My Money Story – Post #3
My FIRST money story was so embarrassing that I isolated myself from family and friends for nearly a year after it happened. I was the poster child for nearly everything a young woman could do to fail at financial security.
How could an ambitious, young woman with a college degree from a respected university, zero debt, a good job and overseas work experience go so wrong, financially?
I was in my mid 20’s and had just married my best friend – a young man with whom I had grown up. Our families had known each other for years. My brother and my new husband were on track to be buddies for life. What could possibly go wrong?
How to Become Financially Unstable
This is the really embarrassing part of my money story. (See if you can spot WHY.)
It was 1.5 years into the marriage. By this point, we were living in a smaller mountain town where my new husband could pursue his dreams and complete his doctorate program. (Side note: My mother tells me that as a young girl I would often say I’d grow up and marry a doctor.)
We were privileged homeowners as the house we occupied was purchased and financed by his father with a 7% interest rate loan to us – payable upon the sale of the home. To cover our mortgage costs, we rented out the two extra bedrooms to two students. Our monthly expenses were very low and I “thought” of us as having financial security.
I’d quit my corporate job in a neighboring state just after the marriage so that I could join him in the adorable, small town. (I wanted to support him with his dreams.) I worked part-time as a bookkeeper at a natural foods grocery store making $9.35/hour. White collar jobs were scarce in the town and it was the best I could do. A small career sacrifice to make, I thought, so we could stay together.
We’d just adopted a ‘retired racer’ greyhound. We explored the idea of having kids together. I had time for my own studies, fresh air, and exercise while he pursued his doctoral studies. By most accounts, life was pretty good.
UNTIL…Where My Money Story Reveals the Fault Lines
….until one sunny afternoon when I walked in the front door and found ‘the envelope’ on the kitchen table. My name was written on the front in his handwriting.
The envelope had the kind of thickness to it that instantly triggered an adrenaline-infused knot in my stomach.
It was ‘another woman’. And, deep in my heart, I instinctively knew the end of our marriage was near.
Over the next four weeks, my whole world and my financial house of cards came crashing down. I lost my home, my dog, my marriage, my vision for my future, my career path, my life compass, my dignity, and my inner sense of (financial) security.
If the neighbor across the street hadn’t taken me in while I got back on my emotional and financial feet, I don’t know where I’d be today.
Not only was I stunned by his admission (and the emotional wounds that followed), but also by how quickly I lost all of my life and financial stability. How had I missed the multiple financial red flags in the relationship and the flawed way I had structured my life?
Financial insecurity and money anxiety soon raged like a river through my veins and made the emotional pain more acute. I wanted to crawl into a hole and never come out.
The Moment That Changed Everything
There was a moment in time I distinctly recall that fuels my money coaching work to this day:
In one of our last conversations, he looked at me and said, “My friends and I feel so sorry for you because you have NOTHING going for you.” His words were a devastating punch to the gut.
(I never want another woman to hear such words from someone she trusts.)
It was a 90% ignorant statement on his part and I hated him for it for years.
But, 10% of it was true…and in that truth lay my personal responsibility. I just didn’t know it yet.
I also didn’t know that his comment would ultimately become the seed for my turnaround.
Stay Tuned for More on the Money Story
In the next week or two, I will peel back a few layers on my Money Story to illustrate some of the concepts in this book. But, before I do so, I need to talk with you about “wealth” and “TREES”. Yes, Trees!
So, JOIN ME TOMORROW for a brief journey into the meaning of wealth and how the meaning it holds for you likely has an impact on your financial well-being.
- Next See: The Meaning of Wealth – Why It Doesn’t Work For Women
- Previous: Money Book For Women To Build Wealth
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