Don’t Be Ashamed Of Your Financial Story

It’s easy to become discouraged and even disgusted by your own financial story these days. Everywhere you look, a 20-something is making millions or a 30-something has enough money in investments to retire. And there you sit with heaping debt, not knowing how to fund your child’s college education, and a tiny retirement account. Financial blogs have a way of either motivating or discouraging the reader. In our endless pursuit to compare ourselves to others, we lose sight of our own journey. And lets face it, that’s the only journey that matters…

Our Story

 

Our story is not one of retiring in our 30s. Unfortunately, we already missed that marker. I’m suspecting quite a few of you fine people have too. Not to worry, despite the plethora of sexy stories out there touting how 30-somethings are throwing in the employme

picture of us

Relaxing by the lake

nt towel, it’s still quite an accomplishment and really freakin’ awesome to become financially independent AT ANY AGE!

When we first entered the world of personal finance and writing this blog, we were just coming out of a dark financial place. For the majority of our adult lives, we were working our full-time jobs and saving here and there. We weren’t terrible when it came to our money; but, we certainly weren’t going to make a Yahoo headline. And being past the big 4-0, we likely never will. Becoming financially independent past your 30s just isn’t considered sexy enough to be big news anymore. That’s okay, we’re still REALLY going to enjoy it and consider our financial story a huge success whenever we hit our goal!

Hatching The Plan

 

Rings

Ready. Set. Invest!

We didn’t meet until we were well into our 30s, which meant we didn’t have a financial plan that we hatched together after college. Instead, we had a trail of bad relationships and financial missteps littering our past. At one point or another, we both racked up major credit card debt, abandoned retirement savings, and allowed less than stellar relationships to last way too long. In sum, we weren’t putting our finances front and center because we had PLENTY of time to start saving later.

After we met, we continued to live as we always had – assuming we had PLENTY of time ahead of us. Then we woke up one day and realized our time was slipping away. The turning point for us was when we nearly purchased The American Dream (read: a house we couldn’t comfortably afford) for our family. Luckily, the deal fell apart because of mother nature! Woot Woot! We were smart enough to take a step back and take inventory of ourselves and our finances. At that very moment, we decided we needed to make BIG changes to reach our ultimate goal of financial independence. And if we wanted to reach that goal before our golden years – we needed to change – FAST. So, we did.

Your Story

 

I’m guessing you might also have some financial missteps in your past that you’re working to overcome. I’m here to tell you that that’s great! Yes, that is great! Why? Because it’s making you work harder and appreciate every single financial win you make. On a side note – it’s also making you an interesting person. Years from now, when you tell your story, people will listen.

Your story will forever be changed the moment you decided to take control of your money and build wealth for yourself, your family, and future generations. Yes, that one tiny decision you made to get yourself back on track with your finances can and likely will affect future generations of your family tree. Now that’s powerful!

Taking Control

 

After making the decision to take control of your money, you’ll want to start by examining every single expense that’s eating into your monthly cash. Dissect all expenses – Big and Small. And trust me, no expense is too small to be overlooked. I’m lookin’ at you, morning coffee!

Quick and Dirty List of Items to Examine…

 

-Housing

-Transportation

-Insurances

-Utilities

-Groceries

-Mobile Phones

-Cable

Consumer Debt/Interest rates

-Misc. Shopping

-Entertainment

-Coffee. Yes, coffee.

And just in case you’re interested, check out my free 5-day email course to take control of your money here!

 

You Start Where You Start

 

Mad Money Cat

Mad Money Cat is a certified feline financial advisor.

So, stop becoming discouraged by reading financial success stories of people who have retired years before you will. Instead, draw inspiration and motivation from those stories. After all, if they can do it, you can too!

Your story is just that. It’s yours. It doesn’t matter if you start at 20 or if you start at 45. According to the numbers, anyone can become financially independent in about a decade. If you’re working with a double income, maybe less. If you’re working with a single income, maybe longer. Either way, financial independence is about the journey.

What are your thoughts on this topic? Have you ever been discouraged by reading about the financial successes of people much younger than you? If so, how did you overcome it?

