My name is Chris, I am your average Syracuse fan from upstate New York. I went to college and graduated with a degree in business. Like many my age, I graduated in debt. However, I did not let that debt hold me back from doing the things I wanted to do — like starting a family.
The thought of graduating from college, getting into the workforce and making money was incredibly alluring to me. I could not wait to get out of college, but then just like that I was in the “real world” — and unprepared. I had no experience other than book education, which doesn’t provide skills that are relevant to real-world living. I did not learn in school how to save for retirement, save for a house or budget; so I was essentially tossed into the financial waters to sink or swim.
Good thing I learned how to swim quickly. I got my first job, started saving for retirement and bought my first car. My girlfriend and I were getting serious, and life together seemed inevitable. The topic of money would make its way into our relationship just like so many others. We talked a little bit about it but nothing too in depth. We knew we wanted kids, and then in a whirlwind we were married and having our first child. We welcomed our first daughter in 2009, and our lives were forever changed.
My wife was fortunate enough to be able to stay home until a little while after our second daughter was born. During this period when she was home, we accumulated debt to sustain a modest lifestyle so that she did not have to work and could take care of our children.
We took on what we like to call as "planned debt." This is debt we knew we were going to take on to act as a second income that we would pay down once she got a job. I know many advisers and experts recommend against this, but I wouldn’t trade our decision for anything in the world.
Major life changes and having two more little mouths to feed caused some stress with money at home. Nonetheless my wife and I made it. Today, I feel like I truly have it all, and the reason I keep pushing ahead is the two little girls that depend on me.
I didn’t put my life on hold to pay down my debt, and I didn’t come out of school with a six-figure salary; I got married and had kids. The American dream isn’t it? To me it is.
Today I work as an reimbursement accountant. Basically I am a number cruncher for Medicaid and Medicare. In addition to my regular full-time employment, exploring active and passive income streams online has become an interest of mine.
I hope you’ll join me on my journey and manage your money before it manages you.