Day 1 | $0 paid | $55239.00 Until No More Debt
I was sitting inside my gym you see above, staring at the excel spreadsheet in front of me.
Date: December 12 2011
Total Debt When I Started Counting: -$55239.00
I saw no way to dig myself out of it and scrambled around like a squirrel looking for a nut for months.
Facing facts I went upstairs to the landlord.
Sitting in front of him I swallowed my pride, “I’m not going to make next months rent. I’ve already used all my line of credit to make last months rent.”
He just stared at me, so I continued. “I wanted to come talk to you and see if there was anything we could do about the 5 year lease agreement I signed.”
His face didn’t change at all but he put down his pen, sat back and looked at me. “The lease is a legally binding document. The fact is that you owe me four more years of rent at $4500 a month,” he paused, “Having said that, I appreciate you not doing a mid night move.”
I felt a sliver of hope as he continued, “I’ll let you out of your lease if you move out and lock the doors immediately… and agree to pay $1500 a month, for the next ten months to buy out of your agreement.”
“Done,” I said.
Totally Confused About The Next Step Towards No More Debt
A cold wash of failure melted over me as I headed down the stairs out of his office. I now had a large debt and no income or place to do business out of.
“What now…” I sent an email to all my clients telling them that boot camp was now outdoors. I refunded personal training and membership fees for those people that only wanted to work with me at the gym.
Then I got on Kijiji and got a job as a Framer swinging a hammer. I framed houses during the day and taught boot camps at night.
The math was brutal. $1500 a month I owed on the lease buy out. Line of Credit at $30,000 and credit card at $14,000. The desert was $11,000 back taxes owed to Canada Revenue.
The numbers said I was going further into debt despite working full time as a framer and doing boot camps at night.
I picked up a job doing data entry, then a motorcycle apprentice, then an electrician apprenticeship. It was while doing data entry that I started writing Cullers War on my lunch hours and doing personal training at night.
Then when I started the electrician apprenticeship I added the podcast and reading the stories like old radio broadcasts.
The electrician apprenticeship started at $18/hour and after 6 months I still wasn’t quite making ends meet.
Canada Revenue called demanding payment. If I agreed to a mandatory $200/month, they wouldn’t dock my pay.
“Enough is enough,” I thought.
A man should be self-sufficient and financially prepped to take care of his family. I was against the ropes and went for a meeting with a bankruptcy guy. He laid it all out for me but I couldn’t pull the trigger.
I wanted to fix the problem by becoming better at whatever it was that I sucked so hard at and got me into this position. I felt like doing bankruptcy would fix everything now, but I still didn’t know how to “make it” on my own.
The electrician apprenticeship would pay around $40 an hour by the end of my four-year apprenticeship. If I could just make a bit more now, this was a workable plan for no more debt.
I started teaching boot camps at night again in the park. It helped but I had to shut it down each year when I went to school for electrician training and also the Canadian winter.
From closing the gym doors to getting a workable plan that would allow me to just barely pay the bills stopping further debt increase, took two years.
I wrote in fits and starts. Sometimes I was motivated and often I just gave up.
I thought, “Now I just have to get through four years of electrician training or figure out something better…”
From this blog, you can expect an account of my adventures as I cut costs and look for supplemental income in an attempt to pay down this enormous debt weighing down my balance sheet.
How this will be different from other blogs. I’m 41. I read on other financial blogs about how people achieved no more debt because they didn’t want to be wage slaves at 41. Well I missed that train.
There are a lot of people that have everything humming along perfectly until a bump in the road. A hospital bill, a failed business, car repairs at the same time as the furnace goes down, etc.
Things get sideways. Figuring out how to get everything back on the rails is the groovy part.
From the time my finances went sideways to the time I am sharing this with you is around 6 years. It’s January 4 2017 and my debt is now at $44,910. Six years to pay off $10,329. $1721.5/year. I need to do better.
That small dent in achieving my goal of no more debt also indicates my level of financial success as a writer up to this point.
In those 6 years I had my corporation dissolve and my taxes reassessed as well. This added in a few more thousand to the debt. Up and down, back and forth.
Time to shove a stick in this cycle wheel.
I’m telling you this because I want you to know that if you feel like you are getting knocked around like a ping pong ball, I understand. Sometimes it feels like you are playing against doubles and you forgot a paddle.
In the next post I’ll look at the two factors towards no more debt that I’m concentrating on:
1) Cutting Costs And Where I’m Cutting
2) Making More Money And Where I Can Do That