This day marks a massive milestone in our family’s life. It’s the day where I conclude the effects of so much suffering. Since I was blessed to obtain employment after 2 years of financial hardship, God provided the path to free our family from $12k of credit card debt in 1.25 years.
I wish to indulge in sharing 3 of the most important learning I received from this experience with you instead of telling you how to get out of debt because I’m not qualified to do so.
The first important principle that brought me to this new found freedom is humility. Pride prevents any opportunity to change a person’s circumstance. When I was at the height of the credit card debt, I had to accept that success as a self-employed person is not going to happen. I had to give up my expectations of what life was supposed to be like and face reality. Until that moment I didn’t want to face the fact that I had to change. I didn’t want to be an employee, I wanted to be successful as a business owner. The reality is I’m not. It was very clear watching my finances head in the opposite direction, emotionally however, I believed that a business owner is the only way.
Sometimes our beliefs need to adapt to an ever-changing world. If a current set of beliefs are not generating the desired results that you’re used to experiencing, chances are you need to look at changing them. By humbling myself and recognizing that my outdated belief system resulted in our financially-poor reality led to a desire to identify what I really wanted to experience.
I used my journal to write down how I wanted to feel about my finances. One of the major themes was that I wanted to feel secure financially. The next step was to describe what secure meant to me. As I wrote down that description, I was able to think about what milestones I needed to accomplish to feel secure.
Some of those things was the need to secure steady income asap. That meant, quitting self-employment and securing a job. When I achieved a steady income then I would focus on achieving a $0 balance on my credit card (I didn’t want to use the words debt-free because the focus and energy would be on debt).
Other activities such as insurance, additional income, KiwiSaver, savings, etc. were listed as milestones for me to accomplish that connected directly to feeling secure. These activities are accomplished one at a time and are done in phases. Phases 1 is to achieve a $0 balance. Phase 2 is to add insurance, KiwiSaver and savings. Phase 3 to begin growing a portfolio to build assets. By having a goal and a definition, I was able to align specific activities that would achieve that goal.
The other learning was creating a monthly financial forecast and tracking system. It is key to know exactly what I was doing with my money. It started on paper to confirm what info I wanted to track and then I used an app called Spendee to track my spending along with Google Sheets. By knowing exactly what was happening, I felt very confident about the future and was able to make very good decisions ahead of time.
Last, and the most important learning was to rely upon the Lord for help. When you experience a very low point in your life, your humility and willingness to look upward increases. I came to the realization that trying to accomplish this mammoth task was far beyond my own capacity. I need divine help. The Lord was in the details and provided the opportunities to pay off the debt, the strength to do it and the guidance to navigate through the journey.
As we celebrated this day, my heart is deeply grateful for the mercy and direction of the Lord. He truly strengthen our family that we didn’t feel the burden upon our backs and we were able to cheerfully overcome our challenge. Thanks be to God for His help in accomplishing what was at the time a near impossible task to overcome.