Hi everybody. I’m Matt from the Living In Financial Excellence blog. I’m super excited to be here and [finally] writing my member post.
I’d always considered myself to be good with money.
- I saved my money in high school and paid cash for my first car.
- I graduated from college with no student loans.
- I only used my credit card when I had the money to pay it off that month.
- I invested in Roth IRAs early in life.
But I was also doing some dumb things with money. I had car payments when I got older. I spent money when I felt like it and often bought at full price. Even though I was investing, I was only putting away $50 a month, as opposed to my $400 car payments. As soon as we paid off our car, we went and got another car payment.
Pretty stupid behaviors if you ask me now, but back then it seemed perfectly fine because everyone I knew had a car payment, etc. so I figured it must just be a way of life. As long as I was doing better than my broke friends, I felt pretty good about our finances.
SOMETHING CLICKED WHEN I HIT MY 30′s
Somewhere in my early 30′s something clicked and I realized we weren’t doing as well with our money as we could be. I didn’t want to be just a little better than broke. I didn’t want to be one step better than normal. I didn’t want to be tied to my job just so I could keep making my debt payments.
So my wife and I decided to make a change. We made financial excellence a priority in our lives. We started doing a more effective monthly budget together. We started communicating more openly about our spending, our goals, and our fears. After a few months of struggling, we actually got on the same page with our finances.
We stopped using our credit cards. We started using cash and only spending what we budgeted for. We paid off the rest of our debt except the house. We built up an emergency fund, and then started investing a monthly amount that actually made a difference for our future. The best part is we are able to give more than we’ve ever given in the past, because we can.
Today we are completely debt free and loving life. We aren’t anchored down by debt anymore and we have so many more options. That’s Financial Excellence.
OUR COMMITMENT IS OUR OWN
Some people made fun of us when we made the commitment to live without debt. Others started asking for advice. That’s when I became a financial coach and started a business, of which my blog has played a big role in changing lives. Today I blog because I’m passionate about personal finance and challenging the normal way of thinking. Normal is broke and in debt. I challenge my audience to be weird and live debt free so your income is free to work for you.
In 2009, I lost my job as a manufacturing engineer. A lot of people would panic and search fervently for a new job. I decided I was tired of working a traditional job so I brought my part time financial coaching business to full time status. I began blogging more frequently and launched a weekly podcast to reach more people with good financial information and advice.
We had no debt and a fully funded emergency fund so we could afford to take a cut in pay for a short period of time. Once again, being debt free meant we had options.
That’s where I am today. Coaching people with their finances, blogging, and podcasting. And, thanks to the Yakezie network, consistently improving at all of the above.
Interesting random notes about me:
- I served six years in the Army as a Field Artillery officer.
- I lived in Germany for three years.
- I’ve jumped out of perfectly good airplanes (and loved it).
- I love to hunt and fish (usually come home empty-handed, though).
- I’ve been married for 13 years and have two awesome kids.
- I love challenging the norm. If someone tells me it can’t be done, I immediately have a burning desire to prove them wrong.
- My wife and I are completely debt free in our mid-thirties.
- I also own a small camping goods manufacturing and distributing company, specializing in the type of products that make you wonder, “Why didn’t I think of that?”
I’m looking forward to continued personal growth with the Yakezie, and more opportunities to give back to a great community!
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