I thought I was good with money. I never missed a payment, I didn’t splurge on things I couldn’t afford. I occasionally bought expensive things (like TVs or furniture) on zero interest and I made all my payments before they nailed me with the interest. My credit was amazing. Perfectly normal and responsible!
Then 2008 came along and all of a sudden work was drying up for my husband, who at the time was a carpenter. My career in retail seemed less secure than ever with stores closing all over the place. And I became pregnant with my first son, which meant we needed a bigger house, but, ut oh, found that ours was completely unsellable - crap, now what!
This is when I realized that maybe we aren’t so good with money? Over the next couple years I pondered this concept further. I started watching programs on TV like the Suzie Orman Show or Mad Money with Jim Cramer, but I wasn’t connecting. The things these people were teaching felt confusing and didn’t give me the security I was looking for when it came to managing my money.
Fast forward a couple years. I was in a new job making the most money I’d ever made. Whoo Hoo! I thought now that I have this great income, all my financial woes will disappear. I actually thought I could outearn any debt I had. And to my surprise, that 6-figure salary was still not solving my problems or making me feel secure.
I became determined to figure this money thing out. I read every blog post and article I could find on-line, I visited every website I came across and I read tons of books specific to personal finance. One in particular spoke to me. Dave Ramsey’s, Total Money Makeover.
I believe that this book changed the trajectory of our lives. I realized that debt of any kind was like an anchor around my ankle. That it didn’t matter how much money I made, I could not out earn the feeling of owing someone else. And ultimately that feeling was subconsciously holding me back from achieving a greater level of career success.
It took us about a year to pay off more than $40,000 worth of debt which mostly consisted of, 2 car payments and some medical bills. (We actually hadn't used credit cards for years, but still had tons of "other" debt) We then saved an emergency fund - 6 months of expenses that could easily be accessed. I got our life insurance in order so that both my husband and I would be completely taken care of if something should ever happen. We ramped up the college funds for our kids to ensure that school loans would never be a burden for them. And only then, when we became completely debt free, with a plan for the future, did I feel like I was in control of what was going on.
And do you know what happened after that??? Greater levels of career success and a higher income! More opportunities presented themselves in my corporate career. I had the ability to pursue my business on the side with no fear or uncertainty, I could afford to invest in myself in the ways I had always wanted.
Sure I’ve been made fun of for having a budget for clothing ($100 per month if you’re curious) or a budget for coffee and eating out (also $100 per month) or a budget for hair and beauty ($250 per month - priorities people!). But I don’t care! The peace of mind I feel from living in a way that provides me with security and freedom is worth it!
I suggest you try it too.
Imagine not have to stress if you’re fired from your job, because you have no payments and 6 months of expenses ready to go in the bank! Imagine being able to pursue your dream career because you’re in a position to afford a pay cut while you get some experience! Imagine being able to start that business you've been pondering because you have the extra savings to support you!
Can you taste the freedom!?! The opportunity!
People who pay off their debt achieve greater levels of career success. If my personal experience is not convincing enough, take a look at theses traits of people that experience debt-free living and consider how they may translate to your career.
They are counter-cultural
Society tells us that debt is good! “You need student loans to go to college.”, “You need a credit card for emergencies.”, or “You’ll always have a car payment.”. People that are experiencing debt free living don’t buy into those norms. They are willing to challenge the status quo and follow their instincts as to what’s right and what will produce the best results.
This is the same way of thinking that will make you super successful in your career! Forget what others think, forget the “traditional” way of doing things, be ok with going counter-cultural in order to find a better solution and watch your career skyrocket!
They have tons of confidence
People who believe in their own financial plan don’t care what other people think of them. They don’t need to drive a new car to feel cool, they’re quite fine with the satisfaction a paid off vehicle gives them instead. They aren’t concerned with charging up a fancy vacation just to post some glamorous pics on Instagram. They’ve given up trying to keep up with the Joneses - the Joneses are in debt people!
Bring that confidence to your career and I promise you’ll start making leaps and bounds in the the direction of your dreams! Confidently set your priorities at work and let the rest fall away! Not caring what your nosy co-worker thinks about you and focusing on your career goals for the win!
They are goal driven
Paying off all your debt and choosing to live a completely different life style is a major goal! And if you’re able to stay persistent to that goal (better yet to achieve it) you’re one driven badass!
Imaging what drive like this would do for your career! Setting challenging goals at home and work can really push us to new levels and allow us to experience greater levels of success. There’s no employer out there that wouldn’t want a goal driven employee to join their team! There is no business idea you could have or career path that you could pursue where being able to set challenging goals and achieve them is not valued.
I highly recommend getting your finances in order if you want to pursue your dream career! The freedom that this brings to your life and your work is completely worth the temporary sacrifice of bringing your lunch to work and using the same handbag for a few seasons in a row (Oh the horror!).
If you want to know more about personal finance and getting to of debt, I recommend checking out Dave Ramsey. I don’t get paid for saying that, I just truly believe his teachings are valuable and easy to adapt to.
And if you want to know more about pursuing your dream career and how to create a plan to do it, then let me know! I truly believe my teachings are valuable and easy to adapt to as well :)
Thanks for reading!