For years I never even considered financial health something I should be concerned about. If I could make my monthly bills, and minimal payments I felt I had a handle on my money. Little did I realize I was slowly accumulating a giant pile of debt.
I started the foundation for living beyond my means when I was in college. If I wanted something, I didn’t have the cash for I relied on credit to pay for it. Hedging my bet, by assuming my future degree would bring in more income, and I would eventually catch up.
Well, my first job out of college was a slight increase over the part-time jobs I held down over my college years at a starting salary of $17,500. The problem was I never addressed the underlying issue, my behavior with money. Now with a more significant steady income, my credit cards lines increased and so did my overspending.
Sure there were promotion and raises over the next couple of years on the job, and I was now making north of $40k, but still, I never considered getting a handle on managing my money. I thought using credit to pay for things I didn’t have the cash for, and managing monthly minimum payments was a plan. I guess in a way it is, just not a very good one.
I stumble down this path for years, along the way I met my soon to be wife, we settled down and got married. We combined our finances and started a family. We talked about our hopes, dreams, and future plans, but I don’t ever remember talking about a financial plan.
Years passed, and we were blessed with three children, boy and girl twins and a son. A marriage, three children and a home all cost money to maintain, and with no financial plan, it can get pretty unhealthy when you continue to overspend, and not delay gratification. It would be okay though. I was now earning a six-figure, $100K income, which put our family in a higher percentage than most of the United States. So we’d be okay.
I’ll never forget THE conversation when I had to tell my wife we had no money to take a summer vacation. She asked things like, how and why. It was simply. We lived beyond our means for years, overspending, never paying much attention to our finances and now our five credit cards were close to their limits. With no cash saving, and no more available credit, we had reached rock bottom, financially. $109,000 worth of consumer debt was a big hole, but it was time to get healthy.