My gift to you…

breakcuffs

As the first post in this blog, I find it necessary to give you a small glimpse into my history to lend to my credibility. My financial journey started many years ago in my youth. My parents taught me to balance a check book, they cosigned on a credit card for me in my teenage years to start building my credit, and charged me monthly rent when I was 18 years old. We infrequently spoke about money and I knew nothing about investments.

I knew it was bad to spend more money than I made but that was about all I knew about money. I had a vehicle loan and a small balance on my credit card as I entered adulthood.

As I started community college, I worked at a local restaurant. I spent all the money I made eating at restaurants, buying overpriced rims for my truck, stereo systems, and video games. Life was grand… and as I type this, I envy those carefree days, and at the same time regret all the financial opportunity I missed. I was living only for myself, not realizing that a few years later I would be living for everyone else, especially my family.

I landed a good paying career at 20 years old and bought a 2 bedroom 1 bath condominium for an astronomical price in 2005. Of course, in 2005 the housing market was inflated and about to burst, so my overpriced condo seemed like a good deal at the time. I grew up thinking that renting a home was the same as throwing away money so I bought as early as I could. Shortly after purchasing my condo, my vehicle hit 100k miles. With that many miles, my vehicle was getting desperately close to needing much more in repairs than it was worth so I sold it and purchased another car – with a loan from the dealer. I hope by now you see all the terrible financial decisions I made early on that affected me later in life. If my early years seem totally fine to you, you need this blog much more than you thought!

I continued on with my life running with $2,000 in my checking account and a couple hundred in my savings. I held a $1,000 balance on my credit card but I was making payments a bit more than the minimum to slowly pay it off. Someone at work told me I should be contributing to my retirement account so I felt that $50.00 a paycheck was sufficient.

As you can tell, my life was on the fast track to being normal – just like everyone else. According to a recent article by CNBC, the average household with credit card debt owes $16,883.¹ As you read that number, you are either thinking to yourself – “whew, at least I don’t owe that much” or, “I WISH I only owed that much.” Either way, that is where I was headed without giving it a second thought.

Fast forward 8 years and I quickly realized something needed to change. After having several come to Jesus meetings with my wife, I finally have my finances and future in order. My only regret is not starting sooner. As I write this, I have no vehicle payments, no student loan debt, no credit card debt, and no other debts except for my home which will be paid off in 2.5 years. No, this is not the overpriced condo I am talking about. After the housing market crashed, my interest only loan ballooned and I was embarrassingly no longer able to afford my home. I now have a modest single family home I share with my wife and 3 kids and I will soon be completely debt free with a sizable retirement and investment account that continue to grow while I sleep.

This is not an attempt to boast – in fact it is just the opposite. It is my goal for you to learn from my mistakes and hopefully glean a strategy from my errors that will uplift you and take away your financial stress. I pray this blog is a blessing to you at whatever stage of life you are in. Please do not hesitate to reach out – I will be here to cheer you on and answer any questions about finance and life you may have. I certainly do not know all of the answers, but I know where to find them. Keep your head up, and I look forward to cheering you on!

-Ryan

¹https://www.cnbc.com/2018/01/23/credit-card-debt-hits-record-high.html

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Author: Ryan

Hi!  My name is Ryan and I have a passion for personal finance and education.  I am married and have three children, a girl and two boys all under the age of ten.  My wife stays home with the kids so it can be challenging to live off one income.  Much of what I write is based off my personal experiences and what I have learned in the course of my life. My financial journey began when my wife and I saved up a sum of money and I didn't know who I could trust to invest it.  After several interviews with financial advisers, I still didn't feel like I could trust anyone.  That began my journey to educate myself by reading every finance book I could get my hand on and by attending financial seminars.  After getting a good handle on debt, finance, and investments, I decided to start this blog as a resource for others who find it difficult to trust people with their money. I recently started writing this blog about how to get out of debt and start investing to create the future you deserve. I have been in law enforcement for 14 years and I have seen the devastation left behind by people who mismanage their finances.  I started this blog because I want to help as many people I can by educating them on common sense money management. As far as my formal education, I obtained a Bachelor of Science in Education and a Master of Administration Degree from Northern Arizona University.  I am an adjunct professor at a local community college and I have been a student of finance for many years. This blog is dedicated to those looking to eliminate their debt and to mold a new way of thinking, living, and spending. Education, focused on financial stability and wealth, is the main purpose of this blog. This website is a new journey for me and I know there are areas that I could improve.  Please feel free to reach out to me with any critiques - I would love the feedback so I can be as effective as I possibly can and provide the most relevant information.  I look forward to writing for you and learning with you! If you have any questions or comments, I would love to hear from you! -Ryan

One thought on “My gift to you…”

  1. This is my goal in the next 15 years. To be debt free. I am doing Dave Ramsey’s debt snowball with a modification ($100 weekly from my ridesharing gig to save for my business). I do need to work on getting my $1000 emergency fund back up though. Reading through all these posts has definitely got me thinking. Thank you!

    Liked by 1 person

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