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Giraffe NOT Gazelle Intensity, for me

July 23rd, 2008 at 07:02 am

We have been doing DR for a few months now, and I find that when I listen to him I have to run it through "my truth o meter" before deciding what is right for me. In the beginning I needed to take what he said as gosple because "my truth o meter" in regards to money was broken......but now it's not. So I still love DR and agree with tons of what he says but not all.....at least for my situation.

DR "strongly" suggests everyone pay off there debt at what he calls "gazelle" intensity. And we all know gazelles are really, really, really fast. In the beginning, I was obsessed (using gazelle or at least deer intensity) with paying off our first focus loan and I think that was a good choice for me and I will continue that until that loan is gone, which will be very soon. But after that I will side step from one of DR's golden rules



DR has what he calls baby steps, baby step 1 is to get a $1000 emergency fund, which we have accomplished. Baby step 2 is to pay off debt at "gazelle" speed which I agree with to a degree. Baby step 3 is to increase the emergency fund to cover at least 3 months expenses. This is where I will be side stepping. After we pay off the first debt we will start using any extra money we have to up our emergency fund to about $3000. I am doing this because it feels like a better choice for me. (And I have learned in the past to always go with my gut feelings) Then we will return to using "giraffe" intensity to pay off our other two loans.



DR also "strongly" suggests supending your retirement contributions to use in paying off your debt. I don't agree with this in my situation. I'm 54 and even thought I love my job and I mean LOOOOOOOOOVE my job, I still will want to retire some day. Furthermore, I believe with the market down right now I would be stupid to not take advantage of buying at such cheap prices.
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6 Responses to “Giraffe NOT Gazelle Intensity, for me”

  1. momcents Says:


    I struggled with following steps and ideas ut forth by other gurus as well. For me I couldn't give up our savings account, after we went through unemployment and had to pay $1000 per month for COBRA. That money in my savings accout is the EF plus 3 months bare bones spending, but the peace of mind that it gives me is priceless. I think the key is to find what works for you and commit to that. Good luck!

  2. ceejay74 Says:

    I totally agree. I love DR's show because some of the principles I used to help myself are very similar to his baby steps. But I differ in a couple ways: I could scrimp and pinch and probably put 10-15% more of my household income toward debt, but I like to have some pleasures today, now that I've gotten our spending under control and don't use credit cards anymore. Also, I haven't done an emergency fund because I know we could lose one entire income and still get by, so that is our insurance policy right now. So no EF, and not quite gazelle intensity. Oh yeah, and we at least contribute the minimum amount to our retirement to get max possible matching from our employers--otherwise it's just throwing away free money.

  3. Broken Arrow Says:

    Glad to hear it! I find that DR's rules are best used as a guideline, not gospel. You do what is best for you, and your plan sounds good.

  4. merch Says:

    Just a couple of comments.

    DR does allow for Baby EFs to be large then $1,000. I don't thing he would take issue with an EF of $3,000. The point being that he wants you to feel a little off balance so you have more intensity on paying of debt.

    He also wants step 2 to be quick. No more then 2 years. So in the grand scheme of things, this is a very short time period, for most people.

    Also, with retirement, if you are paying off debt, chances are you aren't putting 15% of your income away now. But after you pay off the debt and have a fully funded EF, now you should have 15% of your income invested.

    His underlying philosophy is that you do not have enough resources to tackle everything at the same time. So, you need to focus on one thing at a time and move forward. If you stop contributing to your 401(k), that could be a couple hundred dollars a week you could be using to get out of debt. In other words to start getting traction.

    Now, if you are making a lot of money, you could probably still save for retirement and tackle the debt. DR just has a sound plan that should work for everyone, regardless of income bracket.

  5. myself Says:

    Not to say you're wrong. I believe everyone needs to follow what is right for themselves.
    But a funny thought occurred to me as I read your posting. You stated "I am doing this because it feels like a better choice for me. (And I have learned in the past to always go with my gut feelings)".
    If you have learned to go with your gut feelings, then are you saying it wasn't a "gut feeling" for getting the additional debts?
    And this is meant to be taken as tongue-in-cheek, as I know I've done bad in the past myself.

  6. cheshirecat Says:

    Let me rephrase that ..........In the past when I have gone with my gut feeling it has always turned out best.LOL

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