Financial independence can take a lifetime to establish, and with a few wrong decisions, can be lost in an instant. No matter how prepared we are, there are some things that life throws at us that we can’t avoid. And while personal in nature, some issues can also negatively affect our finances.
In my early 20’s I thought that I was drowning in debt. Credit saved me several times from financial emergencies, but figuring out how to make the monthly payments became an ongoing challenge. I remember keeping a notebook and a calendar. In my notebook, I had a debt repayment log. I kept up with bill due dates, interest rates, minimum due, amount paid and the remaining balance. The calendar was filled in with bill due dates and the amount that I was planning to pay. I was so excited each month and I was able to reduce the amount I owed or cross another paid account off my list. I kept up with everything, until all of my debt was completely paid off.
Looking back, the amount of debt that I had back then is laughable (now), but at the time I was completely overwhelmed with the looming reality that I owed money and had to pay towards it every month. My anxiety was likely caused by the fact that there was no extra to spare. I was barely making ends meet and I remember trying to stretch my remaining $20 – after all bills were paid – until my next payday. But I learned a lot about the rewards of discipline and the mindset shift that needs to take place to overcome debt and change your financial situation.