Chad's Story Can Become Your Story! Written by Chad Peshke, August of 2013
Why would I want to tell you my story? Why would my wife, Christina, ever agree to letting me tell our story so vulnerably and transparently?
It’s because I want you to understand why I have this insane passion for working with people on managing personal finances. It’s because I want you to understand why I get in to work early every day so I can work on ways to Make Finances Simple for people and Change Their Lives!
When I was younger, I thought more money and more "stuff" would make me happier. I had dreams of being rich and living the "good life"! These beliefs resulted in me making a lot of poor decisions in an effort to chase those materialistic things, which led to a lot of pain in my life. The majority of those mistakes were related to finances.
By the time I was 30, I had made just about every financial mistake possible.
Here is the short-list version of those mistakes:
I worked several jobs I hated because I wanted more money
I purchased an expensive luxury car I couldn't afford, to impress people I didn't even know
I borrowed from the equity on my home to support a lifestyle that was well beyond my means
I loaned others large sums of money that I borrowed on credit
I missed my engagement pictures with Christina because I had to work
I was absolutely buried in debt at the young age of 30
These are things I am NOT proud to admit. The above choices caused me to spend years lying awake at night stressed and worried sick about money. Being broke was affecting every part of my life.
I also know that your story can change. Mine did.
I remember hitting rock bottom on July 26, 2009. It was on this day that I decided something needed to change. I was only months away from proposing to Christina, and my finances were a mess. I remember thinking about all the families I had seen torn apart by financial problems. I was determined to make sure finances would not ruin my marriage...money was NOT going to take down my family.
And because of this decision, my story would forever change.
I stopped running away from finances (it was no fun being followed...especially by debt!). Christina and I began our marriage with a pact to do whatever necessary to ensure we wouldn't live a life buried by debt. This meant no longer outspending our income. It meant going on an all-out mission to get rid of debt.
So we started selling anything and everything we didn't need in order to raise cash to pay down our debts. As Dave Ramsey says, we started “selling so much that our kids thought they were next!” Our animals were our kids at that point; and they spent the better part of a year hiding every time a buyer from Craigslist knocked at our front door, because they knew something was leaving!
We even put our house up for sale less than one year after being married. Christina had visions of “nesting” in the home, not getting rid of it! It certainly wasn't an easy decision. But we refused to be slaves to debt our whole lives; and this meant selling our home was the best decision at the time.
No matter how bad our situation was, we knew others had it worse. We still had food on our table and a roof over our head. Others weren’t so lucky. So Christina and I started giving more to those in need. We also started placing more importance on getting out of debt than that weekend’s entertainment.
Great things happen when your personal finance behavior matches your goals! Our goals were to get out of debt, and put people first. We were accomplishing both very quickly.
In just three years, Christina and I cut our total debt IN HALF! This debt included everything from student loans, to personal loans, to auto loans and mortgage loans. In fact, we paid off all consumer debt (everything except our mortgage) in this three year period. We had a specific plan to get out of debt; and we worked very hard on that plan.
The plan allowed us to keep the house we almost had to sell, and cease having a roommate (yes, we had a roommate living with us in the beginning of our marriage). More importantly, when my wife had a major surgery in 2012, we were able to pay cash for the medical expenses. Not having the burden of financial worries while she was going through the physical pain of her procedure was a huge relief!
The increased financial freedom has also allowed Christina to start taking off summers from teaching; and I am able to now spend more time volunteering with the finance ministry at our church. (UPDATE FROM INITIAL WRITING - we had our first child, Connor, on October 8, 2014; and because of aligning our money with our priorities, Christina has been able to stay home from work to be with Connor since the day he was born!)
If we can do it, trust me when I say you can too!
It's amazing what happens when you commit to your marriage and “doing life together”, including finances. It's important to have joint goals and work together to achieve those goals. I know success with money doesn't necessarily make you happy. But I also know that having financial problems definitely makes you miserable. I've been on both sides.
Zig Ziglar once said, “If you help enough people with their problems, yours will go away”. But you can’t help others with their problems if you're too worried about yours. I've made a ton of mistakes. More importantly, I've learned from those mistakes and made the moves necessary to change things. I know what it's like to change my ways and see the results; and I want others to experience that same joy of being able to put people first, even before money.
Because of this, I designed a system to model the exact plan that Christina and I used to chop our debt in half in just 3 years. This system ensures people manage money according to their own values in life. It was designed to help married couples be on the same page in accomplishing joint goals (it works for single folks too!). This system was designed to change YOUR story.
You're not alone here. There's no reason to be ashamed regardless of how embarrassing you think your situation is. One of the biggest smiles I've seen was on the face of a young man who showed me his collection of 72 credit cards. Yes, 72! The smile was because he had cancelled and paid off every one of those credit cards. He was free from the chains of debt!
What about you? Do you want to change your story? Whether you like it or not, personal finances plays a big role. Your life is impacted by the decisions you make today. Now is your chance to change your story!
We love Changing Lives by Making Finances Simple; and we want to help change your life. I remember very specifically being at my friends' table on July 26, 2009 when I made the decision to change my story. Where will you be when you make that decision? More importantly, when will you make that choice?
Click here to learn how we can work together to change your story!