When I first opened up my bank account the teller told me I needed $50 in my account in order to keep it open. Luckily it was ONLY $50 because that's all we had. Growing up I had always been good with money management. I was never sure if my parents would be able to provide for my gas, food on the road, or other random things kids buy so I took it upon myself to figure out ways to make and save money. My most successful endeavor was always teaching tennis. I had a certain knack for seeing the sport in a different light than most people and people wanted in on my secrets. That's not why we are here though. This is about the lack of income in my pocket. Although I knew how to make money life knows how to make you spend money way better. My junior year in college I choose to take on the challenge of getting married to my amazing wife. The challenge wasn't that I had school and was a collegiate athlete, the challenge wasn't having to adapt with a whole new life with a woman, and the challenge wasn't whether the toilet paper goes over or under. The biggest struggle was that after fully self funding ourselves for schooling, living, the wedding, and the honey moon, we only had $50 in the account. Yes as you can imagine it was rough. Even worse neither of us had a check coming in for about a month because we both started new jobs. I already had the skill of making money but now with someone else in the picture needing to eat and use money for whatever random things, I had to learn the skill of budgeting. I knew I couldn't be the Czar in the relationship and just tell her she couldn't spend any money. What kind of life would that be anyway. (Much later on in the story this did need to happen, but it was because we had money...odd) So what I did was I learned how to master finances. I learned how a group of people could live on essentially nothing and properly budget so that you could even feel comfortable. I began making spreadsheets that she could even look at to see where the money was going and how much we could end up with if we stayed discipline. This was the start of my financial mastery interest and credit builder school. We had gone into overdraft a couple times over the next few months, had a few emergencies that we couldn't necessarily afford, and many fun nights that we had to forfeit. I remember when one of our cars got totaled I was almost elated because although we lost the car we worked so hard to pay for, we were going to receive a check back from the insurance because it wasn't our fault. This was another fork in the road that lead to more loans, accounts being over drafted, and days where I had to say "we literally don't have the money to do this". I've been in this position many times and it has taught me many lessons. Normally the lesson starts out with an introduction something along the lines of "this f+*#&ing sucks" but a lesson non the less. Now that we are in a much better spot (not far removed but much better) I am able to pass on some of those skills and tricks to my friends and clients. Debt is one of the number one killers of happiness among humans and I've witnessed this first hand. Financial freedom after all is an aspect of personal freedom. Don't sell yourself short of the life you can have. I promised myself I wouldn't.
Encouraging word to leave you with: Everyone can't start at the top. All things are relative, when I had $50 my wife was freaking out, but I was ecstatic that I only had to worry about food and rent was already paid off. Sometimes it's about perspective. If I would've never experienced overdraft I wouldn't be able to help as many people with my financial mastery course. Use your set backs to help someone else. Never a wasted moment in life. Perspective.