20 years ago I purchased my 1st home I was only 24 years old.. I had no idea what I was doing or better yet what I had gotten myself into. I was a single parent. My Father had passed away and left me a little money and I did what we all think we should do, bought 5 pairs of shoes (at one time) and went to Jamaica. I financed a pre-owned car that I couldn’t afford with an astronomical interest rate because I had poor credit. (The total amount of money I paid for that car I could have bought something brand new) My credit was shot from poor decisions of my youth so I paid all my outstanding debt off and bought a small 3 bedroom ranch having no idea how I would maintain all the expenses that would come with it or what they would even look like.
3 years in, I was in pre foreclosure, I had no money, threats of my lights getting cut off, I worked such long hours that I couldn’t fit in yet another job. I put my house up for sale. After I sold the house, made just enough to cover the 1st mortgage and oh yah, the 2nd mortgage too. I was still under water so I filed bankruptcy. I had not filed my taxes in 3 years.My job paid large bonuses at the end of each month and in an effort to cover the expenses that I clearly could not manage, I would file exempt so there were no taxes coming out of my check. I had no idea what that meant for me long term but the IRS made sure I knew. When I finally filed all my back taxes, you can only imagine what I owed to the IRS. I recall looking around the 2 bedroom apartment that I rented (which I had to pay 6 months upfront being that no one would allow me to sign a monthly lease after the bankruptcy), I knew only one thing, that I never wanted to be in this position again in my life. So I started over…the right way…one step at a time.
You know, I firmly believe that when you learn all the wrong ways to do things, you have no place to go but up. I slowly built my credit back up. I budgeted myself little by little and learned to adjust my budget based on the space I was holding in my life. I no longer jumped into large purchases without cautious planning and preparation. I became disciplined and obedient to the needs of my household instead of a slave to my wants and desires. In the past, my life was filled with so many unknowns that being drawn to numbers made sense. I could rely on them, they didn’t lie. I was intrigued by if you just took 20 min a week to put together the puzzle of your finances you could project what to expect in the future and be more prepared for the unknown. I decided to go back to college and take Accounting, and began a job as an Account Payable Clerk. I mastered the understanding of credit, what can hurt your score and what benefits it. I brought my score from a 480 to an 825. I excelled and became a junior bookkeeper, then a senior bookkeeper and eventually received my degree and became a Financial Controller.
It took me over 10 years to get there and I don’t regret even 1 of those years because without them, I would not be here, able to advise my clients from a place of truth and knowledge about their finances so it doesn’t have to take them as long as it took me..