Early on in my career, I worked in the credit card fraud industry. For my age, I was doing pretty well for myself (at least that is what I thought). At the time that I started with my first bank, it was just a job. I had no interest in personal finance whatsoever.
From there, I decided to finish my degree, pack up all my belongings, move across the country with my girlfriend (now wife), and go to school in California. We lived with family while we went to school and I was able to quickly pick up a job at another bank, also working in credit card fraud.
One of the great benefits of this opportunity was that I was able to live with my aunt and uncle while I attended school. This was great because it allowed me and my wife to save money. During the 3 or so years that we lived in California, my uncle taught me a lot about finances. Things such as paying extra toward a mortgage, compound interest and paying off debt. These were all terrific life lessons that I soaked in. At the time, I was working on my degree in Information Systems. Technology was still a great interest to me.
Taking a Turn for the Worse
A few months before completing my degree program, I was laid off from my job and was not sure what in the world I was going to do. I got a seasonal job in retail that paid very little compared to what I had been making. At this point, my wife and I had been away from home for three years and were pretty homesick. Since I had lost my job and we both knew we did not want to make California a new home, we decided to move back home to Illinois.
When we came back, we lived with my mom for a few months while we found jobs and got back on our feet. This go round, I was no longer in the banking world. I had started a new career in technology. Now that there was a steady income, we started to look at apartments in the area to be able to get out on our own. We looked at some great complexes with very nice amenities. Coming home one evening, I overheard the neighbor in my mom’s condominium complex talking about one of the units being for sale. I thought to myself, how nice it would be to be able to buy rather than rent.
Things are Starting to look up
After talking with my wife, we decide to try to buy the unit. After all, it was only a few feet away from where were currently living. Why not? Let’s give it try. I let the thought sink in. As a young couple in our 20s, we could be homeowners! A thought like this had never crossed my mind before. Going back and forth with different banks and going through many ups and downs, we were finally able to purchase our first home! I remember thinking to myself, people our age don’t do this; this is certainly not normal. Normal people in there mid 20s are renting an apartment and living paycheck to paycheck, right?! This was my view anyway.
Fast forward to 2016. We are no longer in our condo. We are living in a single family home that we share part time with our family from California. They live with us for a few months out of the year. To some, this may seem strange, but for us, we love it and things have been going great. Moving into this new home, our mortgage payment has increased, we are paying more on student loans, we are working to pay off credit cards and are working our way to get out of debt. There have certainly been moments of stress to say the least.
Like many stories of others who are getting out of debt, it seems like as soon as we get a little bit ahead, there is a setback. In December of 2016, I decided that 2017 was going to be different. My wife and I decided that we are going to focus on debt and make a plan to payoff credit cards. Then, in February of this year, I stumbled upon this guy on the radio that I heard of before, but never really knew who he was. He talked about finance and getting out of debt. I figured I would give it a listen. What could it hurt? I am speaking of Dave Ramsey.
Starting to Change
After about a week of listening to Dave’s show on my way to and from work, I was hooked! I was not only interested in the stories of other people getting out of debt, but I was also interested in the financial topics he discussed in general. The principles that Dave discusses on his show just seemed to make perfect, logic sense to me. I started listening every day.
Soaking up all the info I had been listening to, I started talking about finance with my wife, my family and my friends. I have started reading books, articles and blogs about finance. After a few weeks of this, it finally hit me…I had found my new passion! I am not sure why I had never realized it before, given my background. My interest was not only in learning about finance to benefit myself, but also in learning as much as I can so that I can help others as well as put my kids on the right path. This leads me to today and starting this blog. I want to tell my story, share what I learn and document my progress in my own journey in hopes that I am able to reach someone who was just like me.
If sharing my story and starting this blog can make just a blip of an impact on someone else, it is all worth it. So, I encourage you to follow me and join in on this journey. I hope that through the info I share, I can help you, even it if just a little, to start defeating normal.
I am always open to your questions, thoughts and status on your financial journey. Please leave comments below or you can reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org.