Debt and Accountability

People can make up unbelievable excuses for why they can’t take care of their financial responsibility. As someone who’s worked in the finance industry, one comes across excuses ranging from understandable to downright unbelievable.

What I’ve learned from my past experiences working in collections, is that people always have a tall-tale for why they haven’t properly accounted for bills. They would explain their gloom-ridden situation and I would negotiate by offering smaller payment plans to give them some relief. During the years, I began to see certain patterns forming in the customers having the most difficulties.
Some customers had illnesses. When listening to stories of their hardships and pain it was hard to not empathize with them.
But more often than not, the reasoning for avoiding budgeting came down to blowing off obligations. Personal characteristics of these kind of people include a lack of accountability, immaturity and a strong presence of entitlement.

After seeing and understanding this pattern of behavior, I took a look at myself in the mirror. I had my own finances to tend to. So I took necessary steps to get out of the debt trap.
I took responsibility for financially unsound choices I had made when I was young and filed a chapter 13. For five years, I had my checks garnished plus child support on top of that as well, I had officially put myself into a financially prison.
While in the hole (regarding my debt), I started to look at things from the perspective of a debt slave and I began to truly understand the everyday struggle that most of us Black Americans have continued to deal with.

I was lost and didn’t know what to do.

One day I received a phone call from my mother. At that time she was in the hospital awaiting a heart and kidney transplant. She wanted to see how I was doing.
I expressed to her my emotional distress due to my financial difficulties at that time and why I felt like giving up.
She told me a extremely motivational statement, one that I still keep in my heart till this day.

My mom said “One man’s hardship is another man’s accomplishment”.

I took a step back and looked at the bigger picture. My hardships back then were just a part of the growth in my life .

In conclusion, I ended up completing my bankruptcy payments and handled my budgeting. By using hard work, strategy and dedication I cleaned up my finances.
As a plus, when I got my money situation handled I hired attorney. Then I strutted into court and fought for custody of my children. I had my babies back, and I had just eliminated one of my biggest financial burdens, state mandated child support.

I wrote today because I needed to share this triumph with The Family, to put my personal experiences on here because most Black Americans need to hear this. We need to realize that the changes we want to see within our finances are possible if we’re willing to change ourselves, be patient, strategize, and budget we can be financially fit.
We have to change the way we think about money. Money is a tool and we all can become successful in our own right. Though Black Americans are targeted systematically, we must do as we’ve done in every other painful endeavor we’ve engaged in, grind though the tough times and win.

Here are simple solutions for poor financial practices:

Teach your children about the value of a dollar
Your children need to know how money and debt work. Teach them about saving and investing because most schools in the United States don’t have many subjects on financial education.

Lead by example
Children copy what parents do. Show them how you budget your monthly expenses. Give them jobs where they can learn to work under you to teach them about work ethic. Teach them the importance of self ownership by promoting startups for them, like lemonade stands or paper routes.
For example, when my child wants a new game system that cost $200, I have him earn every dollar from cleaning our house, to going on bike rides, to his personal chores. This teaches him how the real world works, we work for anything especially luxuries.

Start a savings account and don’t touch it no matter what
This is the true test. As Black Americans, we haven’t established enough personal capital to be able to jump on opportunities when they arrive. We have to learn how to save for the worst scenarios and the best ones. Even if its only $25 or $50 a pay period, just save something in a locked account.

Start investing
Invest in your family or yourself. Take time to invest in proper business attire for interviews, take financial courses so you’re up to speed on trading or management, and invest in information on subjects you have little understanding of. A proper investment can lead to a handsome payout.

The “money” ball is in our court, are we prepared to dribble?

-Anthony Dunham, B1Daily

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