In January 2009 at the height of the financial crisis, I was a math and music teacher that suddenly lost his job. I had $4,000 in the bank and $42,000 in debt, including school, vehicle, credit card, and medical debt. Creditors would call daily, and angry letters threatening collections began to appear. I was worried and sleepless.
I struggled for months working as a substitute teacher by day, tutoring students at night, and working retail on the weekends just to keep up with the bills. When I finally got a full-time job again, I decided that I could not ignore my bad financial decisions any more, that I had to live better and get rid of this debt because I never wanted another creditor to call me again.
I worked nearly every single day, weekdays and weekends, and adopted a lifestyle that was truly based on needs, not wants, because I knew I needed to get rid of the debts. Over the next two and a half years, all $42,000 of debt owed was paid back. I was finally debt-free!
But then I realized something. In spite of being debt-free, I had no wealth to speak of. If there was a big emergency, I was still in real trouble. I also wanted to build a family and to travel, and I knew these things would require more resources. So I kept working hard, saving what I earned, and began to invest in my future self.
I decided to start my own financial firm because there are so many people that need prudent financial planning and investment advice, not from a big bank or an insurance company with corporate profit motives, but by someone who has truly had their back to the wall and done the hard work of building themself up after being knocked down hard.