It has been a while since I've been active here. Life gets complicated and seems to move much faster as you get older. I am 36 years old, to some of you that is young and to others it is ancient. I am also a US citizen, which is a familiar concept to a majority of you. Being from the US means that I've lived in a culture which is primarily wasteful, short sighted, and has an entitlement mentality.
Through painful experience I learned that some things are not guaranteed. I lost a job a few years back and with it lost my income. This was a shock to me as I had worked steadily since I was thirteen years old. With that I lost the ability to pay for basic necessities like shelter and food. Now this was not a crisis for me concerning myself, but looking into the face of my young son and wondering how I was going to feed him terrified me.
I did find another job, but it was months later and not before I had to depend on others for basic needs. I've never felt so helpless or as much like a failure in my life. Couple this with the harsh reality that I was barely making enough money for shelter and food. I had debt collectors harassing me at every waking moment and no way to pay them.
At present I am gainfully employed and volunteering to work as much overtime as possible to the tune of having fifteen hours a day, five to six days a week tied up in work. Even working like this it may take me three years to become debt free and develop a healthy savings account, but that is my goal.
This is a heartfelt plea to those of you in your teens to your golden years to evaluate the risk of debt and the benefit of savings. I thought I would always have a paycheck and I was wrong. I thought debt was OK as long as it was manageable, until I found that that I didn't get to decide what manageable was the next week or month.
I went through an event that scared me, shook the ground on which I stood and while not a natural disaster like many have braved it was no less a personal tragedy.
Are there any other people here who have made similar commitments, with or without crisis, and if so what advise or encouragement would you share with someone making risky fiscal choices?