey, and with his ideas and guidance, we were able to completely erase our debt in less than five years, while raising two children, and while I started a successful internet publishing business with a partner.

It is hard for me to overstate how simple and powerful Dave’s plan is for getting you out of debt, and taking control of your financial future. This is why we began offering access to SmartDollar as a team member benefit for everyone at the beginning of this year. If you haven’t checked it out, I encourage you to sign up, and get started with the videos today. And if you’d like to talk with me about our experience with getting out of debt this way, I’d look forward to it.

In 2017 we hope to start offering a more comprehensive retirement savings program, including a 401(k) option. Though the details are still being devised, the goal is to provide you with more information by the first of the year. SmartDollar is an important tool that can be used to help with financial wellness and saving for the future. And financial wellness is a part of overall personal wellness. Just like we offer benefits for the betterment of your physical and emotional health, I encourage you to use this benefit to improve your financial well being.

If you have questions about any of this, please reach out to the People & Culture team (Jennifer and Marcy), or myself. Thanks.

- Jason Gollan