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:
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.