Well, the day has arrived. The bags are packed. We are ready to hit the road. Today marks the beginning of our journey to financial freedom. In this blog, I will be chronicling the process that we will take to get out of the debt trap we are in. You will get an inside look into the trials and tribulations and the ups and downs that characterize the process of getting in shape financially.
Before we begin, let me tell you a little bit about myself. My name is……well, I wonder if I should give my real name. I will have to do some research on whether or not that is a good idea, especially in light of the fact that this blog will be discussing financial stuff. For now, I am a male. My wife is, well…good guess…female. I have two children – a 5 year-old daughter and a 2 year-old son. We live in Ventura County, CA. That is key and you will find out why in a minute. I am a financial analyst by profession. Not the kind of financial analyst that tells you how to invest your money and manages your portfolio. Based on the subject of this blog, I obviously don’t know anything about that. I do like numbers and I know how to analyze, so there will be an element of this process that will be fun for me. My wife works part-time and wears a lot of hats, so to speak. My daughter is in kindergarten and my son destroys everything in his path. We are Christians and so that will play a role because we believe God provides and will be a major factor in how this journey plays out.
We were debt-free when we bought our current home in 2007. The prevailing wisdom at the time was to “just get into a house. It may be tight for a few years but you will gradually earn more and more and you will gradually get on your feet in a house that will appreciate in value.” Well, things didn’t work out quite the way we expected. The economy tanked. Annual raises stopped for awhile and have been minimal ever since. We were hit with expenses that we didn’t see coming. Shortly after we moved in, we were asked to put in a new fence in our backyard. We were debt-free but we didn’t have savings, so that immediately hit the credit card. The cost of having a baby was a lot more than we anticipated. Before long, the credit card had inflated and continues to inflate to this day.
We have attempted numerous times to make a budget and stick to it, but things happen. We get busy and gradually forget about it. And then something will happen to make us get serious about it again. Life has been a bit crazy the past couple years and it has been very difficult to focus on the financial side of things. Maybe we weren’t meant to focus on it. Maybe it was the right thing to just trust God for a couple years and take care of other things – “other things” including a very active toddler. But, right or wrong, it is time to take action. We are ready to tackle this thing.
So, that is the background. How long is our journey going to take? Who knows, but I can tell you at the minute that our credit card debt is currently at $20,790. Some of you will say, “Wow!” and some of you will say, “Big deal!”. But due to income restraints and the ever increasing standard of living (especially with children), we have never really been able to make a dent in our credit card bill. We were able to refinance our house last year (well, its New Year’s Day, so that means it was technically the year before last) and so that is how we have been able to stay afloat.
Now, I’ve decided that I am going to translate our journey into geographical terms. The starting point will be the middle of Ventura County – Camarillo, CA. Our end point will be the Statue of Liberty in New York. Why the Statue of Liberty? Because it represents freedom. The route that we will take there will not be a straight shot. We will travel to the northwest corner of Washington and then all the way to Miami, FL. From Miami, we will make our way up to the Statue. After we have arrived in New York, we will travel back home. The route home will represent everything you are supposed to do after getting out of debt – saving, investing, etc. (i.e., the 3rd through 7th baby steps in Dave Ramsey’s Total Money Makeover). Were there 7 steps? I can’t remember. Anyway, that is the plan. And according to my calculations, each dollar will represent 3.48 miles. So, every time I make a blog post, you will be able to see or envision geographically where we are in our journey.
Well, I believe I’ve said enough for now. It’s time to head out. Financial freedom, here we come!Share