Pictured: The cabin Annette and Jim stayed at during their Lake of the Ozarks trip.

I hope you’ve been enjoying my blog series on financial successes! I know I’ve enjoyed writing them and sharing the ‘happy’ side of money! For this blog, I wanted to focus on a couple nearing retirement as I think they have a unique and inspiring story.

Both Annette and Jim are well-educated and have relatively good jobs. However, they didn’t feel they were heading in the right direction financially, especially as the age of retirement was bearing down on them.

When their church offered Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University class several years ago, Annette and Jim decided to enroll. They learned a lot about themselves and their spending habits through the class and started to implement many of the techniques, sometimes tweaking the techniques to work better for their situation. The two biggest changes (and challenges) were creating and sticking with a budget and using cash for several of their spending categories.

Using cash proved to help Annette and Jim drastically improve their financial situation and helped them save for nice vacations. Annette, being the numbers person, took on the responsibility of keeping the cash envelopes (with Jim’s approval, of course).  When the month was over, any extra cash in an envelope was moved to another envelope for unexpected expenses or for their summer vacation. If any envelope was empty before the end of the month, they simply didn’t buy anything else in that category.

This strategy was so successful that when Annette’s cousins went with them on a vacation to the Ozarks one summer, the “vacation” envelope went along. Near the end of the vacation, Annette’s cousin asked if that envelope would ever run dry. She had noticed that the money just kept coming out of that envelope day after day.

After reading the recent blog on Jason’s success, Annette reached out to me. Just the day before reading the blog, she had been wondering what their total financial picture looked like. She discovered that their net worth has increased about 10 times from where it was when they took the Financial Peace University class. Her advice to others: “It’s never too late to start!”

Congratulations, Annette and Jim!


Judith Ackland has more than 26 years of experience in accountancy and financial planning, including seventeen years as a CFO of a diverse business. She started Crystal Financial in 2010 to help a wide array of individuals, families, and business owners better understand their finances and how good financial management could help them achieve their goals. Judith has an MA in Professional Accountancy from the University of Nebraska at Lincoln as well as a Certified Public Accountant Certificate and a Certified Financial Planner designation.

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