I was sitting with my best friend while she worked on her budget, and I was probably scrolling through Instagram when she asked me, “How much debt do you have?” I replied with I don’t know. “Maybe $35K”. The reality was up to then I didn’t like analyzing, nor did I ever want to come face to face with the stark reality of my financial situation. So for a while, I’d pay $20 to $100 on my loans. I wasn’t even covering the interest. I’d avoid Mohela’s calls, and sometimes they’d call me from different numbers after I paid off my debt I made a promise to myself that I’d never avoid debt collection calls.
May 2013, I lost my job, for the first time since graduating from college, I was without a steady income, not to mention the mental stress, self-doubt, and forlorn feeling unemployment brings. It took me almost six months before I found another job. Those months were dark and often lonely. I must have applied for over a thousand jobs easily with few callbacks all the while my debt was accumulating interest to my detriment. I got calls several times a day, and once a week I’d answer the debt collection calls from Mohela to ensure I’d deferred my payments. Once I got back on my feet, I started chipping away at my debt, and most notably, my lifestyle changed. I shared with a friend yesterday. I ate mostly rice and stew for several months. I had laser-like intensity when I got serious about eliminating my debt. Full disclosure I did not have a car payment. I drove Acura, a 2003 Acura TL that gave me fits but she fought until her last days. At the time, I was working in insurance sales and would throw every bonus at my debt, and I became the aggressor. My loans were set up were in sequential order, and some sequences had higher interest loans than others. I decided to start paying off those loans first. Call your loan provider and learn how much your per diem is on each loan you have. Some of mine were as high as $3 meaning over a year without payment I could accrue $1,095
Personal finance was my life. May 1, 2017, seven years, 2,548 days after walking across the stage to receive my collegiate diploma I was debt-free. Luckily I keep credit card usage low by using cash for most purchases outside of travel and have always driven cars that were cash purchases. Like my high school teachers used to tell me, it’s always easier to get an A than to keep it. The point is as difficult as it was paying off my debt, keeping it off has been equally challenging. Although it’s been two years, personal finance is part of my life’s work to help others too see past the forest of debt. It’s been over a year, and I’m glad to say that I am still debt-free, but the next chapter is inspiring a generation to live debt-free. Welcome to the 400 LB Elephant