OK, my turn:
I'm probably a lot like you are.
Just like you, I have a family that depends on me, that loves me, and that wants me to not worry so much. Just like you, I don't exercise enough, eat healthy enough, or call my parents enough. And just like you, my dentist gives me a hard time every six months about flossing more regularly, and every New Year's Eve I promise to make him proud. #maybenextyear
But unlike you, I don't feel scared when I look at my bank account. In fact, I hardly ever do that. I'm not ashamed, I don't feel guilty, and I don't feel overwhelmed. Do I have goals I haven't met yet? Absolutely. But I am consistently moving toward them, and then setting higher ones.
What makes me so
boring good with money?
You could say it's because I have my MBA and studied accounting, or from my time working for a student loan company, or the from the years I spent working as a senior analyst at a major international retailer.
It could be because I've been helping people like you figure out their money for years.
And all of those things are true. But do you know what the real story is?
I’m only good with money because I used to be s#*!ty with money. #truth
And because I REALLY love to budget.
You heard that right. I. Love. Budgeting. Like, if I wasn't already happily married, and budgeting was a person you could meet on OKCupid, we'd be a 100% match, and we'd have awkward dates where I'd make moon eyes at budgeting and wonder where it had been my whole life, and then we'd get married and have fiscally responsible babies who were really thoughtful about using their resources in line with their values.
OK, I digress.
Listen, I used to be pretty bad with money. I ran up a bunch of credit card debt, my credit score was in the toilet, and I finished grad school with six figures (yes, you read that correctly) in student loans. When I bought my house I had about $30 left in my bank account. I had some major medical issues come up that incurred five-figure hospital debts in the space of a single year. I had no savings, no budget, and no idea what I was going to do. Work a couple of jobs at a time until I died, I guess?
My spending was out of control. Not like weekends-in-Vegas out of control, but out of my control. It didn't feel like I was actively making decisions. My money situation felt like something that was just happening to me.
I tried a lot of things. I clipped coupons and shopped in bulk. I DIY'ed everything. I moved my debt to lower interest cards. I switched my mobile phone provider, I cut cable, I downsized my car. I relentlessly tracked my spending, and I budgeted like my life depended on it (because it sort of did). I read countless blogs and books, listened to podcasts, and studied personal finance, goal setting and habit building. I set up systems in my life to make it hard to fail. A lot of these things helped - some of them immensely - but there was something I was missing. I had fixed some of the symptoms but not the disease.
I fixed the symptoms but not the disease.
Eventually I realized that fixing my money issues was a lot like trying to lose weight (which I also have a bit/ton of experience with). There are tactics you can use - some are better than others, and nothing works great for every person. You need to personalize the plan. But ultimately, no matter the progress you make with tactics, if you don't address the underlying issues, the weight (or in our case, the debt and insecurity) will come back over time.
Sometimes the underlying issues are legitimately out of our control. But I find that much more frequently, things are more workable than folks realize. So I dove deep into the emotional muck of my life, into the neural pathways that I'd burned into my brain that told me to behave in specific ways, and I started looking clearly at what was happening, without shame or judgement. It was then, and continues to be daily, a life-changing way to approach my money.
When I work with someone, I don't always know exactly where our journey will take us. But I do know where we begin, and I know how to support you, to guide you, and to ask you the right questions. I know how to help you figure out your first goal, and your real goal. I know how to provide a shame-free environment for wading through your own emotional muck. I know how to help you make a plan that actually fits your life and that will work for you for the long term.