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Six years ago I filed for bankruptcy. Throughout my 20's and into my 30's I overspent. What began as a convenience to purchasing when I seemed 'short on cash' and spending on what I initially thought were 'essentials' to taking care of myself became a burdensome $20,000 in debt. I have a business degree and was always aware of some budgeting basics---the 25-30% housing guideline I always prided myself for following, the encouraged $2000/year towards retirement. I had what I thought of as a good understanding on the value of cash. I always paid my bills on time and had what I thought of as 'good credit'.
After my bankruptcy, I felt some relief but I was also scared. I was scared because I had become accustomed to my 'safety net'. Instead of having savings, I was used to having a credit card to 'take care of me'. I continued to live 'month to month' . The past two years have probably been the best for my own understanding of cash and how I spend it. A turning point came while I was quite unhappy with my employment. It felt like a dead end, "I was never going to make enough money". I work two part time jobs, one that is my passion & seasonal and one to help round out my income. I sat down with pen and paper and looked at what I absolutely needed to cover my costs and for how long I would be ok. If I stuck to my budget, I could get through 5 months with one job. The best news, I went 18 months, living on less than $800/month.
I felt great freedom. I simply paid my bills at the beginning of the month and what I had left, I had left. My rent became almost 70 % of my income. My social activities have always been modest compared to most. I made different choices. When my car broke down, I walked and learned I could ride my bike further and further. I continued like this for 18 months, still living month to month, but happy. I knew I had 'enough'. Everyone knew I was available for pick up work. You name it, I could do it. Both professional and labor assignments. Covering my expenses at the beginning of each month felt victorious. On paper I knew my expected income two to three months in advance. I was looking forward to spending less once I earned more money. Could I remember what I had learned?
Six months into full time employment, still two part-time jobs, but happier. I know what my fixed expenses are and plan for them. Budgeting for the unexpected is the biggest challenge. Once I returned to full-time employment, I made appointments with the dentist and eye doctor. It felt like a luxury.
Today, I am attempting to adhere to my monthly budget vs. dipping into next month's income. I have the goal of paying off a department store credit card this spring with my tax refund. And saving over the next few months for some dental work on the horizon.
A widow, living on Social Security and a part-time job, found herself in a bind when her employer cut back her hours. She did not have the money to maintain even her modest lifestyle. Worse, she fell behind on her mortgage payments and was facing foreclosure -- the sheriff’s sale was already scheduled. She was humiliated and too embarrassed to tell her family about her situation and ask for help.
A mutual friend told Les. He called and encouraged her to contact him. She did and opened up to him about the whole situation.
After talking with the woman, Les realized that her problem was a common one – reduced cash flow. But she had an asset that she did not even know about – substantial equity in the house that was about to be foreclosed. (By the way, the mortgage company never mentioned this to her.)
Les suggested a reverse mortgage and explained the concept to her. She decided to move ahead with it. What is more, she handled the whole thing herself with Les coaching and counseling her on what to prepare, say and do. She now has a positive cash flow between her (reduced hours!) job, Social Security and reverse mortgage. More important, she is secure and will enjoy her home for the rest of her days.
Bonus Points: Her son-in-law lost a great job. She is now able to provide a temporary home for the family (her daughter son-in-law and two grandchildren) until they get back on their feet financially.
The team at BestCashFlowSolutionS really took the time to get to know me and what I want to achieve. Working with them was a true pleasure, as they treated me like an individual, not just another number.
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