04. Broke

Hannah and I are sitting here looking at almost decade-old photos on her Facebook and the main theme we notice, not so much in the pictures (if you don’t count bad fashion sense and poor judgement in hairstyles), but about the pictures. When we began to reflect on the circumstances of our lives during the times those pictures were taken, we recall some of the most unwise and downright silly decisions a person could ever make.

When we met in 2008, we were both twenty-two and we had both already made varying degrees of bad decisions up to that point. Clearly, I had made an exponentially greater number of mistakes and unwise choices than she had, but we had both developed thick skin, nonetheless. In addition to the poor life decisions, I really feel that there are disciplines we could have implemented in our lives back then that would have dramatically changed the course of our story. We’ve been hearing lately from our pastor about how, when you think about a cruise ship, in order for a craft of that size to get where it wants to go, it can’t simply turn the wheel and make large changes in direction.

I can’t remember specifically what his numbers were, but he switched to an airplane for this example: if a takes off from Atlanta going towards Los Angeles, and changes its direction by 1º, it will end up around forty miles away from LA. If it changes course by 10º, I believe he said it would end up two-hundred miles further than that. You get the idea. But going back to the cruise ship, you can apply that same concept, but as it relates to our life and habits, the change is a lot subtler for the amount of work you put in. If you take my FitTechQuest as an example from my other site, TechQuest, or if you’ve ever tried to lose weight and get in shape, you’ll know that you can work your tail off for weeks or months before you see noticeable change.

Wild and crazy, without a care in the world about money or responsibility. @_entrejourney
Oh, the pre-iPhone cameras. How did we survive?

I say all of that to say that, in 2008, I was still very much a childish guy at twenty-two (who wasn’t?). I had only met, then quickly started a relationship with Hannah and been dating for a few months but was already learning from and with her. Before Spring 2008, I had never heard of Dave Ramsey, host of the #3 talk radio show in America, and financial expert. This was the most memorable and impactful introduction I was given and it changed the trajectory of my financial education. Before I was introduced to the concept of “being intentional with my money,” I was not very informed of how to deal with finances. I worked full-time for about fourteen months with the local Anheuser-Busch distributor, making about $9 or $9.50 per hour, if I remember correctly.

At that rate, I was probably between $20,000-$25,000 per year with the extremely long hours I put in. The devastating part was that during my time at that company, I only had a cell phone payment (mind you, this was 2006, pre-iPhone days) which was about $70 per month with Verizon and a payment on a 2001 Ford Ranger that was about $250 per month. I was making about $1,500 per month after those two expenses, so you can calculate that my discretionary spending for the year was about $18,000. To put it bluntly, I didn’t have a savings account until a year before I got married in 2012. After leaving that job with Budweiser in 2007, I really didn’t have more than a part-time job working more than 25 hours at close to minimum-wage until late Summer 2011. I will talk more about the money piece in a few weeks.

I will dive much deeper into the gory details of these stories as we get further acquainted down the road. The point I’m trying to drive home with this post is that finances are simple for the most part, but difficult to manage if you’re not being intentional 100% of the time. In the years leading up to my EntreJourney, I could’ve saved A LOT of money and made starting a business so much easier when that time came. I realize that I can’t go back in time, so I have to take those mistakes and really work as hard as I possibly can to not repeat history and end up in the same spot five years from now.

What part of your story was a really low point that you thought you’d never survive?

I’m looking forward to continuing this conversation soon!

“Those who never make mistakes work for those of us who do.” ~Henry Ford

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