It’s been ten years.
Ten years ago, an event happened that started the process of changing the way I managed my money. It was a once in a lifetime event, one I should have been able to say “yes” to, but I couldn’t because money was a deterrent to my dreams. It wasn’t really the money’s fault, I had allowed it to become that way because of my poor management skills.
Ten years ago was Elton John’s 60th Birthday – he was doing a concert in New York City, at Madison Square Garden, It was also his 60th concert at Madison Square Garden. Tickets were open to the public – anyone could go to this once in a lifetime event.
Anyone but me.
I couldn’t go because I didn’t have the money.
If you don’t know my story, you should know that I am a HUGE fan of Elton John. I attended my first concert when I was 19 years old. At that concert, I decided that my life long goal would be to meet Elton John. By 2006, I had attended thirteen concerts. It was inconceivable that I would miss out on this once in a lifetime event.
But I did.
I couldn’t go because I didn’t have the money.
In retrospect, as difficult as it was for me to not go, I now see it as a blessing. I needed something in my life to force me to change the way I managed money. This event was not the “financial rock bottom” like I would experience at the end of 2009 but it was pretty close. At the time, I didn’t know any other way of fixing my problem than to go out and make more money.
Guess what happens to more money when you can’t manage what you already have?
That’s right, you can’t manage the surplus either. I made more money, that wasn’t the problem. The problem was that I hadn’t changed the way I thought about or managed the money and so I made the same mistakes, kept the same pattern of behavior and by the end of 2009 found myself in a worse financial situation.
We’ve come a long way in ten years.
Debt was a deterrent to my dream. Now, money is a tool we use to pursue my dreams.
I had six credit cards to my name, now I have one
(I use to rent a car when I travel and it has a zero balance)
I had a student loan. Now, I pay cash for continuing education.
We used to put Christmas on credit. Now, we cash-flow Christmas.
In 2007, we took out a HELOC to put an addition on our home.
In 2015, we paid cash to gut and renovate our kitchen.
In 2004, I bought a car with payments. In 2013, I paid cash for a car. In 2016, I paid cash for another car.
Ten years ago, our emergency fund was whatever credit card had the lowest balance.
Now, we have cash in the bank for emergencies.
Ten years ago, we had NO plan for our financial future.
Now, we have an investment advisor AND a portfolio.
Ten years ago, I was working for someone else. Now, I own and run a successful company.
I spent a lot of time on Sunday reading the articles written about Elton John’s 70th Birthday Bash. It was a fundraising gala type of event in California. One thing that hasn’t changed in ten years? A “glitz and glamor” gala isn’t my thing.
I’d rather save my money for a concert experience!
I still remember the feelings I had when I couldn’t go to the 60th Birthday concert. Even though it took me a while to change my mindset about money, I’ve never missed a concert I wanted to attend because of money. In fact, once we were debt free, I attended MORE concerts and had MORE opportunity to get one step closer to achieving my dream. Opportunities like this one –
Sitting at Elton John’s piano! (New Years Eve and The Barclay Center, 2014)
It’s easy to forget how far we’ve come in the last ten years. It’s good to have the time to reflect and write out the accomplishments especially when our Emergency Fund takes a hit (hello, new washing machine!) or the mortgage will just never be paid off sooner than later. Ten years ago, we had debt but I had no idea how much. We had credit card debt, car loan debt, and my student loans. Now we only have one debt – the mortgage.
My challenge to you this week is this – take the time to reflect on your life the past ten years. What are your accomplishments – how is your life better now than it was then?
The first quarter of the year ends this week, the second quarter starts on April 1st. When you are done with the ten-year retrospective, take a look at the last three months.
What are your accomplishments?
What are some things you still need to work on?
What is your plan and the actionable steps?
Want to share a HUGE accomplishment you’ve had over the past ten years?
Join my facebook group, The Brave Budget Community by clicking HERE
(It’s FREE to join and participate!)
Do you need help with your plan and actionable steps? You can schedule a one-hour coaching session HERE
Registration for the Monthly Coaching Program is April 1-5th. There will be a monthly theme for each of the next four months.
More information is HERE