Achieving financial freedom has been a very important goal for me and a lesson that was learned the hard way.
Like so many other families I knew while growing up, using credit cards was a normal and accepted part of life. Adults around me frequently spoke about the importance of building one’s credit and having a high credit score. When I was eighteen, I remember credit card companies hanging out at the mall, the beach, and university campuses offering a gift with each credit card application. I, like so many other kids my age, was suckered into wanting a free tote bag or hat. I mean, who could say no to that? Clearly, not me.
It seemed as though having credit cards was some sort of rite of passage. I remember being so proud of the credit cards in my wallet.
Fast forward to my mid-twenties and my undeclared philosophy became: if you don’t have the money, just charge it. After all, isn’t that what credit cards are for?
Shopping: charged it.
Going out to dinner with friends: charged it.
Weekend getaways: charged it.
Christmas gifts: charge, charge, charge.
In fact, my husband and I also used our credit cards to pay for most of our wedding and honeymoon.
If you have debt, first and foremost, remember that
YOU ARE NOT ALONE.
80% of Americans have debt.
So, there we were: a married couple with dual income and no kids. Ideal, right?
Well, not necessarily.
Unfortunately, we found ourselves with a hefty monthly mortgage, two car loans, a school loan, and increasing credit card bills.
Forking over $1,000+ a month to credit card companies became ingrained in our system and a regular part of life. No biggie. After all, we mastered the art of working and paying bills. And this is how we lived for years: charge, pay, repeat.
We were a creditor’s dream.
Meanwhile the word “savings” was nowhere in our vocabulary.
All seemed right in the world until one of us lost our job and we went from two incomes to one. We were fine for a while until the bills started mounting up. Suddenly, we barely had enough money to make ends meet. We paid as much as we could, which meant paying the minimum monthly payment on everything.
Next thing you know, interest rates contributed to skyrocketing balances and we found ourselves with over $190,000 of debt as a result of credit cards, car loans, and a school loan—and $92,000 thousand of that was credit card debt. $92,000! (Side note: our hefty mortgage is not included as part of this debt amount).
WE WERE DROWNING: sinking further into the abyss of financial ruin and on the verge of having to declare bankruptcy.
This was an extremely stressful period in our lives. Not only were our finances in shambles, but our marriage was suffering as well.
Things got so bad that one day my despair brought me to my knees.
At one point, I was crying hysterically as I was counting change from a coin jar just to be able to cover some necessities. Through my sobs, I wondered how the hell we got to this point.
In this moment, I decided to take matters into my own hands. After all, if my husband and I could get ourselves into this mess, I was determined we could get ourselves out of it as well.
That’s when I started to research anything and everything available to help me understand my finances and start paying off our debt.
In the United States, the statistics are astonishing:
78% of people in the workforce live paycheck to paycheck
Over 60% of adults do NOT keep track of their money or they don’t understand where their money goes
More than half of the adults in the U.S. have less than $1,000 in savings
I spent countless hours, days, weeks, and months watching videos, reading books, and completing worksheets to help me understand our finances.
And a huge part of that was understanding my relationship and mindset with money.
I did lots of research and homework and shared what I found with my husband who, thankfully, was willing to learn and change.
If it wasn’t for the powerful tools that allowed us to create a positive mindset and truly understand our finances, I wouldn’t be where I am today, and my marriage would not have survived.
“The Zen approach to happiness invites us to think about ourselves not in terms of what we do or what we are worth or what we have, but in term of who we are. Our purpose as humans is to “be.” Money cannot buy happiness, but money certainly eases some of the discomfort in life. In other words, the less worry and stress you have, the more time you have to be.”
Ken Honda, Zen Millionaire
Today, I can proudly say that we are debt free! We have officially paid off $192,000 in debt, including credit cards, car loans, and my school loan.
The lessons we learned have allowed us to focus on spending money on the things we love—family, travel, adventure, saving, investing, and having fun—while still having more than enough to pay our monthly bills and expenses.
Your beliefs about money, worth, and value touch every area of your life.
If you are interested in understanding your finances, paying off debt, or taking your money to the next level, I am now sharing the keys to my success with you!
I created the Achieving Financial Freedom to Live the Life of Your Dreams course to empower you to achieve financial literacy, improve your money management skills, create a healthier relationship with money, and work towards achieving financial independence to live the life of your dreams.
Achieving Financial Freedom to Live the Life of Your Dreams
Tips to Better Manage Your Money
- Tips to Save Money on A Limited Budget and Throughout the Year
- Easy Steps to Start Living Debt Free
- How to Take Your Money to the Next Level
- Understanding Personal and Limiting Beliefs About Money
Ways To Attract More Abundance into Your Life
I’m ready to understand my finances and live the life of my dreams!
I want to help you understand your finances so that you can learn from my mistakes. My question to you is: are you willing to make a change?
I think you are.
If not now, when?
xx – Jennifer