I am not a financial advisor. I am not an accountant. I’m not even a bookkeeper.
I’ve never worked on Wall Street. Or in a bank.
I didn’t go to a fancy school. I got my degree in plain-ol’ Physics and Math from a tiny school in North Lake Tahoe. I never once took a class in finance.
I don’t wear a suit or high heels to work. In fact, most of the time I work in yoga clothes with no shoes on.
I don’t have a diverse financial portfolio. But, I used to have a quite a diverse credit card portfolio. One in every color.
I have made way more mistakes with money than you ever have.
I lived beyond my means for all of my twenties and most of my thirties.
I bought my last two houses at the highest point of the California market. And then waited until the very worst moment in recent real estate history to get a divorce and split assets (and when I say assets... I mean debt).
In 2008, I was 35 years old and over a half-million dollars in debt. Now it is 2011, and I have paid off all but $25,000.
I know what it feels like to stress about money. I’ve spent most of my life with that terrible feeling in my stomach. I know what money stress does to a person, to a business, to a marriage, to a family.
I know what it’s like to not sleep at night.
I know the guilt and anxiety that comes from over-spending. I know how awful it feels to be out of control.
I know what it’s like to think something is wrong with you. To wish you could fix whatever is broken.
I know the fear of not knowing where the next dollar is going to come from. Or how the bills are going to get paid.
I know what it’s like to be scared of being found out. To be scared of people knowing that I was a fake. A fraud. To frantically try to keep the facade going. And to try to be better than I was.
I know what it’s like to be exhausted. And to want to give up.
Hoping to be saved.
I also know what it’s like to have survived this. To save myself.
I know what it’s like to be strong. Courageous.
I know what it’s like to take responsibility for my life. For my finances.
I know what it’s like to start from scratch. Again.
I know what it’s like to love myself. To forgive myself. To understand myself. To have compassion for my past choices.
I know what it’s like to help people like me and like you out of financial hell.
If we could sit down together, you could look into my eyes. And, if you looked closely enough, you would see that I have felt your same pain.
And, because of this. You are my friend.
And because you’re my friend, I have decided to write a blog for you.
And if this blog saves you from even one moment of unnecessary suffering. Then I have done my job.
But, please don’t listen to me.
I didn’t write this blog with that intention.
I wrote it for you to listen to yourself.
Take what’s right for you.
And leave the rest.