The Lean Years Part 1: Getting Real

So after coming to grips with the realization that I couldn’t afford a vacation for the rest of my life, I was determined to do 2 things:

First: figure out where I went wrong.

Second: figure out how to fix it.

Figuring out where I went wrong meant getting very real with how much debt I actually had.  The first thing I did was take my Excel checkbook with 1 year of paychecks forecasted out and add a sheet to that. That 2nd sheet was called “Balances”.  I wrote in each and every debt I had (whether consumer or personal), the total balance, the interest rate, and the minimum payment. This, by far, was the most gut-wrenching thing I’ve ever done. Ever.

My birds-eye-view of my financial life looked a little something like this:

The Starting Point

As a side note: The above spreadsheet does not include items that my ex was responsible for paying, per our Separation Agreement. At beginning of The Lean Years my FICO credit report showed a total of $240,000 in debt, which included a $165k house and joint-credit cards not listed above. Yes, that’s right… $240,000.

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