Hi! My name is Claire and I’m in debt. That isn’t the shocking part of course because if you are visiting this blog then you KNOW I am in debt. The shock will be when you see the numbers–and it won’t be a shock just for blog readers. It will be a shock for anyone who knows me. I am perhaps the last person anyone would ever guess would have the amount of debt I have. In every area of my life I am known for being organized and responsible. I am the person people look to for advice. I don’t live a lavish lifestyle that would explain all of the debt. Many consider me frugal! Heck! I think I’ve even bought into this vision others have about me and that has only contributed to the madness!
“Failure is the opportunity to begin again more intelligently.” Henry Ford Okay, Mr. Ford…here goes:
I don’t accept failure with grace. I’m sure you’re thinking most people don’t–but I really, really don’t accept failure with grace. When faced with failure, instead of embracing it for the learning and growing opportunity it is, I have learned that I have an incredible ability to live in denial. Avoid! Avoid! Avoid! Take sports for example–from an early age I realized I had no athletic abilities so beginning in about the 2nd grade, I never did anything remotely close to athletics. I only do things that I am naturally good at doing. If only my inability to handle finances had resulted in my never using credit, I’d be okay…but instead I knew I wasn’t good at managing money…so I didn’t. I kept USING money mind you–sometimes my money, more often some lender’s money and stayed away from managing money…just like I stayed away from sports. That’s the bad news. The good news is I’ve learned that about myself and now hope to maintain that knowledge in my conscience thinking.
I am a wife, a mom to 2, a stepmom to 2 more, a daughter, a sister, a professional with an advanced degree and a financial failure. It feels good to admit that!
I am newly remarried. No one ever expects their first marriage to end in divorce. While I never would have chosen my path I now embrace it fully! After 14 years of marriage and two awesome kids—I got a divorce. I took the debt from the first marriage spent two years as a single mom of two…adding debt on top of the debt of divorce…and then met my adorable match and now husband. Enter the blended family and the Mount Kilimanjaro of all challenges–on every front–and yep…you guessed it..more debt!
My financial life was spiraling out of control. I don’t know what the lightbulb moment was really but something happened on January 1, 2012. My new husband and I devised a plan to tackle our spending and my debt aggressively. I say “MY” debt because it is all my debt. When we met and married, my husband had a home mortgage and nothing more. No school loans, no credit cards, no car loan, nothing. That said, he’ll admit there wasn’t a lot saved either and having no credit history creates a problem of its own! He’s sort of like Rip Van Winkle as he seeks credit! But imagine my stress level as I learned he had no debt and I was coming with a tsunami size tidal wave. There have been BIG challenges, but he has been wonderful through the process and as his house has dramatically lost value and he finds himself upside down and unable to sell and his paid off very old car finally gave way…well we have to accept that we simply make each other better! Without the other we are individually in a bad place…together we have a chance.
We are only 2 months into this journey and I am hopeful that by sharing my story with others, I will keep the momentum going to a debt-free life! I just read Tricia’s update regarding her life after being debt free and it could not have come at a better time. I expect this blog to hold me accountable. I expect this blog to remind me that I cannot run from the debt like I ran from sports! Thanks in advance.
So, I’ll let you have some time to absorb what you know so far about my story…and then we will reveal the big numbers we face…but don’t judge me please! I’m stepping out with some hesitation and need to know I am not alone! 🙂 If you have to lie to me…LIE! Just kidding!