I really struggled with my desire to have the dream life I wanted. I rose in ranks within my career field, riding the wave of my desired skillset in my 20’s to working for the highest paying employer. I was determined to make $100K by age 30 and completely knocked it out of the park by 27. I still to this day remember hollering when I received the offer letter in the mail…” Congratulations. We look forward to coming on-board…Your starting compensation will be $106…K.
Feeling confident with my career, I began to acquire all of the things that would make up my perfect life. How about the new Infiniti MX35 AWD, brand new with a lease payment of $686 (for 42 months)? How about the new home at $550K single family home in a gated community, sight unseen. Not enough, let’s have two more children and run up our daycare bill to $3600 a month. And for kicks and giggles, let pay $1K a month for mother-in-law’s medical plan and medicine in addition to her food/clothing/misc costs.
In my mind, I had to have this life. Even though the costs were adding up quickly, I surmised that the solution was to work harder. Working harder took on the form of having a second job. This would hurt no one since I was voluntarily getting less sleep and less fun time.
As if things couldn’t get worse, having NEVER missed a payment on any bill, my bank sent me a letter in the Fall of 2008 saying they were going to cancel my AMEX due to the economic downturn. In other words, they were tearing down the bridge that kept my family afloat. Soon, all the dominoes began to fall. My wife was pregnant with our last child and the DR said she would have to be on bed rest for the last three months of her pregnancy. Call the different three banks for my mortgage (Primary/Secondary/Home Equity) and asked for a lifeline. Two said yes, the third said “Hell No”
In 2009 I lost my home through a short sell during the economic downturn, which was a major shock for me. Sitting across from the buyer and watching her sign the paperwork to buy my home for less than $300K that what I had paid was crushing. She had just sold her modest condo for a neat 350K profit. She was paying cash for my home. My life would change from the point forward.
After the short sell, my credit went to pot. I became obsessed seeing my credit rise back to the 700’s where it used to be. I did the form letters contesting the negative records on my credit report. I called the credit bureaus and tried to get insight in how to rig the system.
One day while googling something to do with my credit report, I came across this blog that was dedicated to talking about being debt free and completely financially free. Pipe dream I thought. I began to read more of the blog and within a week or so, I had read every entry for the past four years.
The blog changed my life. I went from worrying about my credit to focusing on the other things that really mattered. Becoming debt free. Having a better work-life balance. Pursuing my purpose in life.
I began to realize that if I had no debt (other than my mortgage) and built up my emergency fund and then retirement savings, I had no need for credit. In 2014 I walked into the Toyota dealership armed with a cashier’s check from my bank for 20K and walked away with a 3-year-old Toyota Camry Hybrid. Clear Title in my name.
I began to share my story with others and began to realize that my prior circumstance was really no different than most other people. The only difference is that I didn’t accept my circumstances and I made changes to get better. I became a financial planner. I studied how finances work and the psychology behind the decisions we make. You are not defined by your credit report or score.
If you are searching for ways to fix your credit report or boost your credit core, you are not focusing on what it most important. As a financial planner, I help you answer the three most important financial questions you need to answer:
Where are you today financially? —This starts with truly knowing your debt obligations, credit balances and utilization, and ensuring your information is accurate. I personally use Credit Sesame just to make sure nothing shows up that shouldn’t be there. I refer them to my clients for obtaining updated credit report.
Where do you want to go? –What is your dream life? If you have all the cash in the world you wanted, what would it allow you to do?
How are you going to get there? –What’s are the action steps you will take to achieve the dream life you wanted.
The answers to the question are put into a financial plan using tools I and other planners have available. The financial plan will walk you through the simple process of becoming debt free and completely financially independent. Complete financial independence allows you to travel, open your own business, pursue your purpose full time. This can be your life.