One of the very first stages of a breakup is denial. As I sat there looking at my credit score wondering what I had to do to get here and how on Earth I was going to get out, a simple phrase kept running through my mind, “You cannot solve a problem until you admit that you have one.”
Financial literacy isn’t something I learned much about growing up. It’s the ability to use knowledge and skills to manage financial resources effectively for a lifetime of financial well-being. I had heard people talking about being debt free and living a life with minimal expenses but I wasn’t really sure how to get there. After college, my main goal was finding a job so I didn’t take time to establish a monetary plan for my future because I was completely oblivious to the challenges that lie ahead.
Four years later, and now with the hefty addition of grad school loans, I found myself in a state of turmoil because my money was funny but I certainly wasn’t laughing. Nowadays anybody with a Facebook page can call themselves an industry “expert”, so it took me a while to find some people and resources that I could actually trust.
In my quest for knowledge, I’ve found the best method is to release your inhibitions and embrace discipline. Your money will always be funny if you never take charge and learn to manage it. How you do that is up to you.
I used a recollections planner to throw a little razzle-dazzle on Dave Ramsey’s suggestion to use cash envelopes. I took the advice of Myleik Teele and got honest with my friends about my need to engage in free activities. I downloaded worksheets and studied the words of Rod Reedy, which helped me establish a new financial destination.
But the most valuable tool in my hunt for freedom has been the one on one time spent with my financial advisor, the money makeup artist, Tracie Threadford. She’s helping me turn my knowledge into action with monthly meetings and virtual consultations. We’ve set goals, developed a budget, implemented maintenance skills, and developed a debt elimination plan. My husband and I would like to buy a home and Tracie’s guidance helps support our vision.
Now I must admit, breaking up with my bad money habits has not been easy. I’ve been angry at my lack of knowledge and poor sense of judgment. I tried bargaining with my goals and expenses, but I was only cheating myself with that. I was depressed about my future because falling into debt is easy but climbing out is slow and tedious. But I’ve finally accepted that you cannot do better until you know better. You can only dream at the level you’re exposed to and my goal is to lay a new foundation for my family.
I want to establish a mindset of saving and wealth instead of barely getting by and instant gratification. My goal is to exemplify diligence and build habits that lead to a less stressful lifestyle. Taking the time to learn new strategies and invest in your future leads to a multitude of benefits for generations to come. Financial literacy may not be the most exciting topic or a lesson deemed important enough to teach in schools, but it is certainly a necessary building block for any successful adult.