I grew up in a large Catholic family in New Jersey. My father always had his own business and my mom was a stay at home mom for most of my childhood. Money was always tight and I was usually helping my dad in his business. I never learned how to properly handle money.
After I graduated high school, I got my first paid job. I was so excited. I spent every paycheck every week. Went I started college, I was renting a house with several other friends, and about two months in, I didn’t have enough money to pay my $200 rent. One of my friends in the house told me I had to work more to have more money. Sound advice.
I graduated from Rutgers College with a degree in Philosophy. I got married to my college sweetheart and took a job doing sales for a manufacturing company. I let my wife handle the finances because I wasn’t very good at managing money. I would overdraw my account and never paid my credit card on time. I did pay lots of fees.
After three years, we had our first child. My wife wanted to stay at home with the baby, so I had to find a job with more pay and better benefits. I got a job as a branch manager for a large bank. I was learning everything that they had to teach me about money. I started getting critical of how my wife was handling our finances. One day, after probably a tense interaction, she handed over the checkbook and told me to just handle it all then. I enthusiastically took the reigns and slowly over the next six years dug us a nice hole.
I started buying into some of the phrases the bank had. Good debt verse bad debt. If you can afford the payment, you can afford the item. I started trying to borrow my way out of trouble and was attempting to out-earn my stupidity.
When I finally looked up, we had four children, no savings, no retirement, a mountain of debt, and fear towards our finances. We weren’t budgeting. We weren’t communicating about money. We didn’t have a plan. We needed to change. Why?
I was scared. I couldn’t make more money at work fast enough. I didn’t know what I was going to do. I didn’t want to keep having money arguments with my wife that was caused by our fear. I knew I had to do something. But what?
I started reading a lot about budgeting, cash flow, and personal finances. I was watching videos, listening to podcasts. I was making pretty good money, but I had nothing to show for it. My wife and I spoke about our situation and we both agreed we had to make a change.
Together, we learned how to budget. We learned how to prioritize our needs verse our wants. We learned to set goals and create a plan to achieve them.
I was able to start working with several of my bank clients to help them move towards a more solid financial path. I was implementing what I was learning at home and at work.
Being in control of our finances has helped us to have greater peace when we talk about our financial future. Living on a budget made us feel like we got a raise.
As income has increased we have been able to accelerate our paths towards our goals. We’ve been budgeting regularly for over six years now and have been so excited to see the progress we have made. We have been able to increase our generosity while also saving for long term needs. We have six children now. We talk to them regularly about money and finances to help them start to create these money habits that we didn’t develop until later in life.
I am so excited to be able to devote my time to help others develop good money habits. I want to help you and your family get on a path to a solid financial future.