Guest Post: The Breaking Point
Hi GMBMFB Readers! My name is Ginna Neel and I’m the writer of My Pretty Pennies, a personal finance blog that’s a little bit more personal than financial. Krystal was so nice to let me share my story with you guys today, so thanks for reading. I hope you guys have a happy Friday! :)
Anyone who is passionate about their finances has had a breaking moment at least once in their lifetime. Maybe it was when you realized you spent more on shoes than food in the last month. Or maybe you saw a compound interest chart and realized what that could mean in your life. Or maybe you got around to looking at your bank account only to find you spent half your paycheck at Starbucks and Anthropologie.
My breaking point moment was in the summer of 2007. I had just gotten home from a month-long European trip (see photo) and was about to start my senior year of college.I left the exotic city of Munich with a $5,000 study abroad loan and less than $300 in my bank account. When I arrived home, I was welcomed with a very unwelcome surprise. My parents called a “family meeting” and we all met in the living room, a room always associated with breaking bad news. My parents sat my sisters and me down and told us that we were in debt. Like, a lot of debt. My comfortable life had been a façade built on credit cards, and it was devastating seeing my parents so humbled breaking the news to us. They asked if we could help pay off our college loans, so I took all of my university loans in my name. I was hurt that they had kept this from us. I was angry that it had happened. I was heartbroken that my life was about to change. But I was most upset at myself for being a part of it and living a false luxurious lifestyle.
That was the moment where I started getting passionate about finances.
I went away determined to do something about it. I had a paid internship the next semester so I withdrew from school and heavied up my credits to the last semester so I could graduate in 3.5 years. I took Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University at my church and learned as much as I could. I moved to DC after graduation determined to make good choices with my entry-level paycheck. Each month, I would pay off as much debt as I could, while trying to save at the same time and juggle living in an expensive city. It was so hard, but three years and seven months after that meeting in the living room, I finally became debt free.
My story is just one small example of what getting passionate about finances look like. My parents had the same passion and sold our home of 22 years, lived on practically nothing for a while, and are now also debt-free.Krystal has a similar success story of getting on the right path and changing her net worth.
So I’m curious: What about you? When was your breaking point? When is the moment that you got serious about finances? If you aren’t passionate… well, what are you waiting for? Google compound interest and see what you find out. :)
Author: Krystal Yee
I’m a writer, personal finance blogger, and marketing professional based in Vancouver. I’m a former Toronto Star (Moneyville) columnist, author of The Beginner’s Guide to Saving and Investing, and co-founder of the Canadian Personal Finance Conference. When I’m not working, you can usually find me running, playing field hockey, or plotting my next adventure.