Alright so I have been wondering when i’d share this and i’ll be totally honest I am embarrassed to write some of this. I also realize this is/was a real struggle for me. I know i’m not the only one out there. I figured if the lessons I have learned can help you do better from my mistakes then i’m about it. I knew one day i’d write about money and what i’ve learned but I thought it’d be in a time where I had it more together LOL. Real talk I don’t. This is part 1 because it’s a topic I think you need to understand where i’m coming from and then the lessons. So part 1 is my journey with money. Part two will be the lessons that turned into knowledge and what I learned that I hope help you.
Oh the topic of money. It’s something we all let our lives revolve around to some degree. It’s what pays the bills, helps us travel, lets us eat, go to shows, movies, concerts, and so so much more. It’s literally this piece of paper that carries soooo much value to us. It’s a little absurd when you really think that this green piece of paper means so much to us. It can both literally make us feel like we own the world and feel like shit at the same time. Emotions with money are a real thing for us all whether we have a lot or a little of it. It makes us feel some type of way no? I hate that. I am a culprit of feeling both like shit and like I own the world because of money. I have had an unhealthy relationship with it my whole life to be totally honest. Crazy to think that emotionally it’s a trigger. I for the last two years have been working really hard with both spiritual and real life financial advisors to do better. It’s a balance between the two to me.
Lately I have had some major financial hiccups. It feels like my resources and progress are being dried up real quick. I’m back at where I started living paycheck to paycheck and having slight anxiety on if i’ll be able to pay all my bills in a month. It’s not fun. I thought I pulled myself out of it and it’s why I feel inspired to write this because you know what it happens. Shit happens. I have always been an extremely hard working person, I do my best in everything, I am a pro at other things, and more than anything I try to live my life with a lot of integrity and grace no matter what happens. Lately I have wanted to scream because I feel like i’m being dealt a shitty hand in a lot of different areas of my life and it’s affecting me financially a lot and I can feel myself becoming a version of me I don't like because of it. I really hate asking for help. This is where i’m at. Learning to work through my real life blocks and then uncover more of my spiritual blocks to move forward. I know it will be okay but struggle is rough on the ego.
This is my story with money. When I turned 18 my mom had cut me off. She gave me the money people gave me for graduation said she’d pay for me to stay on her health insurance and that was it. So 18 year old me turned to the only person at the time I felt comfortable with, my aunt. She took me to open my first bank account with a checkings and savings, got a checkbook and my first credit card and let me move in with her. I had been taught nothing about money yet. I wasn’t someone who had parents who saved money for her to go to college either. I had been accepted to a couple of different schools at this time and I wanted to go but didn’t have the finances to do it. I decided to go to University of Nevada, Reno because 1. it got me out of my hometown and 2. I got in state tuition. So embarks the next phase of my life.
I was lucky enough to qualify for a couple scholarships that would pay for a good portion of my first couple years of school and then I was approved for loans. Mind you I had no job, no car, and no parents or anyone for that matter supporting me financially. For the most part I was pretty on my own. For the first two years of college I lived off my loans. It paid my bills, rent, for food, and for my experiences. I didn’t exactly have this understanding that this was not actually my money and that it was a loan that i’d have to pay back when school was over. I knew this but didn’t understand what that really meant yet.
So came the year of credit cards. I eventually realized I should save my loan money since they only gave me so much each semester. I still had no car and no job. I turned to my credit cards to provide. I cringe thinking of that now. If only young me had known what I learned now. Welp that card that I got when I opened my bank account had grown to a pretty hefty available balance. I was good at spending and paying some back on time every month. So came the year of spending money on a credit card with the naive mindset it would be easy to pay back. I mean duh yes if I had a consistent income and understood what interest or an APR was, but I didn’t. I opened about 4 more cards whilst shopping with friends because I got a discount, like what? Sign me up. Oh Shay. All of these had that beautiful VISA emblem, the cashiers would say “you can use this anywhere” oh thanks, I sure did! I was charge happy. I went everywhere and was so carefree about it. YIKES! This was probably about age 20. When I turned 21 those expenses started to catch up to me. My friends were all getting jobs and preparing to graduate in a couple years so came the next season of my life.
I knew I needed a car. I had no means of getting one and bless my grandparents they were able to help me get my first car. I got a job at Forever 21 and on campus to help me pay for the car and my expenses. I had been making money and paying down that credit card debt, I was able to pay my rent and bills with my own money finally and start building a savings. I started to read up on how my student loans worked post graduation. I learned my lesson the hard way what APR and interest was on my credit cards and started making a plan to pay those down as fast as I could. I asked for help and learned through friends and financial books/articles on how to better this situation. Thankfully I had a healthy credit score and I started to understand what this meant and researched that to get a new car because mine died. I became a lot more aware of money and how it should be handled. I am grateful that in my early 20’s I came to these realizations, but it’s also where my insecurities and relationship with money started to develop negatively. I had a lot of anxiety because I didn’t know what I was doing but knew I needed more money to pull myself out of debt and make ends meet.
Flash forward I graduated college. I no longer had loans coming in to support me so I held down 2 jobs. I needed money to get by. I worked hard and got promoted at both jobs so I started to make more money. All I could think is I need more money and that was my mindset. So much lack mentality. I was 22 post college, I had about $45,000 in debt with loans and about $20,000 of credit card. I was barely making $1200 a month and was living paycheck to paycheck. I honestly don’t know how I made my ends meet. I had barely anything compared to what I have now. Oh then I made the decision to move to one of the most expensive areas to live with no savings and all this debt. No set in stone job here in the Bay when I got here 4 years ago. I didn’t go to grad school because I lost passion for what I studied and no means of getting a job within the field I just graduated from without grad school. I fell into whatever job I could get because I needed money to survive. That was 4 1/2 years ago.
So as you can see my relationship with money hasn’t always been the best. I sometimes get in this lack mentality but I think if young me made it as far as I am at now well hell. I am and will be okay. I know my current struggles are temporary and i’ll catch up soon just a lot hit me at once. I also know i’m smart and it’s just a matter of readjusting my life to make sure I stay on track with my goals. I am thankfully working in an environments that I love and allow me to grow and develop both in my career path and personal life.
In the last two years I started to get really clear on my financial goals, I realize the life I wanted to live, not have to live because of finances. I truly know what credit cards really mean, I understand interest. I have a growing 401k, I consolidated my debt with a financial advisor to get on a program that is helping bring my interest rate lower and pay everything off sooner. My student loans have been cut down by nearly 1/3 and i've actually paid one off!! I have a ways to go but I made myself a promise that by the time I reach 30 i’d be basically debt free with a very low student loan repayment. Lately i’ve been diving into investment accounts, IRAs, CD’s, stocks, and more so that I can build a better life for myself now and future self. I have read countless books, talked to advisors, and am teaching myself everything I could possibly need to know to be in my power when it comes to being financially independent in a healthy way. This is what post two will be about!! It’s been a journey but I believe the more you know the better you do.
I just want to leave you with this… money is not easy if you aren’t taught it so DO NOT bring yourself down if you didn’t know. If you don’t know how can you do better? & if you don't know, ask. It’s okay to need help. I am learning in my late 20’s that outsourcing what you don’t know for help is the best thing you can do for yourself. Don’t be afraid to!