This week’s Money Master is Jackie Beck of The Debt Myth. We’re talking a lot about financial myths this week, aren’t we? With the Debt Myth Manifesto, Jackie squashes several at one time:
We don’t need debt to get ahead. We can stand on our own two feet. We’re capable, hardworking and smart. When an emergency happens, we’ll rely on money and our own resourcefulness to take care of things. We won’t turn to debt in desperation, or at the first little hiccup life hands us. We’re breaking free of the debt myth.
We relate to Jackie’s story because it was by tracking her personal spending that was the catalyst for her getting her financial life in order. This is exactly our story. When we finally tracked our spending over a couple of month, we realized we were throwing money out the window.
Finally, what’s awesome about Jackie is her Pay Off Debt app, which she discusses below in her the answer to the first question. How awesome is that? With her app, Jackie has helped tens of thousands of people get out of debt.
1. What’s your story?
Financially, I’ve been all over the place. I grew up middle class, with parents who made sure I got to do things that expanded my world view. I got married young, and promptly learned the meaning of living lean. Then I got divorced and lost my job — which meant getting a taste of part of what it’s like to be poor while raising a child. I spent 4 years living below the poverty line (remarrying in the process). Ironically, living on an extremely low income taught me what I needed to do to get out of debt and build wealth: pay attention to my money, plan for the future (including emergencies), and do what it takes to turn dreams into reality. (My husband and I paid off over $147K in debt in the process.) Today I help people get out of debt with my blog TheDebtMyth.com and the Pay Off Debt app.
2. What’s your point of view, as a personal finance blogger?
I think too many people struggle with money — chasing their tails and missing out on things they’d love to do, and I’d like to change that. Sometimes this is due to where they’re starting from: growing up poor is a huge disadvantage, for example. But I suspect many times it’s due to trading what we want in the future for what we want (or think we need) right now. At least that was the case for me. Feeling uninformed probably plays into it too, but the good news there is that there are plenty of opportunities to become informed. I believe money is a tool, one that you can use to your advantage as you live a life you love. Starting with the personal finance basics is the way to go: spend less than you earn, build an emergency fund, save for retirement, and get out of debt if you’re in it. Those things right there turned my financial life around, and they can for others too.
3. In one sentence, what’s one piece of sage advice from your personal finance background that you’d like to share with our readers?
Don’t spend money that you don’t already have, or that you’ll need for something else.
Please check out The Debt Myth regularly, sign up for Jackie’s newsletter or add her site to your RSS feed. Jackie has a great perspective and you’ll be glad you did. Also, don’t forget to download her app!