Financial Inventory (Part 1)

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I decided to sit down one night and do an exercise I was calling a “financial inventory.” Realized as I went on that it would have to be a bit more comprehensive that what I was prepared to do and that I was afraid to get this honest, especially since I was committed to putting it on my blog. This post will initially be a two-part post. The part you’re about to read are my estimates because I’m not ready to really find out how bad my financial state is (it’s 8:56pm and my goal today is to go to bed without drinking so spare me). The second part will have actual numbers.

The second part will be the cold, bitter, hard-to-swallow truth. I know it’s bad and right now, knowing that is enough. Without further ado, here is my financial inventory.

Age: 29 years old

Assets

  1. What assets do I own? Off the top of my head, none.
  2. Why are these items assets? N/A

Debt

  1. What debts do I owe? Student loans, personal loans, fines levied by the state of Michigan, and medical expenses.
  2. Amount owed: $125,000
  • Student Loans: $96,000
  • Personal Loans: $16,000
  • State Fines: $4,000
  • Medical Expenses: $1,500
  • Things in Collection: $7,500

Current Net Worth: -$125,000 (estimated)

Reflection Questions:

1. Who do I feel like I owe? I feel like I owe everyone. It causes and immense amount of pressure because it feels like a weight I’m being crushed under. I feel like my phone rings off the hook with bill collectors (which makes me think of my personal relationships with people) and I feel like some sort of fraud. At first, I told myself that “getting by” was okay because it could and would get better. But it has actually gotten worse.

2. Who do I actually owe? Sallie Mae/Navient; Brown Univ.; State of Michigan; Credit Acceptance; and Various Collection Agencies

3. What do I feel like I owe? I feel like I owe so much money that I’ll never own my name. That’s what it feels like. It feels like I’m a slave to this debt on an emotional, mental, and physical level.

4. What do I actually owe? I estimated $125,000 (based on the numbers the last time I looked at anything). I have to actually look it all up.

5. Why am I motivated to change now? Freedom; and I feel like I have to.

6. If I had $15,000 ($15k), what would I do right at this moment? I’d pay down my debt.

7. Did that answer really improve my life AS IS? No (and I’m thinking of life as is as the emotional response I had to that idea). It did not. As soon as I wrote it, I realized that emotionally, I felt like I couldn’t find joy and I don’t know why that is.

Starting Over

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It seems I’ve talked a lot about that on this here blog but here I am, yet again, with a report of having to start over.

Life became a bit more than I could handle and I found myself having to make what felt like dire decisions to just get to the next day. In a period of five weeks:

  • Broke my foot (this cost me over $600 out of pocket);
  • Lost my apartment (cost me over $2,300);
  • Finagled a last minute move that was crazy expensive (cost me over $200); and
  • Spent over what I would have normally spent to get to work ($30 a day or $150 a week).

I was making $14 an hour and I thought that spending money I didn’t have to spend was the worst of it. For a while, it was. Then I took a trip to Hawaii (that had been paid for the year before) and lost my personal identification and bank cards. Oh joy! That was surely going to be the worst of it?

Not. At. All.

It seemed as though collectors and creditors knew I was in dire straits and called for every single dollar they’ve ever leant me to be paid back. By this point, I was living with my Mom and had to enlist her help in this. The final verdict? She wouldn’t be able to help me.

And this is where I find myself today – steeped in embarrassment at my financial state and wondering IF it ever actually gets better for the poor folks who were born poor?

It might not but after some deep soul searching, I’ve recommitted to the idea of starting over, really starting over, so that I can eventually own my name. My debt has become a noose around my neck and while I know that money doesn’t buy happiness, it would certainly allow me to afford the scissors to cut myself loose.

We shall see!