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Duggars and Debt-free


roddma

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JimBob just lucked out to by good timing. If you read about his deals, they just don't happen that way these days. The market so different. I doubt many of his kids will have the same luck in real estate.

The first 10 years Michelle and JimBob lived in poverty. they had 7 kids in a 2 bedroom trailer behind the car lot. It really sounded like they saved every penny. They only bought the bare necesssities, food, basic used clothes, bedding etc.Michelle told a story in the first book about one of the girls wanting a pink blanket. the girl already had a white one. Michelle felt it was wrong to spend like $2 on a used pink blanket. I can't see any of the Duggar kids living this way. Look at Josh he went from saying on his honeymoon, they would not be eating out or traveling and saving and now you see him eating out everyday.

We could be debt free but we took a small mortagage out to live in a good school district, besides that we had no other debt. It wasnt hard to do but I am lucky that my husband can fix our cars and I waited to get married till my student loans were paid off.

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The reason for all the debt-free pushing is based on the Bible calling the borrower a slave to the lender and basically saying "don't do that".

I can see the logic in renting over having a mortgage. If need be, changing to a cheaper/smaller rental is much easier than trying to sell a house. (I personally think having a mortgage is fine, but I've been in the need-to-sell-our-house-quick situation, and can see how it would have been loads easier if we could have just broken a lease and moved out.)

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No health insurance from his state senator days.

Why doesn't he receive it? As a former state legislator, he is eligible for a pension, which includes insurance in Arkansas.

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The first book details how JB grew up--it appears that his father is a good example of what would have hapened to M and JB had he not gotten lucky with the cell tower. According to him, his dad sold used cars and not very well. I am assuming that any money he made was after his children had moved on. If the cell tower hadn't happened, the Duggars would still be living in that trailer trying to make ends meet.

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We're debt free in the sense that we have no mortgage. We worked to try and pay if off early, which we did after 12 years, but our house isn't anything special. We bought an old inner terraced house with 3 bedrooms. It was very much in need of doing up when we got it and over the years we've done things like putting heating in, double glazing, insulation etc. We also converted the loft into an attic bedroom as one of the three bedrooms was pretty tiny - you could get a single bed in it and not much else. Now if we had tried to do all that in the USA there is no way in hell we'd have paid that mortgage off. What with all the medical bills we would have had over the years, we'd have probably been bankrupt and lost the house.

Jim Boob was lucky, he has his mother helping him out, profited from the housing boom and then TLC stepped in. There is no way he would have the lifestyle he has now if TLC hadn't got involved. If not for TLC they would have not finished the big house on the compound and they'd still be buying used (because we know damn well they don't buy used for most purchases these days), shopping at Aldi, and the Duggars World Tour sure as hell wouldn't have happened.

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You can tell that JB has some serious cash. Just look at all the heavy equipment they own- backhoe, bulldozer, etc. Even if he bought them as repos, those things don't come cheap. And then they all need to be gassed up.

And let's not forget that he spent 250K of his own money on his failed senate campaign. Who can afford to blow that kind of money when you have such a large family? I don't doubt for a second that JB is cheap, but he certainly isn't poor.

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I don't understand why being debt free is considered something to be proud of, or something that proves you're a good person. And I especially don't understand this attitude that debt is the worst possible thing ever. Millions of people use debt wisely, and end up better off for it. But even if I had very little income and no forseeable way to get out of debt, you better believe that I'd go into debt rather than let my kids starve or live like animals. Debt kinda sucks, but neglecting kids sucks even more. If you can't meet the needs of your children, you don't get to feel proud and brag about being debt-free.

For every person who uses it sparingly and for things like a car or a home, there are probably 20 others putting vacations and electronics on credit, and those people don't see a problem with living beyond their means for completely optional things that could ultimately land them in bankruptcy court where they won't have to pay their bills (far different that people landing in bankruptcy over medical bills, you don't die without a new TV but you will without surgery to remove a ruptured spleen). That's the problem. And it doesn't help that it's hard to get a home if you don't buy things on credit then make payments and pay interest. It's a system that requires being taken advantage of to get what you need later. Being debt-free and living 100% within your means doesn't count for much, even though it takes tighter budgeting to get by without having a credit card even for emergencies. Once you're in debt, it can be very hard to get out of. You're paying for things you likely already consumed so that, when you actually need something, it can be a choice between buying groceries and letting the bills slide, or paying the credit card bills and buying your groceries on it.

