Household debt in 2017 showed a spike of almost 8% over 2016, which may not sound like much until you look at the hard numbers. An 8% increase in dollars translates to about $905 billion.
Ironically, during this past year, my debt dropped like a rock because I discovered a more efficient way to pay it down rather than simply trying to pay off each invoice as it showed up in the mail.
Here is how I went from financially inept to a rock star.
My First Job
I didn’t realize how deeply I was in credit card debt in the early part of the year because most of my attention went into not getting fired at work. Preoccupied with survival, I did not pay that much attention to the credit card bills showing up throughout the month.
I had just started my first job as a newly minted accountant after barely passing my Certified Public Accountant exam, pulling off the miracle by relying on all-nighters, energy drinks, and cramming.
Out of desperation, since their head accountant had embezzled the previous quarter’s profits, eloped with the CEO’s daughter, and escaped to Thailand, a mid-sized Midwest firm took a chance on me by offering me a senior position way above my head.
A junior post would have eased the pressure because I could simply have followed the lead of a wiser, more experienced accountant. After hoodwinking the HR boss during the job interview by pretending I knew what I was doing, I spent a great deal of time rereading my class notes on the job to try to catch up on all the things I was supposed to know.
Because of my fixation with staying relevant by sounding smart during casual conversations with upper management on how I was preparing and analyzing records, creating statements, and complying with regulatory practices, I did not notice how much I was spending on my credit cards. Then, realizing that I was also losing my personal battle to stay solvent, I started reading personal finance blogs. One day, I read an article about how Brice Capital helped people with high credit card debt. After filling out a simple online form, I got approved for a consolidated loan.
Consolidating your credit card debts, I discovered, offers some unique advantages over just paying all your credit card invoices every month:
It can lower your interest rates because you switch from paying a variable interest rate on your credit cards to a fixed interest rate on your consolidated loan.
It simplifies your bookkeeping as you only make one payment a month instead of several.
Confessing My Financial Illiteracy
Realizing that I knew even less about managing my money than I did about taking care of the company’s finances, I made an appointment with a financial advisor working for the government’s Financial Literacy and Education Commission classes in my city.
She was able to educate me in the mysteries of money management. “You’ll be fine,” she assured me with a chuckle after my outburst of penance over my precarious position at work and my bumbling attempts at personal finance.
A Happy Ending
Despite my rough start to adulting, my second cousin, Jasmine, a chartered accountant with her own practice, volunteered to coach me via Skype on general journals and ledgers, cash receipts and disbursements, and sales and purchase journals; Brice Capital streamlined my debt repayment process with their just-in-time consolidated loan; and, my personal financial advisor got me up to speed on budgeting, savings, spending, and investing.