Okay, so I’m probably not the one who should be giving financial advice. As a late-twenty-something, I am nowhere near where I wish I was, or where I should be if I listened to the great Gail Vaz-Oxlade, my highschool math teacher, or my credit union manager. But despite some really bad financial decisions, I have a really exciting financial milestone to celebrate!
If you’ve been following my antics for some time, you will know that I ran into some major financial hardships in the not-too-distant past. The Cole’s Notes: almost two and a half ago, I was in a mess. I had been unemployed for over six months, and just ended a relationship with someone who used me for every penny I was worth. I had empty bank accounts, a credit card cash advance taken out and handed over to him worth $4300, and my name on the loan documents for his $49,000 Camaro. I could barely see the light at the end of each day, let alone at the end of the tunnel.
I’m here to tell you that if you put your mind to it, you can make it out of any mud puddle you might find yourself in.
A few months after getting away from my ex, and finding support to get my mental health and emotions in check, I was able to start taking steps toward building a new life. I got a part-time job. I was able to start paying rent. I was able to start paying back my credit card. Knowing that I would never see a dollar of the money I was owed, I forfeited buying everything but necessities to put every cent towards that debt. In less than six months, I was back down to carrying a zero-balance. I was on cloud nine.
“Oh, but Marie, what about the car loan?” Yes, right, how could I forget about that? I couldn’t. Of course I knew that there was impending doom for that ridiculously large car loan for that ridiculously stupid car. I had been in constant contact with the bank to monitor payments from Day One, and knew that it was falling behind.
The loan was sent to the Collections Department and they started calling me. All. The. Time. I actually built a pretty good relationship with the first collections clerk that was in charge of our file. The car was finally repossessed and sold. I was scared of what it was going to do to my credit, but knew the damage was already done, and I didn’t have the money to stop it from happening. Then, they started threatening legal action and that’s when I knew I needed to find some help.
The previous year, I had been given a card for Adrian Moore at 4-Pillars Consulting from a financial advisor that I had met with to get advice on my situation. I decided to give Adrian a call and take him up on his free consultation.
At my first appointment, he laid out the only viable options I was looking at: bankruptcy and consumer proposal.
For some people, bankruptcy might be the answer. For me, that was not an option.
I am happy to report that I not only successfully completed my consumer proposal, but just finished paying off the debt I had to take on to get my name off of that god-forsaken car loan. It’s over! And I got off relatively easy, despite it being a very, very expensive lesson. It could always be worse – remember that.
Although I don’t have loads of RRSPs, a huge savings account, a house or a new car, I do finally have freedom from my past. And seriously, not much could feel better than that. (Well, except for my engagement ring – that feels really good!)
If you’re drowning in debt, you have the power to take control of that. It might not happen as fast as it did for me, depending on how deep you’re in and what kind of resources and support you have access to, but there are options. You can get out of the mud and start planning for the sunshine.
If you ever need help creating an budget, need a name for a non-shady financial advisor, want to chat about debt options, or just want to talk dollars and cents, I’m here!
I feel like I should get a gold star.
Now please excuse me, I have a wedding to budget for 🙂