Being debt-free is generally a far better way to go about it, but Jim Boob makes it sound like it's entirely because of his wise decisions. In his and MIchelle's early, pre-fundy days I doubt they were on this debt-free kick. They were typical folks using birth control and Michelle even wore shorts so short they were like underwear. I doubt they were avidly anti-debt until they became fundies. They can't deny this though because the miscarriage is the excuse for going down this road, and photos are online of Michelle leaning over cars with her butt hanging out of her Daisy Dukes. But what proof is there of early debt aside from the sheer improbability of buying a bunch of land, even cheap land, the kind with buildings on it to rent out, completely without debt in their early 20's unless someone inherited some money.

It's easier to talk about raising scads of kids debt-free and having a house debt-free when you're paid a small fortune to exploit your kids and a TV station paid to finish your house for you. What they have isn't attainable by the typical family. He reminds me of the Get Rich Slowly lady who says that if her family can survive on a single income and even take yearly vacations, like real vacations to Disney World, then no one has any excuse not to be able to do the same, but does't consider that her husband making over $100k per year is more than twice what the typical two-worker family makes in a year.

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But in a society that encourages debt with cheap credit and very low interest rates for savers, I think the Duggars and others like them are pretty dumb for not getting in debt. If you save your money in cash (say, to buy a house), it's going to lose value since the inflation rate is much higher than any savings interest rate you'd get.

There are other ways to make more money with the money you've got than to get into debt. We've got our money in stocks, and it's really nice having our money almost double in a year (thank the gods for Apple stocks, and they're not looking like they'll ever hit the price we bought it for again). We're not rich, but it's earning much faster than inflation or interest. Also with their wealth, they can probably qualify for some of those exclusive plans that get more interest than regular schlubs like us could get. Banks like to keep rich people's money, even if it means incentives like higher interest being paid out or other perks.

I don't think the Duggars would go into stocks, probably thinking it's the same as gambling, but so is buying investment property.

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In that area of Northwest Arkansas (NWA), there are a lot of "millionaires" - people who were very, very smart to buy up land in the late 80s/early 90s, for next to nothing. Hubby has a good dozen or more friends whose families bought low and sold high. With the new airport, golf courses, shopping centers, and franchised businesses, in addition to the growth of Walmart and their setting up vendor offices and new residential neighborhoods, there is a lot of "new money."

Unfortunately those people probably don't understand what younger people today are complaining about. If they did it, so can anyone! Only it's not any easier to buy land. Getting loans is hard, and it's hard to make enough money just to get buy. Unemployment was much lower back then combined with low property costs. Now the costs are low, but unemployment is high.

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Unfortunately those people probably don't understand what younger people today are complaining about. If they did it, so can anyone! Only it's not any easier to buy land. Getting loans is hard, and it's hard to make enough money just to get buy. Unemployment was much lower back then combined with low property costs. Now the costs are low, but unemployment is high.

Have you tried to get a loan lately Elle?I don't think getting loans is all that hard right now. We just refinanced our house 3 months ago and getting the loan was nothing more than a formality. Same with our new(used) car. Dh went to the dealer and came home with a new car 2 weeks ago. We are not rich and we have credit card debt which showed we pay our bills on time. Banks like to see that, at least the ones throwing loans at us do.

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The one thing I've never understood in the debt-free lifestyle is why renting a home is okay while having a mortgage is bad. Um, you still have to pay that X amount if you want a roof over your head. And for MrSquirrel and me personally, the idea of paying rent for years and years and years while we sock away a little money here and there to pay cash for a house just to avoid debt is beyond stupid. (And this is in no way a judgement on people who prefer to rent. I know people who have zero desire to ever own a home, and that is their own business, and I know there are pros to having a landlord to take care of everything.)

This I don't get either. If a payment is going to be made, why not toward something that will be yours? Some people don't want to stay put for 20 years and some have rent control making rent far cheaper than buying EVER could be, but that's different than thinking renting is evil.

