Perspective and Why My Debt is Different from Your Debt

3190814

But the really killer thing is that you can do it! No matter how bad off you think you might be, there are ways to dig out. Seek guidance, ask for support, read and learn, and find ways to solve your financial problems. The sacrifices to do so might sting quite a bit, but they’re only temporary, and then you’ll have the life you want to live.

_________________________

For the most part, I would say that anyone I’ve let in on my personal financial crisis and efforts to remedy that crisis have been wildly positive. Close friends and family have told us they are proud of our efforts, some have told us we’re finally “adulting,” and still others have said we have inspired them to get their own financial lives in order. All of this is GREAT!

But there’s always one…

There’s always the butthole in the crowd who has to throw shade. I borrowed that term from my dear, personal friend, TayTay, or as she’s commonly known, Taylor Swift.

So in our case, it was one person who just had to make a comment about how much money I bring in from my job. It went something like this:

“Well sure, it’s easy for you to project paying off $50,000 this year. We don’t all get bonuses and stock vests that we can just throw around.”

I distinctly remember the “throw around” part, and while it initially made my blood boil, after I had calmed down a bit, I realized I may be causing folks to have a skewed perspective of me.

So here goes…

Let me begin by saying that I make a great living, and I feel incredibly fortunate. As a guy who spent the first part of his young adult life working an insanely difficult manual labor job on a cattle farm, I understand that I have very little to complain about both when it comes to my income and the environment that I now work in.

The next thing I’ll say is that I do make more than the average person, and I also have more debt that the average person.

So instead of focusing on dollar amounts, let’s talk in percentages so that nobody focuses on income or anything like that.

Let’s start with how things broke down in January, with each percentage on the right being amount of our total monthly income was getting taken by each category.

January 2019

  • House – 42%
  • Credit Card and School Debt – 25%
  • Utilities (Garbage, Power, Water, Etc.) – 10%
  • Nice-to-Haves (Cable, iTunes Music, Netflix, Etc.) – 15%
  • Expenses (Groceries, Gas, Etc.) – 29%

Now for those of you keeping track at home, that means we were spending 121% of our income. We were 21% over what we were bringing in. EVERY. SINGLE. MONTH.

Now let’s take a look at today.

August 2019

  • House 39% (Yeah, I know it’s still too much. It is what it is.)
  • Credit Card and School Debt – 20%
  • Utilities – 9%
  • Nice-to-Haves – 6%
  • Expenses – 20%

So now we are at 94% of our monthly income. Which means we’re able to split 6% between savings and 401k. Still not a lot of room for error, but a huge swing from where we were in January, and at least something going into savings/retirement.

Those monthly incomes include any bonus, taxes, or stock vests averaged out between them. Next month a big chunk will come in from those sources, and we’ll use it to make a serious dent in our debt, but it will come at the sacrifice of many other things.

We didn’t do this through magic or some privilege of trust funds or anything of that nature. AND WE ARE NOT OUT OF THE WOODS BY ANY STRETCH. At the end of this year, we’ll be lucky to have paid off one-third of our debt. We did this by making significant sacrifices; we sold prized possessions, I traded in my car, we got side hustles, we cancelled a lot of nice-to-haves. We worked at it!

I’m not complaining, and I’m not asking for anyone to feel sorry for me, but I do think it’s important for people like Mr. Butthole above to understand that we were in a bad spot no matter how you look at the numbers, and we have put forth a stupidly difficult effort to dig out to where we are now.

And I sure as hell won’t apologize for a moment about my income level! I bust my ass every single day at work, I spend weeks away from my family every year traveling for business, and I put myself through night classes to get a degree while still working at my day job. I earned my income. I also earned the student debt that paid for those night classes. Don’t tell me I didn’t sacrifice.

The point of all of this is:

Your situation is probably different than mine. You might make less money, but you also might make a sh*t-ton more. It really doesn’t matter. The point is that if you have debt and you don’t want debt, then you’re going to have to make some sacrifices, and you’re going to have to work for it.

But the really killer thing is that you can do it! No matter how bad off you think you might be, there are ways to dig out. Seek guidance, ask for support, read and learn, and find ways to solve your financial problems. The sacrifices to do so might sting quite a bit, but they’re only temporary, and then you’ll have the life you want to live.

To the readers of this blog, you fall squarely into the category of “wildly positive,” and I can’t thank you enough. You have no idea just how much you inspire me to keep going, and I really appreciate each and everyone of you that have read and/or shared this blog.

Keep digging!

postend-1

If you’ve got a question or a comment about this post, leave it below, and I promise to respond!

2 thoughts on “Perspective and Why My Debt is Different from Your Debt

  1. It’s no surprise to anyone that Mr. Butthole is probably just envious. I think those people just haven’t got the vision — the fear — that drives people like us to get off the pot. Dave Ramsey talks about Gazelle Intensity… the fear drives that intensity.

    Maybe Mr. BH has the fear but is hooked up to someone who doesn’t… Some people, for some reason, like the debt… I can’t fathom that, but there are some.

    Your title made me think of a paraphrased “Rifleman’s Creed”: “This is my debt. There are many like it but this debt is mine.”

    What others do with and about their own debt is their own business. Eventually, Dave, we’re going to be debt free… which means free. And all the sacrifices we’ve made to get there will be so worth it.

    Liked by 1 person

    • The fact that he makes you refer to him as Mr. Butthole speaks volumes about him. Classic Butthole right there.

      I cannot wait for that debt free day. I hope I live to see it. 😉

      Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.