Thanks so much for doing the coaching program. It was well worth what I spent for it (funny how that which costs something motivates us to get the most out of it). The education alone has been worth it. I knew I had a retirement plan with TIAA-CREF. What I learned was that I was contributing 4% of my gross income to the plan, and the university was contributing 8%. I have increased my contribution to 6% and will continue to “inch it up” to 12% as my debt is reduced. I did cash in an old whole life policy and used the cash value to reduce my debt by $5000 (of course, I made certain I was adequately insured before taking this step). And I am transferring the balance from a 13.9% card to a fixed offer of 4.9% (which I pay online and will watch diligently to avoid a late payment). I am having my insurance agent check on moving my homeowners insurance to the same company that has my auto insurance. Some off my friends have saved as much as 40% on rates by making this change. And I have implemented what I refer to as the NBC policy for my purse (Nothing But Cash). I had a bad habit of writing checks and not keeping up with my balance. Having to go home to get a checkbook will help me avoid frivolous spending. Not to mention needless overdraft charges. This also means the credit card stays at home. Between my latte factor (eating out, impulse buying–$250-$300 a month) and a significant raise, I know I have what I need to be successful.
The most important thing I’ve gained is getting rid of the fear about money (fear of balancing the checkbook, fear of opening the credit card statements, etc.). Fear has been replaced by knowledge, and that is empowering. Instead of just drifting along, I am now being deliberate about finances. I now know where I want to go financially, the steps I need to take to get there, and that I have everything I need to be able to succeed. The truth does set you free.