However we may go the no-debt route because we are lucky enough to actually know how to build houses, so if we can get some land cheap enough (it helps that my husband's employer is opening an office in an area of the state that is both very nice and very cheap, so if he can get a job there when it opens...), then we're willing to lay foundation and start building part of the house and living in that while expanding on. It could work for us, but this won't work for someone with no house-building experience.

We are careful with our debt. We have 1 car loan and a mortgage. Our credit card is for emergencies so there's almost nothing on the balance right now. I've watched a few friends and family members fall into the debt trap of living far above their means, and most of them are paying for it dearly now and have had to file bankruptcy, etc, and I don't have a lot of pity to spare for them.

I can't even count how many people I know who are drowning in debt with really nothing to show for it. That fancy dress you spent $400 on planning to go out a lot doesn't do much good hanging in the closet because you can't afford to go to Denny's because you're paying on half a dozen credit cards plus a hefty payment because you just had to buy an off-the-lot luxury car with upgrades instead of buying certified pre-owned or even third party. (It rarely costs more buying used. Real life example from me: I bought a car for $2700 and in the next three years put $1200 in repairs into it. Sure, a new car probably would have had a warranty to cover it, but stick with me on this. Gas mileage was very good, so don't need to accommodate for fewer miles. $2900 over 38 months that I had the car. I sold it for $1800. Because it wasn't a new car, insurance was lower. A lot lower. $40 a month including comprehensive. In the end, it cost me nothing to own the car versus a new one.)

We save and pay cash for most things we want, but I'm not going to hang my head in shame for taking out a loan for a dependable vehicle, a nice home that costs us less than renting, or any medical emergencies that may come up. And piss on anyone who thinks they are superior because they don't. There is a happy medium between acting like debt is of the devil and being in debt so badly you'll never get your head above water because you wanted to keep up with the Joneses, but of course, everything is one extreme or the other in fundie land.

This is the kind of stuff debt should be used on, not on a new flat screen tv just because the neighbors upgraded to a 3D tv.

We lucked out when our old car died. We were in a position where we lived close to my husband's work, close enough that he could ride a bicycle, and the grocery store was half a mile away, totally walkable. So having a car wasn't vital. Then we were able to hold out on selling the car until we got almost full Blue Book value for it (not common to get anywhere near book value). Then we were able to bide our time until we found someone selling a 7-series BMW for $4k (someone who needed money to not lose the house, and it was going to be quicker to undersell on value of that car than to hold out for enough from their other car). It's absolutely a reliable car, had high miles, but all the maintenance records were available, and the car was maintained. We've put 80k miles on it since we got it. But not everyone lucks out by being able to wait until an incredible deal comes along. Not for something like this. No one needs a TV, but for many people, having a reliable car is the difference between getting to work or not having a job.

It's funny to us. A lot of our friends have more than we do, but it's because they put it on credit cards. Then they bitch about making debt payments for non-necessities while we're talking about taking a trip to the coast in May without having to use debt to do it. We won't take a lavish trip, the being-there will be the big part of it. My husband's co-workers are jealous that he was able to put in for vacation time and won't need to whip out plastic. After a few years though, it's getting to the point that we're starting to have what a lot of them have, but without the debt. Waiting to pay cash and a willingness to buy used has given us the edge.

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Have you tried to get a loan lately Elle?I don't think getting loans is all that hard right now. We just refinanced our house 3 months ago and getting the loan was nothing more than a formality. Same with our new(used) car. Dh went to the dealer and came home with a new car 2 weeks ago. We are not rich and we have credit card debt which showed we pay our bills on time. Banks like to see that, at least the ones throwing loans at us do.

Just about two months ago, actually. The guy we were working with is the friend of one of my husband's good friends, and the guy was rooting for us. He said he hates how he can let loans for someone who has made a lot of bad choices, but who at least has credit, than someone who's learned to budget to not need debt. He pulled and pulled for us, but couldn't get us qualified. What we've managed to do is very impressive. I don't know who remembers us losing a stream of income last summer and losing the house we were renting all in the same day. In that time, without debt, we've managed to buy the roof over our heads (our home is a very small mobile home, but it's OURS, dammit! and no one can take it from us!, move to another state, and start socking away a little bit of savings), and, better, we've managed to keep all of our animals. But this doesn't matter. It's the credit score. Lenders want someone who has a proven record of carrying and paying balances since interest is how they make their money. They don't want to set aside money for someone who won't borrow it, or for someone who will pay it back really quick.

