“Things get bad for all of us, almost continually, and what we do under the constant stress reveals who/what we are” -Charles Bukowski –
When I look back at all the money I’ve frivolously spent, I shake my head in disgust. So many missed opportunities, too many to list here. Just know that I often do that shoulda… coulda… woulda… if I had only known then what I know now thing we all do at some point in life.
We can’t go back and change the events that lead up to our hardships though. It happened, you have to accept it and move forward from this point on. You have to start making the necessary decisions to get out of the mess you’re in now, and that starts with determination.
I remember when I went through wage garnishment. I was so freaked out that 25% of my take home pay was now gone first before I got the rest. Talk about a gut wrenching feeling. I didn’t know how I was going to survive financially. I wasn’t going to be able to live off that with all the existing bills I had at the time.
What ended up happening though was that the opportunity to pick up overtime at the job I had at the time became available. I worked eight hours at the hospital and then picked up an extra four hours a day at one of the off site clinics three days a week. I worked to the point of exhaustion and knowing that most of that overtime money was going to the wage garnishment. I was barely breaking even working all those extra hours.
The wage garnishment was for $4,800 but I managed to work it all off within a year. Talk about a victorious feeling! I made the commitment to pay off the garnishment as quick as possible and stuck with it. I became so determined to do whatever it was going to take… no matter what the cost.
Then there was that time I went through car repossession. I’ll never forget that night. It was 11 o’clock at night. I was woken from a sound sleep with a pounding at the front door and some guy screaming out my name. When I opened the door there stood a man informing me that he was there to take my car. Talk about embarrassing. He wanted to give me the chance to remove my personal items from the car before towing it away. He didn’t have to do that, he could’ve just discreetly took it, but wanted to give me the respect by offering to do so.
It was my fault. I got behind on the payments and instead of speaking with my lender about my situation and attempt to work out an agreement, I ignored the calls they made to me. I have no one to blame but myself for my actions.
Then there was the time my bank account was frozen. Once again, another embarrassing event to sit down at the bank to see why I couldn’t access my funds in my account. It turned out one of my creditors went through the courts and was able to take whatever was in my account as reparations for the delinquent amount owed. I only had $150.00 in the account at the time, so they didn’t get much. But still, my funds were no longer mine.
This turmoil went on for years. I wasn’t very well financially educated growing up since my parents always managed to scrape by. They didn’t grow up with a good education, so they didn’t have the ability to pass on financial education to me and my brothers growing up. So when I was grown up and making my own money, I was careless with what I did with it.
Those are just a few of the things I went through during my hardship period. I’ll save other stuff for future posts, but the point I wanted to make in this one is that things eventually got better for me. As I began financially educating myself, I started to learn about building wealth. I began to forge a path knowing that I’ve learned from those experiences and that they’ve made me a better and stronger person as a result.
I’m not saying I’m happy I went through all of that. It was a living nightmare. But that time period of my life forged me into who/what I am today. As a result, I now pay attention to my finances and have set financial goals. One of those goals was to create this website and share my story with the world.
I now dedicate a certain amount of my income towards wealth building. I’m still paying down debts so it’s not a huge amount, but I do set aside a dedicated amount and it’s strictly for wealth building and nothing else.
Three key factors to building wealth that I’ve learned are commitment, discipline and habit forming.
So I’ve learned that the reasons why financial hardship isn’t the end of the world is because:
- It’s an opportunity to have a serious discussion with yourself and/or significant other as to why/how you got here in the first place.
- It forces you to evaluate your financial situation and make decisions on how to fix it.
- It presents an opportunity to refresh financially and commit to rebuilding wealth from scratch.
- It will test your ability to handle stress and forge you into a more resilient person.
- Most importantly, it will make you desire to be better educated so that you can make more informed decisions so that you don’t end up there again.
As I always say, “the journey begins with the first step.”
Be sure to subscribe to the blog if you haven’t done so already because I’ll be putting up more wealth building posts in the near future.
Until next time… be sure to comment below and let’s get some dialogue going.