I was sitting in a gorgeously green & lush garden café in Byron Bay with my beautiful bestie who was happily tucking into her second glass of Prosecco (I was on another kind of fizzy – water- as I had 5 more hours of driving to do that day) when she said something that jolted me like a cattle prod. “It is so good to owe nothing to no one. To be able to do whatever you like and not have to worry about any debts or upcoming bills or anything like that.” She sighed happily and ordered another glass of wine, while I buried my face in my water, hoping to all hell that she hadn’t picked up on the “oof” that came out of my mouth when her words hit me in the solar plexus or seen the flash of envy that turned my eyes bright green for a second.
I can hand on heart say that this was a defining moment for me. This was the moment when I said
enough is enough, this is where it all changes. You see, we’ve made a lot of money in the past 15 years, an awful lot, and probably way more than my bestie has, but she’s the one who is now debt free. She’s the one who can choose what she does and when she does it. She’s the one who is set up for life. I’m not. Because despite having created all of that income, we’ve also spent it all. We’ve never moved beyond the reality of living from paycheque to paycheque; if we were short of money, we just created more. We called it “expansion”. We told ourselves that we weren’t going to do the whole budgeting thing because it was all about restrictions and limitation and we didn’t do those things because we lived in a world of abundance. Instead of restricting ourselves, we’d just create more. And more. And more. Because we always lived to the very edge of our finances, we always spent just a little bit more than our income, we were always struggling for cash, feeling like we were always on the backfoot financially.
That kind of thing is fantastic fun at first; knowing that you have the ability to create at need is an amazing experience. For a while. Then it gets exhausting.
In 2014, a company we owned went into liquidation because a large debtor didn’t pay us. We’d sold everything to try to keep the company afloat on the constant promises that the money would be in our account soon. Then not long after, one of our creditors served a bankruptcy notice on John. Even with all our experience of creating large amounts of money and all the personal development work we’d done, it still wasn’t a very nice experience. At all. And it’s certainly not one I’d care to repeat. Yet each month, we find ourselves with no money to spare. If an unexpected bill comes along, we somehow manage to find the funds to pay for it, though we have no idea how we do it, but we have hardly any savings and retirement age is getting disturbingly close.
Robert Kiyosaki, the author of Rich Dad, Poor Dad, created a game - Cashflow 101 - that emulates the steps you need to take to go from being in debt and living from paycheque to paycheque to being financially free. if you haven’t played the game, I highly recommend you buy it: the things you learn about yourself around money are amazing but if you have played, you’ll know that newbies to the game always love getting the Doctor and the Airline Pilot cards because they have the highest incomes. Experienced players hate them because they’re the ones who take the longest to become financially free. We’re the airline pilots in real life: our income is huge, and our expenses are huge, and if there’s even the slightest glitch in our anticipated income, we’re screwed. Which is exactly what happened a few weeks later: a large deal didn’t come through and we found ourselves in a very precarious situation. Again.
That was the bottom of the slippery slope of debt for us; it’s time to sort ourselves out and finally get to be debt free. We have to change everything: the way we spend, the way we look after (or don’t, as the case may be) our finances, the way we think about money, the way we think. Because while the actions are very important of course, the most important thing is our thoughts, our beliefs about money, the things we say about money, the things we make it mean, the reasons we come up with for spending (I deserve this, I work hard; I want to cheer myself up; it’s only $xxx, it won’t make any difference/it’s a bargain). We have to change all those things. Permanently.
We decided to document this journey of ours along the path to becoming debt free. Partly because our lives are never boring and Murphy and his law run rampant when we’re around (in other words, things never go to plan), and partly because we hope that we can inspire someone else to do the same thing. Trust me, if we can get out of this hole that we’re in, anyone else can do the same thing for themselves.
So, me, my husband ,John, and my brother, Alan, got together to form Stop Being So Poor. We’ll share our discoveries, our highs and lows, what works, things that turn out to be absolute doozies, plus we’ll interview other wealthy people to find out how they got rich and what their best tips are.
We’d love for you to join us on this journey.
We’ve operated on debt our whole lives so far and now it’s time to try something different. It’s going to be…
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Hi! I’m Karen O’Connor, hormonally-challenged, menopausal writer, blogger, self-confessed sarcasm enthusiast, mother of 4, wife of 30 years, destroyer of souls... no, wait, that's just in the mornings...