The following blog post is part of The Road to Financial Wellness blog tour. The Road to Financial Wellness is a three-month, grassroots campaign promoting financial empowerment on a national level and encourages people to pursue their dream lifestyle. Find out more about local events near you.
When the folks at the Road to Financial Wellness tour approached me with the idea of writing a blog post about financial empowerment, I have to admit I was a bit stumped. Let me explain:
I’ve only really started learning about personal finance within the past year. In that amount of time, I haven’t really made any huge strides in my savings. I haven’t sent in any extra money towards debt payments. I’ve only marginally increased my income, and I’ve seen it all wiped away again by expenses that were out of my control.
I’m still living in the same run-down apartment. I’m typing these words right now from a ledge between my kitchen and “living room” next to a fridge that occasionally makes flatulent noises. I still don’t have a vehicle to escape the city with. I’m unable to pay for my husband’s tuition like he did for me when I was in school.
By all accounts and measures, I am a failure as a personal finance blogger.
In fact, most days, I don’t even really feel that empowered at all.
Related post: What To Do When You Lose Motivation To Pay Off Debt
I don’t think I’m that different from many people, especially recent college graduates like myself.
Money is holding me back from reaching my goals
But, I haven’t given up just yet. I’ve got plans—big plans. I want to take my husband on a honeymoon someday, because after being married for nearly nine years, I think it’s about time.
I want to perfect my French, and learn German and Norwegian as well, because why the hell not? I want to travel around the world and see its current state, learn more about its past, and try and shape its future for the better. I want a house on a big chunk of forested property. I want to learn how to play guitar so I can play in a folk metal band with dudes in Finland (one can dream, right?).
Right now, money is standing in the way of all that. Before I learned about personal finance, I just viewed these things as pipe dreams. They were fun to think about, but I couldn’t ever see a way that I could get these things.
Here’s the cold, ugly truth: I’m buried in almost $105,000 worth of debt. I thought that I’d just spend the rest of my life digging myself out. What was the point in even trying to hope for something more?
Financial Empowerment: The Road Forward
Once I found the world of personal finance, though, I realized that maybe I could have these things. I’d have to take stock of my current situation. Then, I’d have to develop a concrete plan so that I could reorganize my spending and save money while paying off debt. It won’t be easy, but it’s my best shot at living the life I want to live.
This is what financial empowerment means to me. It means not giving up and resigning myself to a life of crappy apartments, TV, and Cheetos. It means taking an active role in how I spend money. I won’t be a passive spender anymore, subject to whatever whims my brain has when I wake up that day.
It’s a way that makes it possible for me to afford the things I really want.
Even though I don’t feel empowered most days, I know that as long as I stay on the current course, I’ll be able to afford to make the choices I want in the future. And that, to me, is true financial empowerment.
Related: You Only Live Once: The Roadmap To Financial Wellness And A Purposeful Life by Jason Vitug (affiliate link)
Do you feel financially empowered? Why or why not? Leave a comment below!