Rebuilding My Financial Life: Facing the Person in The Mirror.
May 8, 2023
I first had to acknowledge that my financial life was a mess, and I was not as financially stable as I thought I was or it may seem like I was, and that wasn't easy.
So yes, I was one of the 51% that is considered an high income earner living paycheck to paycheck.
Those in my circle thought or had the perception, from comments that are made during conversations that I was doing well. Especially my family. I felt like they looked at me as the one that has it together and why wouldn’t they. I was the first in my family to go to college and graduated and I also have a "good job." The funny thing was no one in my family knew how much I made, I did not live above my means, or was I flashy going on vacations or anything like that. But the perception was Petra got money. Whenever conversations are raised at various family gatherings about financial struggles, I was not allowed to chime in. For example, a family member would say they are working multiple jobs and still cannot cover their expenses and I would say I can relate and immediately I am shut down by the statement:
“Yeah, but you have a good job.” So, because I have a “good job,” that means I have money as well and technically that should be the case, but I did not?
Let’s put it into perspective. I am making above the minimum average of what most Americans are making, and nothing in my bank account to show for it. I was struggling and living paycheck to paycheck. I used credit cards as a bridge to the next paycheck and I could not figure out why.
Where is my money going?
So, I had to face some hard truths. I looked at my bank account and it was minimal. I never overdraft, which for some reason gave me a great sense of pride. I guess in some weird way I felt I was being responsible. I maintained a check register (the little book that bank gives when you open a checking account). So, at a minimum I always knew what was left in my bank account?
Sometimes family members will visit and open my fridge and say, “you haven't gone grocery shopping yet” and I would reply “yep.” The truth was I just didn’t want to add more to the credit card, and I was just waiting for my next paycheck to come in. It did not make it any easier that my family looked on me as their Savior. They looked at me as the one that got it together and whenever someone needed some financial assistance, they came to me.
My financial life was a mirage.
My financial life was a mirage except it was their own reality being projected onto me instead of one that I created. I was so disappointed in myself because I worked and pushed myself hard to get an education/degree to break the cycle of survival and desperation and here I was struggling living a mirror image of my childhood life.
All I want.
All I want is for money not to be a barrier for me. I want to be able to go on vacation if I want, when I want. Be able to go to a store and buy something that I need or want without money being an issue.
So, what did I do.
I explained to my family that I was struggling financially and that I could not be of any help to anyone. They were shocked and were in awe. Like, what do you mean you are broke? I began my research, I changed my bad habits and took intense actions such as cutting unnecessary spending, paying down debt and building up my savings.
Facing my truth and deciding to act is what provided the financial peace I have today and it has placed me on the journey I am on today as a financial coach to help others find their financial peace.
What are you doing or have done to change your financial path? Leave a comment I would love to hear your story.