Tired of Feeling Clueless About Personal Finance?
If you dream of getting out debt, and designing a brighter financial future, you’re in the right place! Teach Me! Personal Finance is all about teaching, coaching and learning from folks just like you who want to change the trajectory of their lives for the better.
So, what do I know?
I know broke…to the tune of $142,600.
Hi, I'm Ryan. It might help if I share a little more about my own journey.
The Early Years....
In 1999, I started my journey to financial trouble the way many of us did…I went to college. Four years later, I graduated with high hopes and $20,000 in student loans. Could be worse, right? Well, I was just getting started. Driving home after graduation, my beater of a truck broke down on the side of the road. Luckily, I had already landed my first “real” job, which in hindsight didn’t pay as much as I felt like it did as a 22-year-old.
So with no way of getting around, I did the smartest thing I could think of; I went to the dealership and took out a$14,000 loan on a brand-new hatchback.
How cool was I!?!
As a recent graduate, I didn’t have much “stuff,” and since I had to move for my new job, I had an apartment to furnish. Fortunately, I could remedy that with two credit cards that I promptly maxed out at $8,000. By 2004, I was already $42,000 in the hole at the age of 23. And I was just getting started.
Who Buys a House at 23?
It cost $115,000. But I wasn’t worried. This was 2005. House values were going up, up, up, right?
Besides, I had just landed a new job as independent contractor for a startup, doubling my salary. I thought I had just boarded a ship to money island. What I failed to fully recognize was that I was personally responsible for paying quarterly tax estimates…and of course I didn’t do that.
Along the way, I also maxed out another credit card for $1,500, and took out a $8,500 home improvement loan to replace my heat pump.
By the time taxes were due the next year, I learned I had been underpaying significantly, and owed another $7,000, which I couldn’t pay. So, I just sent them what I could, and nothing happened! But I was young and dumb, and didn’t know that the IRS takes its time, and never forgets.
For the next few years, I kept up minimum payments on everything, which kept my credit score looking good…so I received an additional $3,600 in credit. That said, I was feeling the money pinch, which I assumed just meant my income was too low.
So, what did I do?
College: Round 2!
I went to graduate school for $50,000, of course!
While there, I kept racking up debt to the IRS to the tune of an additional $14,000. And to top it all off, shortly after graduation I learned that the startup was about to go under, and I was let go.
For those keeping track, by 2010, I was unemployed and over $142,000 in debt, not even including my mortgage.
I cried, screamed, and felt sorry for myself, that’s what I did. And when that didn’t help, I got angry and disgusted in myself because I felt like a loser. While searching online for companies to magically fix my problems, I saw a story about a family who had paid off even more debt that mine, and it inspired me.
I got organized. I got focused. And I got educated. Within 30 months I was able to get myself 100% debt free.
So, what did I do?
Over the next five years, I took that momentum and designed the future and life I want for my family.
Along the way, I’ve discovered a passion for helping folks transform their personal finances from a point of stress and embarrassment into a source of strength and personal pride. I truly believe that while overcoming debt and achieving financial freedom isn’t exactly easy, it doesn’t have to be a mystery, either. In 2016, I started working on how I could turn my passion into my enterprise, and in 2017 I launched the site “Teach Me! Personal Finance.”