Tag Archives: Car Loan

Setka Out

Something miraculous happened today. It’s not epic, like a baby being born or a horrific train derailment that everyone walks away from.

Nope. It’s a tiny miracle. But it’s all mine.

I paid off my car loan.

I began this year with two financial goals. Pay off my student loan (check), and pay off my car loan (just checked). It’s only April.

This. Is. A. Miracle.

And so, it’s time for me to shutter this shop. Writing Cashgab was an incredible journey for me. It was my catalyst for real change. I recently found an email that I sent to Money Mentors (highly recommended, btw) in 2009. It wasn’t until I started writing this blog in early 2012 that my financial life started to blossom. I learned so much about personal finance, such as how to manage a credit card like a Big Girl and the importance of planned spending savings. I also know that I inspired other people to get their financial houses in order. I know this because they wrote me emails, shared comments on my posts, and told me in whispered tones over coffee.

I can’t say that I will never get in financial dire straights again. But I can say that I know how to get out of it if I do: start talking.

It’s that simple. Tell people. Ask for help. Talk about what you’re doing to change. Make yourself accountable.

So many of our money issues are rooted in shame. If you talk about something, you take the stigma away. Ditch your shame.

Gab.

~HS

PS For my beloved regular readers, you are few but you are mighty. Please read my new blog of dispatches from the ‘burbs: Setka in the Suburbs. Money talk will be at a minimum. XO

photoThis sweet ride’s all mine, baby. Jealous? 

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It’s time for us to talk about that DB in your life

We all have a DB in our life. Whether it’s the half-sister who calls you up for rent money or the guy who won’t stop sending you photos of his nethers, DB’s know no gender, race, or class – or even relationship to you, for that matter.

But I’m talking about a different kind of DB today. Debt Baggage. And much like the guy who texts you at 2 a.m. for “cuddles”, this DB is also ruining your life.

It’s dragging you down, my friend. It’s keeping you up at night (and not in the sexy way), it’s distracting you at work (also, not in the sexy way) and it’s stopping you from really pursuing your (sexy) dreams.

Last week, financial rock star guy Mark Carney proclaimed to all Canadians that it’s time to rein in our household debt. In fact, he called it the “main domestic threat” to the Canadian economy. Did you hear that, people? It’s not a bomb-weilding maniac or a militant redneck from backwoods Alberta that we need fear. Our greatest threat lurks in our own homes. (Quite literally, since Carney says the main problem is people using home equity to pay other debts, and to spend more.*)

Photo: Heather Setka

Part of the problem, if you ask me, is that we can’t talk about it. It’s terrifying to admit we can’t afford our own lifestyles, or that we even have debt. Until very recently, I actually believed I was the only person in my friend/peer group with any debt.

Taking responsibility of our financial lives is the only way to thwart the debt threat, and the first step is talking about it. So here I go. Here’s my own DB TMI Moment:

  • $253,800 mortgage
  • $2,800 student loan
  • $2,800 credit card
  • $5,510 car loan
Grand total: $264, 110
OK, now you go. Please list your debts in the comment box below. You can do it. I know you can. Because – as with any DB that’s big and hairy and ruining your life – once you talk about it, the fear and shame will disappear. It vanishes like it’s Saturday morning at 9 a.m. and he has an important business meeting to attend.

It’s fine if you’re not ready. I understand. I took that risk when I opened up to you. But trust me: once you tell someone what about the DB you’ve been hiding, it loses at least a fraction of its power.

Last spring, my debt was much worse:

  • $258,ooo mortgage
  • $14,000 student loan
  • $5,500 credit card
  • $6,960 car loan

I sat down with my friend Aleksandra, who is doubly skilled in financial matters because she 1) is an accountant 2) grew up in Communist Poland, and knows how to stretch a buck. We talked for a solid hour about how to decrease my debt. Some of her suggestions I used, some of them I didn’t. No matter. What benefitted me most was speaking it out loud. Until my conversation with her, no one truly knew the trouble I faced. Once I over-shared, the big bad scary DB monster got a tiny bit smaller. And it’s been shrinking (slowly, slowly, ever so slowly…) since.

So that’s fine if you don’t want to unload your debt load here, for me and the whole Internet to see. Instead, share it with someone you trust – a friend, a financial advisor, a Money Mentor, a counsellor, or a spouse (please, please, please, tell your spouse).

It’s a bold first step in ridding your life of that awful DB.

~HS

*Sources: Globe and Mail and Maclean’s

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