 

14 comments… add one
  • The 76K Project Jul 15, 2017, 4:36 pm

    I don’t feel discouraged by those stories; if anything, they motivate me. What I *do* wonder is how/why these young individuals found it in themselves to start scrimping, saving, and planning at an age when I was spending, spending, and spending. My mentality was one of Living In The Moment, and to that end, I thought nothing of impulse purchases and spur-of-the-moment getaways. I do regret not exercising more restraint, but at this point all we can do is move forward, appreciate what we have (and even with the debt, we have so much), and do better.

    • Mad Money Monster Jul 19, 2017, 12:13 pm

      I think it’s amazing that so many young people are finding this financial path so early. My opinion is that the rise of the Internet and social media (as well as the FIRE community) have all contributed to it. I have always had an interest in building a nest egg and investing and I’m sure I would’ve really buckled down had I seen stories like these when I was younger.

      Oh well. Like you said, we start where we start and move forward.

  • Ryan @ JustAnotherDollar Jun 22, 2017, 7:59 am

    I don’t usually get discouraged reading the runaway success stories. I believe that it’s unfair to compare yourself to anyone else as everyone has their own obstacles, drive, and definitions of success. I think it’s important to share the struggles along your journey as well as the successes, it’s what will make your story relatable and hopefully allow readers to connect more with the story you’re telling.

    • Mad Money Monster Jun 23, 2017, 12:12 pm

      I usually don’t get discouraged either…but I definitely wish we had started sooner than we did. Oh well. It makes for an interesting story.

  • Dave Jun 22, 2017, 7:14 am

    We all have different starting points and come from different backgrounds. My dad always said that it only matters where you finish. Also, you have to have fun and enjoy the process along the way. I have found that I cannot compare who I am as a person to the material success of others. If I do that, I will never be at peace with myself.

    • Mad Money Monster Jun 23, 2017, 12:10 pm

      Your dad sounds like a wise man! 🙂

  • Lance @ My Strategic Dollar Jun 21, 2017, 6:02 pm

    Great post! Everybody has their own story and there’s nothing to be ashamed of.

    • Mad Money Monster Jun 23, 2017, 12:09 pm

      Thanks! I agree 🙂

  • Counting Quarters Jun 21, 2017, 2:27 pm

    By reading so many different blogs out there and so many stories. It just reassures me that there is not just one path out there to reach financial independence. Millions of people have achieved it in millions of different ways. As long as you put your mind to it anything is possible.

    • Mad Money Monster Jun 21, 2017, 3:43 pm

      I totally agree!

  • Dads Dollars Debts Jun 21, 2017, 10:50 am

    Couldn’t agree more. Everyone has their own story and starting late is better than never. We have made more then a few financial missteps including buying that big “Dream” home (more like a nightmare as we have hemorrhaged money since buying it). The key is to set a plan and stick to it. Revisiting it once a year and adjusting as needed, but keeping the trajectory going forward.

    • Mad Money Monster Jun 21, 2017, 11:44 am

      Yes, we are all about putting our heads down and avoiding any future missteps through the inspiration of others.

      But ya gotta admit, you now have a pretty cool story about that big “dream” house that others can learn from! You have to look on the bright side. 🙂

  • Kate Jun 21, 2017, 9:45 am

    I find it both encouraging and depressing to read about people so much younger than me who have either reached or are closer to FI than I am. But I totally agree with you — my journey is not theirs and it’s important to own and learn from the missteps along the way. It’s about looking to the future, not the past.

    The hope is that people who haven’t discovered FIRE will find inspiration in reading about other peoples’ paths and know that there’s a better life waiting for them — they just have to realize it. And there are so many ways to achieve FI that hopefully people will find one they can identify with.

    • Mad Money Monster Jun 21, 2017, 11:42 am

      I couldn’t agree with you more. We are often saddened that it took us so long to figure this all out. But when I think about it, it would’ve taken us much longer had we not heard about FIRE.

      Thankfully our community is growing by leaps and bounds – hopefully others can avoid some of our missteps and reach their FI goals faster 🙂

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