Trudging out of credit card debt

I really don’t like that word: Trudge. But there is no better way to describe the slow, tedious, painful climb out of credit card debt that I am accomplishing. It is happening. Thank, God.

Here’s the deal: I have never been good with money. I am undisciplined, lazy and selfish. I am the perfect example of a person who thinks “easy come, easy go.” That may work when you live alone but I have others in my life that I am forever responsible. I love them more than my lazy-ass self.

If I don’t take care of business, business will ruin me and by extension, mine. No question about that. I know I may sound a bit negative, but it’s a simple fact. As Bob Dylan once wrote, “money doesn’t talk, it swears.” If I don’t get my financial act together, it will cuss me right out of this world.

There was a time, in fact, that I was drowning in credit card debt; up to $40,000 worth. All my doing. Nobody else to blame. That was a long time ago. Well, not that long ago. It was 1998; what is that, 13-years ago. Whew! Time does fly by, doesn’t it?

Another fact: If it hadn’t been for my dad, I probably would’ve been forced to declare bankruptcy. I had been married for 11-years at the time. I had two small boys. I did have a good job; a great job, actually. I was making the most money ever, and I loved the job.

You just can’t beat that; making money at something you love doing. I was the editor and publisher of a newspaper. I had recently returned from Kansas where I had served as the associate publisher/managing editor of a newspaper there.  Also, a good job. I have been lucky with jobs.

I remember my visit with dad about that $40,000 credit card debt as if it was yesterday. I was sitting on my couch in my nice, rented townhouse. He was in a rocking chair. We were talking about family, kids, jobs and finances. I share with him about the debt – probably whine is more likely – and as he always did, he offered to help. My dad always pulled me back from the brink of financial ruin. Always.

He did that day. He did earlier days as well. He was to do it up until the day he passed. He’s been gone for two years now.

I am 60-years-old. I have been married to that same woman for 24 years this August. My sons are grown, working and going to college, both at the same time. I am getting better with my finances. My credit card debt is under $7,000. Still, way too high, but better.

My dad confided in my younger brother just before he died that he didn’t need to worry about him or the older one. He knew those two would be fine. And they are. They have been good making money and taking care of their money. He did worry, though, about me.

I’m sure his personal experience fueled that worry. If you’re able to hear me, pop, don’t worry. I am getting better. I am getting me and mine out of debt; slowly, painfully, but also with joy. Joy to be debt-free. I am not there yet. Really, still far away, but I can sense it. I can almost taste it. It’s possible. Even for me, financial freedom is possible. Absolutely.





About stevewhitmore

Former award-winning newspaperman and broadcast journalist, both radio and TV, spanning three decades. Army-trained paralegal, court bailiff and prosecutor's lead investigator for the 8th Infantry Division's Judge Advocate General's Corp., Mainz, Germany. 1973-1975.
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