So yes, let’s start there. But first of all, I’m Joti. I’m an avid runner and personal finance nerd. I have a degree in English Literature, and work in the insurance industry. I live with my boyfriend of just over a year. I think it would be imprudent to mention his name, so let’s do that thing where writers identify people with a first initial – R. And I have debt.
Here’s the breakdown:
Car Loan: $5,501.40
Student Loan: $18,194.87
Total Debt: $23,696.27
I believe the 1st of the 12 steps is to admit there’s a problem. I’m 29 years old and have over $23K in debt.
I’m sure you’re asking, “Why is this skinny runner-chick putting her financial dirty laundry out there for everyone to see?”
Because we all have it. I know what it’s like to not be able to pay all of my bills, and to wonder how I would survive until payday. I’ve driven a crappy car, praying that it wouldn’t break down AGAIN, because I didn’t have the money to pay for the repairs. I also know what it’s like, thinking that you’ve finally made it, making real money, only to continue to live paycheck to paycheck. I’ve been there, and part of me is still in that place. And if you’re reading this, you may be in that scary place too.
I want to talk about money in REAL terms, not just in vague theories. Money is real, despite what credit card companies and banks tell us. The fact that it’s exchanged for goods and services makes it real. The majority of us would not be able to survive without at least a few dollars in our pockets. Except for that Into the Wild dude – that guy was badass.
Most importantly, I want to help people get out of debt and show that debt doesn’t have to be a way of life. There is hope. But here’s the clincher – you have to be willing to do the work.
For now, I’d recommend writing down all of your outstanding debts except your mortgage (if you have one). This includes secured and unsecured debt (i.e. a car loan and credit card, respectively), unpaid loans from family/friends, items in collections and anything else you can think of. We’ll touch on how to do this in more detail in my next post. All I ask is that you write it down on paper. Make it tangible.
Until then, I’m going to steal a tagline from one of my favorite financial experts, Dave Ramsey. Debt is dumb, Cash is king.