We were pretty pissed, not at the real estate agent, but at how it all works. Living responsibly, going without non-necessities to make ends meet, scrimping and saving, me getting some paid commissions and working all-nighters to get them done, it's all meant approximately jack shit when it comes to showing financial responsibility. I don't know anyone who thinks it's responsible to get into debt over non-necessities, but when it comes to the credit and loans game, they want you to. They want you dependent on them.

However I don't regret for a moment that we don't have credit. It's tougher, but when we have land and permanent home, while it might not be as fancy as one we could have if we had gotten into debt, it will be ours, and that will be a fair tradeoff for a less fancy home. Plus we're both good are redoing things. We're remodeling our home right now from easy things like painting, to thinks like reflooring and changing some electricals. By not having to pay anyone, we're at less than $500 for our entire home being redone.

We are still considering the nauseating (for us) possibility of getting a pre-paid credit card and buying things we need anyway and paying it in full each month, hoping showing that we pay our freaking bills (it pisses me off that paying a cell phone bill on time for five years doesn't show anything positive, but be late on a single payment, and they'll report that, law should say that to report negatives, you have to report positives) will help IF we need an extra cushion for buying land.

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This I don't get either. If a payment is going to be made, why not toward something that will be yours? Some people don't want to stay put for 20 years and some have rent control making rent far cheaper than buying EVER could be, but that's different than thinking renting is evil.

As Dave Ramsey says, "Personal finance is 80% behavior and 20% head knowledge." It's not always about the math. When you buy a house, Murphy's law likes to move in with you. If you don't have at least a 20% down payment WITH an emergency fund (to pay for Murphy) then you are asking for trouble. Renting is always a secure way to live until you have a good cushion to take the leap of ownership. Even if the math doesn't add up, you can't see the future. I find it comforting to be extra prepared.

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Just about two months ago, actually. The guy we were working with is the friend of one of my husband's good friends, and the guy was rooting for us. He said he hates how he can let loans for someone who has made a lot of bad choices, but who at least has credit, than someone who's learned to budget to not need debt. He pulled and pulled for us, but couldn't get us qualified. What we've managed to do is very impressive. I don't know who remembers us losing a stream of income last summer and losing the house we were renting all in the same day. In that time, without debt, we've managed to buy the roof over our heads (our home is a very small mobile home, but it's OURS, dammit! and no one can take it from us!, move to another state, and start socking away a little bit of savings), and, better, we've managed to keep all of our animals. But this doesn't matter. It's the credit score. Lenders want someone who has a proven record of carrying and paying balances since interest is how they make their money. They don't want to set aside money for someone who won't borrow it, or for someone who will pay it back really quick.

We were pretty pissed, not at the real estate agent, but at how it all works. Living responsibly, going without non-necessities to make ends meet, scrimping and saving, me getting some paid commissions and working all-nighters to get them done, it's all meant approximately jack shit when it comes to showing financial responsibility. I don't know anyone who thinks it's responsible to get into debt over non-necessities, but when it comes to the credit and loans game, they want you to. They want you dependent on them.

However I don't regret for a moment that we don't have credit. It's tougher, but when we have land and permanent home, while it might not be as fancy as one we could have if we had gotten into debt, it will be ours, and that will be a fair tradeoff for a less fancy home. Plus we're both good are redoing things. We're remodeling our home right now from easy things like painting, to thinks like reflooring and changing some electricals. By not having to pay anyone, we're at less than $500 for our entire home being redone.

We are still considering the nauseating (for us) possibility of getting a pre-paid credit card and buying things we need anyway and paying it in full each month, hoping showing that we pay our freaking bills (it pisses me off that paying a cell phone bill on time for five years doesn't show anything positive, but be late on a single payment, and they'll report that, law should say that to report negatives, you have to report positives) will help IF we need an extra cushion for buying land.

