My name is Chad.
First, let me tell you a little bit about my story. Where I’ve been, where I am, and where I’m going.
I’m blessed and extremely fortunate to say that I’ve been happily married to my high school sweetheart since 2003. From the moment we started dating we began to dream. And those dreams became a reality very early on in our marriage.
The problem was, we bought into the idea that we not only wanted but that we actually deserved to have right now what it took our parents a whole lifetime to achieve. It’s a very common scenario and with the options available to us it wasn’t hard to achieve at all. We had a very small apartment that was creatively stuffed with enough things that could easily fill a large house. In fact, after only 1 year of apartment living, we did that very thing.
We bought the money pit!
One year into our marriage and we decided that we were ready for our very own home and mortgage. After looking at several homes with both sets of our parents we became frustrated because they brought wisdom that kept us from buying that “dream home”.
So, we finally decided to look at a home without them and pushed forward with a low ball offer on an estate home. The realtor told us there was no way the seller would accept our offer. Yet, within a few short hours, they did. It was sold “as is” and the more we got into trying to fix it the more we found out not only all the things that were wrong with it but also all the things the seller had covered up. You name it, there was something wrong with it. One of the things we found was that the outside lights were wired up with speaker wire! I could write a book on that experience alone.
Regardless, we had our home and we were proud of it. But in the process, we had maxed out our credit and accumulated so much debt that no bank or credit lender would speak to us and no possible way to fix all the things that desperately needed attention. We even had to refinance the house after a few years to try and get the payments lowered. That turned out to be the biggest financial mistake of our life.
When the banks say no, ask grandma!
Over the years, we’ve had to go to both sides of our families and other wealthy friends that we knew to “help” us by lending us more and more money. With all the credit cards, lines of credit, personal loans, and medical bills we had accumulated (many of which were in the hands of collectors), we had racked up somewhere over $125,000 just in unsecured debt alone.
We were suffocating and all of our dream stuff we had accumulated was showing wear and tear. Vehicles were breaking down, appliances stopped working, and the final straw was 2 of our basement walls had just caved in! The 2 estimates I obtained to get them fixed was far beyond anything we could possibly come up with. So, I finally told my wife it was time for us to find an apartment. We abandoned our dream home and suffered a brutal foreclosure that not only destroyed our beloved FICO scores but even today after several long years, it’s still not completely settled.
The first step to recovery is admitting you have a problem…
Around this time our church was offering a class on how to handle your finances. So, my wife and I went even though I was very reluctant. But it really opened up our eyes to our financial situation and our very horrible spending habits.
So we began making small changes and sacrifices and taking a long hard look at ourselves and where we wanted to be. We learned about budgeting and a few different tactics to paying off debt.
Old habits die hard…
Knowing what to do, and actually putting it into practice are two very different things. We still continued to struggle as we were trying to work our budget and trying to keep our heads above the water. Every time we would make a little bit of headway we would digress and trade in that vehicle that could have lasted thousands of miles. We had a million different justifications for the things we did. Thankfully, we have learned from our experiences and continue to learn more even today.
We’ve also learned that sometimes, even after cutting out all the fat and “fun” out of the budget, you learn that you simply just don’t have enough coming in, especially when a large portion of your monthly expenses is going to barely make the minimum (interest) payments on the total debt.
It’s time to start dreaming again.
In 2016 we were blessed with our very first child. That really forced me to take a long hard look at every aspect of our lives, not just the financial piece. I looked at my wife one night and said: “Where do you see us in the next 5 years?” That question was very liberating because it forced us to plan and truly ask ourselves what we want out of this life and to make some realistic goals to shoot for.
One of the biggest changes that I wanted to see happen was finding something different for employment. I hated my job, and spent years trying to find a better one. I applied for hundreds of jobs. Yes, hundreds. The very few that actually called me back for an interview was just more of the exact same dead end scenario I was dealing with but with a pay cut, worse hours, and no vacation time (Normal with a career/job change).
I wanted to help people. I wanted to build a legacy. I wanted to let people know that there is a better way, not just with their finances but with their career as well. I’ve gained so much knowledge and wisdom over the years that it needs to be shared with anyone struggling to make ends meet.
I refused to settle for just another “job”. After some mentoring, sorting through all the scams, and finding the best online program to teach me everything I needed to know about building a business, I’ve found the solution! Now, I’m doing something I love and helping others to achieve their dreams as well.
This is not how the story is going to end!
I saw a quote on Facebook one morning and it captivated me. In fact, it has become my motto and the driving force to start actually making some real changes in my life. The quote was from Christine Mason Miller. It simply read: “At any given moment you have the power to say, “This is not how the story is going to end.”
So, you tell me. Rather, ask yourself, is this how you want your story to end?
Have a great day and I wish you all the best in your battle to overcome the debt trap!
Debt and Career Coach for Overcoming The Debt Trap