Sunday, July 15, 2012

Looking Back

Don't be a sucker!
I am still trying to wrap my mind around the fact that I will finally get a chance to speak to the one and only Gail Vaz-Oxlade on September 10th! It still feels a bit surreal to me. My last post had the highest readership of all time and in the past month I have gotten well over 1000 views on my blog which means that a lot of people are reading what I have to say and are watching my progress.

Even better are all the in-person conversations I am beginning to have with friends and strangers about how to get their finances on track. The yoga studio has really brought me into the spotlight to a whole new audience. It is so important to have a dialogue going about debt. Once others realize that they are not alone in paying down their debt, they can begin to see that there is a light at the end of the tunnel, no matter how dire the situation may seem. Even though I am doing very well in my repayment, I still learn so much from the people I talk to about how I can cut corners and stay on track. Sometimes I need reminders that what I have accomplished is really quite incredible.

When I began this process, I really had no idea where it was going to take me. Part of me was scared that I would fail and stay stuck in the hole that I had dug, another part of me was excited to take control of something that had completely derailed me. When my friends had left for a trip around the world using the savings they had, I realized that my spending was awful and my savings were nonexistent because they were both making the same salary as I, but they had so much more to show for it. I needed to come to terms with the fact that I wasn't as good with money as I had always believed. More importantly, I needed to see that I had become everything that banks and retailers wanted - a sucker.

Do you remember that when I started this process I was paying $314.06 PER MONTH on interest payments? Now that figure has been reduced to under $40 , which is still $hitty, but it's a massive improvement. Can you see now why paying things off rapidly is so important? Think about all the money that you could be saving if you can pay off your debt in under 3 years. The banks take enough from you in fees, so why let them take your money in interest as well? What is the point in having savings at less than 2% if you are going to pay interest at 19.98%? There are so few things that you actually need to pay for on your credit card, and using your own money is so much more rewarding.

If you take control, kill the debt and build your savings, the banks will start paying you! You could be the one collecting $314.06 in interest per month, and you SHOULD be in that situation eventually. Few of us want to work for the rest of our lives, so we need to plan ahead and be realistic with where we see ourselves in the future. We are expected to live longer and longer, so we need to have savings that last longer and longer as well. Pension plans are great, but they won't keep you living at the high standards that you may be accustomed to, so start now, try to live with less, and you will gain so much more happiness for the rest of your life.