Been lurking on this forum for a while now. So I finally decided to start a journal. I'm a 30 year old computer programmer. I currently live in the NYC area with my wife and our young son.
Growing up, I was taught to excel in school, go to the right college, get a good job, and work my way up the corporate ladder. These are all good values to have. But unfortunately, I was not taught to live below my means. So coming straight out of college, I landed a semi-decent job, but I was over 40K in student debt. Now instead of paying that debt off, I started enjoying my new found wealth. I went on vacations all over the country, bought tons of electronic gadgets, and of course bought a house near the height of the housing bubble in 2005.
Then for reasons that I can only attribute to the ridiculousness of youth, I decided to change jobs and move to the New York Metro area. The house I had just bought on debt was rented out in the mean time. Once in New York City, I rented out a high cost studio in the Upper East Side and continued living the high expense lifestyle.
The new job paid more than my old one, but I did not consider the higher cost of city living before making the move. As I began running a little short on money at the end of every month, I knew that something had to be done. Of course, I did the entirely wrong thing. Being a hobby gardener, my mistake was thinking that I could build a professional landscaping side-business on borrowed money. So I got into even more debt to start this business, commercial loans this time!
Right around this time, I met my wife. Our relationship bloomed over the next couple of years. My wife was in grad school with a huge amount of student debt at the time. About 2 months after we got married, the economy crashed, the value of my house tanked(wiping out my down payment), my side-business collapsed, and the interest payments on her student loans became due.
That was a really low point in my life. I realized that as a family, my wife and I had almost no money to our name. Additionally, the outstanding student loans, credit card, and commercial loans that we had added up to over $192,000 dollars!