Donell Edwards, Blogger
About Donell Edwards: Donell Edwards is President of CWR Media and is also founder and publisher of The College World Reporter (CWR) magazine and CWR World News & Information Service. He is also a professional speaker, freelance writer, and entrepreneur.
Know Your Money
Monday – May 5, 2014
Knowing Your Personal Finances
My Story of Accountability
By Donell Edwards
Today, I share with you my story of accountability because I want you to understand why I write this blog. I have previously shared with you in our special feature, Confessions Of A Spendaholic, my own confessions during a period in my life when I was a spendaholic. But that is only part of my story. I share my story of accountability with you today because I hope that my experience will be a wake up call for some, and that it will inspire and encourage many who read this to see themselves in some of what I experienced, and learn from my mistakes, and know that they are not alone, that it is OK wherever you may be financially at this time, and that you can recover and become financially stable if you are willing to make the necessary changes.
Accountability is defined as an obligation or willingness to accept responsibility or to account for one’s actions. (Merriam Webster Dictionary) As I went through various stages of life I did not hold myself accountable for how I mismanaged money. There was always a reason or an excuse. I did not earn enough because of an oppressive system. I refused to accept my financial limitations. I abused what credit I did have. I made bad choices. I would not accept advice from those wiser and more experienced than me about money management. I blamed everyone and everything instead of accepting responsibility myself.
Although my opportunities were limited because I lived at a time in this country when job discrimination was the norm, still I was the one accountable for the choices I made.
As I grew older and considered some of my contemporaries who came from the same background and lived under the same conditions with the same limitations, and how well they had done, I realized the problem was me and the choices I had made. No one told me to get married at 19 years of age and start a family. I did not try hard enough to stay in college and complete my education after I finished high school. Instead of working with a realistic budget, I tried to find a way to live the life I wanted and to extend my finances to the maximum limits possible, resulting in spending all of the money that I earned and maxing out all of the credit cards that I had, and getting into a position where I could not pay my bills. For those of you now in that situation, I know the feeling. I was lost and needed a financial road map to find my way.
When I was 30 years old I got my first real career opportunity that allowed me to earn what I always thought I was worth. That door opened because a very open-minded man gave me an entry level position with a Fortune 100 company. I quickly worked my way into management and was earning more than I ever imagined I could earn.
I got married again shortly after starting to work for this company. In a few years we were able to purchase a home. I was able to take care of my wife and our three children, and everything was wonderful. Until the company began a massive downsizing process. I was determined that I would survive, but it became obvious that I was going to lose my job. So, rather than be terminated I accepted the severance package the company offered.
I was unable to find equal employment in the coming months and the severance pay was exhausted quickly. I was still determined to recover my salary, but the problem I encountered was that at the time I still did not have a college degree. Although I thought I had prepared myself because I had worked for a Fortune 100 corporation for over 11 years and had won all kinds of awards for my work, and had worked a number of years in management, the lack of a college degree prevented me from getting hired.
So for the next 20 years my family and I struggled trying to maintain our modest lifestyle. I was so far in debt when I lost my job that I was not able to pay my bills, my mortgage got behind, I was not able to pay my taxes, and everything was falling apart. I am not sharing this with you because I want your sympathy, but because for many Americans this is a scenario that they are very familiar with because they have experienced this themselves. However, I hope they were more accountable financially and better prepared than I was.
This experience was probably the best thing that could have happened to me, because it forced me to learn some very important lessons, and the most important one was to be accountable for how I managed money. I came to realize that whatever my circumstances were, it was my responsibility to manage what money I did have based on a realistic budget, and to live rigidly within that budget.
I also learned financial discipline, how to sacrifice, to plan for emergencies, to overcome my independence and to accept help and advice from those with more knowledge and experience, I learned to overcome my addiction to credit cards, I had to get over my obsession with chasing the lifestyle that I wanted, and I learned not to live my life based on false hope and dreams, but instead on the reality of my situation. I learned how to be accountable for my personal finances and for my life.
That is why I write this Know Your Money blog. It is because I want to share with readers what I have learned as an individual who formerly was not accountable financially, and the lessons that life has taught me and how you can use those lessons to improve your personal money management. I also seek out experienced professionals in the finance industry to share with readers their knowledge in areas where the knowledge of a financial planner or other financial expert is required.
My mission is to help everyone I can avoid making the same mistakes that I made, and to help anyone interested learn how to manage their money in such a way that they can totally eliminate their debt, learn to increase their cash flow, learn to save, and with the aid of financial professionals help them to learn how to invest to build wealth.
I hope that you will also read our Must Reads for today listed below, which are a contrast of two very different situations. The first article will help you examine whether you are in financial trouble and is entitled, 4 Signs You’re In Real Financial Trouble. The contrasting article lists the habits of financially people and is entitled, 20 Habits of Financially Successful People. We strongly suggest that you read both articles.
Have an awesome Monday.
4 Signs You’re in Real Financial Trouble
20 Habits of Financially Successful People
If you have questions or need help we are just an email away. Send your questions to Info@KnowYourMoneyGlobal.com
We Would Like To Hear From You. Are There Any Brave Souls Out There Willing To Share?
If you would like to share with our readers how “bad” spending habits have affected you, anonymously or otherwise, for our upcoming special, “Confessions Of Spendaholics,” please send your experience to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Disclaimer: I have a Bachelor of Business Administration degree but I am not a financial adviser. However, I have acquired years of knowledge about personal money management through my life experience working through my own personal finances that allows me to share that knowledge with readers of Know Your Money. The Know Your Money Blog posts written by me are my own common sense observations and opinions and are for informational use only. Although my blog includes contributions from experienced financial professionals, please make your own financial decisions based on personal research or contact a financial adviser.
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