You’re cruisin’ down the highway at 70 mph. The sun is shining. The birds are chirping. OK…to be fair, at 70 mph you probably can’t hear the birds chirping.
But, the sun IS shining.
Everything is right with the world.
Then, it happens.
You kinda-sorta suspected something was wrong with your car but you never got it checked out because…
…you just don’t have the money for it right now.
You tap the brake and signal to exit the highway.
Off-ramp is clear.
Car is slowing down.
You press the brake pedal a little harder.
It sinks all the way to the floor.
You’re not slowing down.
Your life flashes before your eyes.
You start panicing, then realize you can’t to anything about it.
You pull up.
Thank god it’s still working.
Your car slowly comes to a stop, but it takes the entire length of the off-ramp.
Fortunately, it was a 1/4 mile long straightaway.
After you stop having a heart attack, you shuffle the car over to the side of the road and call your insurance company for a tow.
Glad it’s over, but that was probably the scariest thing that ever happened to you.
You’re glad to be alive, but you still don’t have any money to fix your stupid car. And, now…you don’t have a stupid car to drive.
So…you do what you have to.
You borrow money to get your car fixed. Now you’re in the hole.
Car is fixed though, so things are looking better…
…then your boss decides to throw a temper tantrum and your job is on the line…
…you’re facing unemployment and you have no job prospects because the economy isn’t what it used to be 5 years ago.
You try anyway. You walk into every staffing agency and ask about jobs. The ladies behind the desk just chuckle and tell you to come back in a few months. Maybe there will be a part-time position somwhere.
A FEW MONTHS?!?!
Bills are coming due. You have 3 late notices already.
And then there’s the family stuff…
Birthdays are coming up.
Before you know it…Christmas.
Why did your stupid car have to break down?
Oh crap. You just got a notice from your bank. Bounced check.
At least you have unemployment checks…but they ain’t much.
You go to put more money in but…
…of course they debit a bunch of stuff before crediting your account with your last paycheck. Now your bank wants more money in NSF fees or they’ll shut down your account.
How will you pay your utilities?
Somehow you make due but…
At the end of the year you learn you were supposed to pay taxes on all that unemployment money.
What in the %$^?!?!
Now the IRS wants its cut…
But you have nothing…
But you can’t exactly tell the government to go stuff it…
It just keeps piling up…
…there’s no way out.
Thing is…it was never just one thing. It was a bunch of little things.
If you’re not careful, you’ll start digging deep into your soul…
you start thinking thereis a way out…but you have to go to a dark, dark place that you’ll never return from.
It really does feel like the world is out to get you.
Death by 1,000 cuts.
Anything like that ever happen to you before?
Well…all those things happened to me shortly after leaving the nest and moving into my first apartment. I was obviously very young, very ignorant, but also… very ambitious. No one ever taught me about money. I felt pretty dumb whenever someone would ask me about how much I’d saved and where…
Savings? What’s that?
Future? What future? I mean, at the time, I was living on peanut butter and canned tuna fish.
That’s not a future.
It took me a long time to figure out how to get out of that mess, and a big part of that was just the act of setting aside money for my future.