One of the most important bits of advice I can give to anyone else who is trying to build wealth – pay off debt, save more…spend less…any of these things or all three. TRACK WHAT YOU ARE DOING! Why? because it is a loooooong road sometimes. There will be times when you are certain you are doing horribly and that you haven’t made any progress. Overspending, under-saving. But if you track and periodically come back to the numbers, you can see your progress and, I promise you, it’s not as bad as you think.
If you haven’t noticed, I have been a bit remiss in posting on this blog. Who knew that creating, interviewing, editing, and launching a podcast would take so much time! Well, certainly not this gal. I figured, meh, 4-10 hours a week no probs!….um, no…let’s say at least double that and some days it was triple and that was while still trying to not let my household devolve into utter pandemonium, or commit malpractice. Throw in back to school, my real estate business, as well as a murder trial and, well, yeah…I bit off a tad bit more than I could chew.
At the time of this writing I am weeks away from walking away from a six-figure career. The last few years have been my most successful ever. I am good at what I do. And I am miserable doing it. The weight of the responsibility of doing good work – the gravity of the consequences when, even the best work, results in a horrible outcome for your client…. it’s just too much. Some spend their lives bearing this burden. But the good criminal defense attorneys, the GREAT ones…it comes at a cost.
Two times in our lives we have had reality smack us in the face when it came to realizing how much money a month we were spending on food. The first time was when we first discovered Dave Ramsey years and years ago, and the second time was last year when we discovered the FIRE Community (Financial Independence/Retire Early). I thought I had it all together when it came to our food budget. I knew all the rules. I used to lead Financial Peace classes for Goodness Sake! I was careful about our spending. When we made the commitment last year to begin saving for retirement I didn’t know where we were going to get the extra money to do so. So, I began cutting expenses wherever I could. Imagine my shock when I took a good hard look at our banks statements and realized we were actually spending more than double what we had budgeted every month for food. Whoopsie-doodle…..life had certainly crept back up on us and we didn’t even realize it.
House of FI Podcast COMING SOON!
Payday lenders and title loan companies are Sharks.
You must train your brain that every time you drive by one of these lenders or see one of their commercials to hear the Jaws theme. They are predators and they prey on people who are afraid they can’t make it to next pay day.
In an emergency room, patients are treated based upon the urgency of their need for care.
If you are reading this and you are living pay-check to paycheck, and/or you have past due bills, or are just trying to stay on top of all the debt you have accumulated, you have a debt emergency.
The very first step for anyone in your circumstances will be to “triage your debt”. What do I mean by “triaging” your debt? It is this – Before you can dive in and begin working a system of overall debt repayment and savings, you have to first start with vital matters.
The first step in getting out of debt is to assess your situation. Over the years, working with hundreds of bankruptcy clients, I have seen over and over what I call the “Ostrich Syndrome”. The enormity a clients debt situation is so hard to face they instead ignore it.
We live in America. This is the “Land of the Free”. This is where dreams come true and anyone can make it. Others risk their lives to live here in pursuit of their dream. So, what does that mean for those of us who have or who ARE struggling? Who are burdened by our debt? In our minds, right or wrong, we are failures. We have fallen short. There is something in us that is deficient. And all of that brings us shame. Failure – shame. OUCH.
When we began this Financial Independence journey back in May of 2017 – our savings rate was abysmal. It was so abysmal that I really had no idea what a “savings rate” was.
I first heard the term years ago when I stumbled across my very first Financial Independence blog trying to find a way to quit my job and live a “laptop lifestyle.” On one site in particular it was discussing people who were saving 40% and 50% of their incomes. Which, frankly, I thought was insane. But at that time, I wasn’t looking at increasing our savings rate so it didn’t register what it meant.