Published On: Sun, Feb 21st, 2016

James’ Inspiring Money Journey

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amazing-736886_1280Hey!

I received this message in my inbox and it warmed my heart. I’m always grateful to hear how people have changed their financial lives. I asked James if I could share and he agreed as I know it will encourage many others on their journey!

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My #moneychat got crazy starting in 2008 when my first wife and I divorced. Ever since then, I’ve gotten further and further behind on paying taxes. Child support ate up half my checks. I was trying to spend time with my children, but had to work extra jobs to make up for the missing money. Half the money from the extra jobs also went to child support, so things were extra frustrating. One particularly low moment was when my boys realized that we were going to IKEA because they sold meals that I could afford for them. A former bandmate of mine offered me the chance to rent a house from him. It was always difficult for me to pay my rent on time, but he didn’t put me out. Eventually, his family needed to be free from the property and he allowed me to buy it for $10,000. My credit union loaned me the money. I learned the value of credit unions from my mom and my credit union always loaned me money when no one else would.

I took a leap of faith in 2015 when I left a teaching career of 18 years to pursue a dream of becoming a doctor. I was not sure how my current wife and I were going to make it. She took on a second job and I was promised a small stipend for the first year of my transition to med school. I was fully prepared to suffer financially for the next 5 years.

Fortunately, as the years passed, we had done a few things to prepare. We paid off both cars and the loan I had gotten in order to buy the house. I even managed to get a credit card, something I had not been able to do for about 10 years! I had also started paying towards some of my debts using a debt consolidation service called Greenpath. I was able to utilize their services free of charge because of my membership with my credit union. I finished my teaching career after the summer of 2015, but I had 3 things left to do before committing to 5 years of poverty.

  • First, I had planned a 4-day trip to Tennessee to celebrate our wedding anniversary in August.
  • Second, I flew my wife and I to Cozumel, Mexico in November so that I could compete in Ironman Cozumel.
  • Finally, I took my wife and two younger sons on their first cruise in December.

I was able to pull those things off from the money I made teaching summer school and the money I was paid by the school district after I left.

In January 2016, my wife and I started the #Moneychat 4-Week Challenge. One of the first things we had to do was take a hard, thorough look at our income and expenses. Two things became obvious. First, we had a monthly surplus of $1500 – the exact amount of my stipend! Second, I had a fear of spending money! More specifically, when I had money, I was afraid of reaching the end of it. For that reason, I held onto it instead of paying important things. Isn’t that crazy?! When you hold onto it like this, you end up having to spend it on emergencies. When you reach the end of it, you feel broke and have nothing to show for it. This was the story of my life. I started doing smarter things with the money. I put a third of it into a savings account. I used $300 of it to take care of some other expenses (including my credit card account) by using the snowball method. Things are going well now and I feel like a new person. The only bad thing on my credit report now are some tax liens due to state taxes, but I plan to take care of them with the help of Greenpath starting this March.

I knew our lives were changing the other day when my wife told me that our phone, cable, and water bills that had always carried a balance were now at zero! We also went on a date to the mall and looked at things that we could have bought – if we wanted to! We had dinner and decided against the movie because it was getting late, but the point is that we were free to make choices that weren’t based on money! We are starting to feel alive! Thank you so much Dorethia!

James ~ Washington D.C.

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Source: The Money Chat

Dorethia Kelly

Dorethia Kelly

Dorethia Kelly, MBA, provides results-oriented personal finance and business coaching services. She is also the founder of the popular #MoneyChat personal finance blog, themoneychat.com and online Twitter chat hence the inspiration for… #MoneyChat THE BOOK! How to Get Out of Debt, Manage Your Money and Create Financial Security! Get your copy on Amazon today!
Dorethia Kelly

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About the Author

- Dorethia Kelly, MBA, provides results-oriented personal finance and business coaching services. She is also the founder of the popular #MoneyChat personal finance blog, themoneychat.com and online Twitter chat hence the inspiration for… #MoneyChat THE BOOK! How to Get Out of Debt, Manage Your Money and Create Financial Security! Get your copy on Amazon today!

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Did you know?

African Americans are significantly more likely to have some type of debt (94%) compared with the general population (82%). Credit card debt, student loan debt, and personal loans are all significantly higher in the African American community.

Source: Prudential’s 2013 "African American Financial Experience" study