Mar 222006

It’s been a long, hard struggle to get where I am now, and I’m not sure that’s a location to which many would aspire. Ya see, I’m still broke. The difference is that now the path I’ve been struggling along has a little more light shed upon it. This blog is an attempt to examine both the light and the path, primarily to ease my own journey; secondly, to help my daughter, Z, avoid falling as far as I have in my life; and, finally, in hopes that others will gain some benefit from my experiences.

By way of introduction, here’s a brief timeline of my financial life thus far-

1987 – Graduated high school

Top 10% of my class, excellent SAT scores, admitted to all three of my top college choices (USC, Northwestern, Notre Dame). But I chose to postpone college for a year and travel. I never went back…

Credit: $0.00 / Debt: Small personal loans only

1987-1994 – Vagabonding

Wandered through life both figuratively and literally. Worked dozens of crummy jobs, wandered the country, spent months to years at a time homeless.

Credit: $0.00 / Debt: Small personal loans only

1995 – Married

Met a girl, got her pregnant, married her. Settled down, got two “real” jobs, and worked 80+ hours per week in order to support my fledgling family so that my wife, P, could stay home and care for our daughter, Z. The largest (and most frequent) fights that we had centered around money: she wanted to go on welfare and I wanted to work for what little we had.

Credit: $0.00 / Debt: Small personal loans only

1996 – Daughter born / Wife left

My daughter was born in February, my wife left me (taking my daughter) in November. I spiraled downward financially and emotionally until I was again unemployed and homeless.

Credit: $0.00 / Debt: ~$10,000 car loan from family member

1999 – Reunion Attempt

In a well meant, but ill advised attempt to make my daughter’s life better I (legally) kidnapped her from her mother, moved back in with my family, and made a brief attempt at being a father. Started trade school in an attempt to improve my career prospects. Ended up returning my daughter to her mother, quitting trade school, and moving out of my family’s home to return to the streets, unemployed and homeless.

Credit: $0.00 / Debt: ~$12,000 student loans

2001 – The Beginning

After living in cars for several years I had been steadily employed for more than a year and managed to move into the house I now occupy.

Credit: $0.00 / Debt: ~$12,000 student loans

2002 – Backslide

Unable to cope with the retail wage slave that I had become, I quit my job with no prospect of another one.

Credit: $0.00 / Debt: ~$12,000 student loans

2003 – On The Edge

Still unemployed, I started having problems finding roommates to split the rent. Rent debt began increasing exponentially. Child support order kicked in, but I was broke and unemployed, so that just got added to the debt pile.

Credit: $0.00 / Debt: ~$12,000 student loans, $3,000 back rent, $3,000 back child support

2004 – Starting Back Up

In October I managed to get two new jobs (Kelly’s Liquors and Waldenbooks seasonal help). Both child support and student loans started attaching my wages at the temp job but I wasn’t even covering the new interest on the loans.

Credit: $0.00 / Debt: ~$12,000 student loans, $10,000 back rent, $15,000 back child support

2005 – Working Steadily, Life Changing Moment

Still working at Kelly’s, still living in the same place, surviving paycheck-to-paycheck and ignoring my debts. In June, while waiting for a bus, my ex-wife pulls over and I “meet” my 9 year old daughter, Z, with whom I’ve had zero contact since she was three. Right there, on the side of the road, everything changed for me. By the end of the year I was paying both current and back child support, had generated several other revenue streams, to help manage debt, and even got my first ever credit card.

Credit: $200.00 / Debt: ~$12,000 student loans, $10,000 back rent, $21,000 back child support

So, that’s how I got where I am today. Where, exactly, is that? Well, I’ll be posting my first net worth statement to this very blog in the next day or so – then we’ll both know :mrgreen:

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