Synopsis of my own history with money –
Until age 46 I had no credit card debt, lived within my means, saved money and was comfortable with my cash inflow and outflow. That all changed the spring of 2002, when I quit my job as a tenured professor of accounting at Salt Lake Community College. My steady income and great benefits stopped. Having taught college for 16 years I wanted to expand my world, go beyond the security of being an employee for a large organization, and become an entrepreneur. I had the opportunity to join my two girlfriends in creating The Arts Organization. Later we formed another business, which invested in two rental properties.
I invested all of my time and savings in these businesses. When the savings ran out I withdrew most of my retirement (paying the hefty 10% penalties) and put it into the businesses. When I couldn’t take out any more retirement I used my credit cards to keep the businesses afloat. All of the debt for both businesses was in my name. Over the course of 6 years I never paid myself anything. In fact, I put money into the businesses every single month. Needless to say, this financial behavior was not sustainable. Everything came to a screeching halt the summer of 2008 when my cash sources completely dried up. I was forced to get honest about my finances and the viability of the businesses in which I was involved. I walked away from the businesses and went back to full-time teaching at SLCC.
In January of 2009 I declared bankruptcy. Two years later I paid off my car and was debt-free. I fully fund my ROTH IRA account annually and have an 8-month emergency savings fund. I am able to save money by living below my means but within my needs.
Gifts my experience has given me —
People feel comfortable sharing their financial situation with me because I have released the deep guilt and shame I felt about my own money history and being a CPA, I have the expertise to assist them. Having lived at both ends of the spectrum–from being honest and connected to my money to being irresponsible and disconnecting from the reality of my financial situation—I have no judgment towards any of my clients, regardless of how they handle money.
I know that in order to create lasting security we must stand in our truth when it comes to our finances and take control of them—right here, right now.
Increasing consciousness about money, even in the smallest way, will positively affect the whole of your life. I saw the connection between my relationship with money and the relationship with my closest friend. Both were unsustainable. As I healed one relationship the other was healed, as well.