This is because your FICO score is bascially an "I love debt" score. Check out this link about what a FICO score really is.

http://www.daveramsey.com/article/the-t ... editcards/

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Jericho, I know what a debt score ultimately is. As I mentioned, it's really a measure of how much interest there is to be made off of someone. Lenders don't like to set aside money for someone who won't use it or will use it and pay back before the bill is due. They want people to live in debt and pay interest. They would rather people sink in debt and pay the bills while going hungry. They are sharks.

We're really hoping to ultimately buy land outright. We only even tried because we found a house going into foreclosure with a back yard like a park that was $80k in an area where the going rate would be $240k. We also found out though that the bank didn't even approve the short-sale as of the date of the house being listed, so that may have helped with us being turned down.

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Perfectly said!

QFT- I also love how you put this. Even very privileged peeps don't start off as well as he has...

As for debt, I have a credit card that I pay off in full on time each month (just to build credit and rewards points), some federal student loan debt from my law degree (luckily pretty minimal, especially when compared to other recent grads...), and my husband and I have a mortgage on our residence- a one-bedroom condo he bought several years before we were married. We definitely don't have more debt than we can handle, as we manage to pay our bills on time each month (contributing to a solid credit score) and have decent savings for 20-somethings. We do drive older, paid-off cars and save up to pay cash for anything frivolous, but I wouldn't hesitate to rely on my credit card if I had to in an emergency. I'm very aware that my husband and I are privileged and fortunate, especially since both our parents contributed to our undergrad educations and taught us how to manage our finances well.

If done right, I think debt can be very useful and isn't something to be ashamed of. I wouldn't be a lawyer (and I love my job) without it. I'd like to see the Duggars continue to brag that they live "debt free" if they helped their children obtain college educations...

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I stole the phrase from Austin--I think she says born on third and thinks they hit a homer? But JB has not actually done enough to move up a base.

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I stole the phrase from Austin--I think she says born on third and thinks they hit a homer? But JB has not actually done enough to move up a base.

Oh, I probably said it wrong if I said that. I certainly mangle things sometimes. . . :D

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Well, some people can be given credit for moving one base at least!

I've never heard that phrase except from you, so your way is definitely right!

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I hate being indebt. :(

Me too!

I guess that is what pisses me off about the anti-debt people. Should I have just died instead of going to the hospital and racking up five figures in medical debt? Should my husband and I have quit school and work instead of buying a minivan on a very reasonable, low interest credit plan?

If people were giving me businesses and letting me live rent free in their homes, I would probably be debt-free also.

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But this doesn't matter. It's the credit score. Lenders want someone who has a proven record of carrying and paying balances since interest is how they make their money. They don't want to set aside money for someone who won't borrow it, or for someone who will pay it back really quick.

You hit the nail on the head. I've grown to believe that the credit score industry is just a big scam designed to encourage people to get into debt and then have high interest balances they never pay off. But voila, you have a "good" credit score. It's all bullshit at this point.

It's infuriating how there is one set of rules for the average person, yet the entire banking industry takes billions in bail out and is allowed to continue on their merry way without so much as a slap on the wrist. Oversight? How dare anyone question us!?

I would love to see small community lenders be able to provide fair market loans to local residents, and watch the big banks shrivel up for lack of business. They are predators and I don't trust any of them.

Edited to get back to the point of the thread :D -- I don't think debt is a huge evil thing to be avoided at all costs. Reasonable debt, with the income to pay it off in a reasonable timeframe, is a beneficial thing. It allows people to buy a new or newer car and thus drive themselves and their family around safely, instead of driving one of the rattletraps people like Josh sell, liable to break down and leave you stranded on the roadside.

It allows people to purchase a home and pay it off over time. Or pay for an unexpected emergency. As long as people make wise financial decisions, some debt is perfectly fine. It's when people get caught up in having the latest expensive electronic, huge flat screen tv, or luxury vehicle, while already saddled with too much debt, that they run into real problems.

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I hate being indebt. :(

Me too.

We managed to get mostly out of debt once. (all but the mortgage) Then we have #2 and it all spiraled out of control. We are trying to get back on the straight and narrow. We would be almost done but i took courses last year and that set us back a year.

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