This is Part 4 of my “Men In” Series
Today, as I type this, I stand at over $33,000 in debt.
How the hell did I get that way? Well, it’s one thing, mainly. My divorce.
One of the biggest reasons I’ve been against marriage is because of the financial disasters that befall men when they get divorced. Men are adversely affected because they tend to make more than women, and women, while wanting to be independent, want it both ways and become more dependent on the broken family law system to get them “what they deserve”, or “what they’ve become accustomed to”.
So I sit here today, trying to navigate a debt that was created simply because I was unhappy with my wife and I left her. So what the hell happened?
Folks, it’s no surprise that men have 3 times as much debt as women. Men bear the responsibility of having to be the breadwinner a lot of the time, and they take the lion’s share of the risk to their own credit. And women tend to come into the relationship with debts of their own, with an all too excited Beta ready to help her pay off her debts in exchange for sex. Now I know I’m generalizing, but the “Captain Save a Ho” mentality is alive and well when a Beta finally gets married to his oneitis.
When I first met my ex-wife, I had only a bit of credit card debt and a car payment. She came into the relationship with a fresh bankruptcy, student loan debt, and a car payment. We managed to pay off all her debt and my car, with much of the heavy lifting coming from me. Then the divorce hit.
As an owner of my own company, my ex was determined to get her share of it. Her rationale was that by being a stay at home mom watching the kids, she was entitled to a generous sum of my share of my family’s company. She had “helped me build it”. Family law is a harsh mistress when it comes to deciding who has to pay what, and while the man usually bears the brunt of this, I was lucky in that we were debt free and didn’t own any credit cards.
So, we had a large house to sell, but there existed a double-edged sword. My name was the only one on the house, so while she couldn’t claim it, I was solely responsible for the sale of it. With her past credit problems, she couldn’t get approved with me, so I bought the house myself. I had to take out a loan to upgrade the house to get it to sell because I decided I didn’t need a large house, and the monthly payments made it too tight at the end of the month. On top of that, I had to negotiate a settlement with my ex for my share of the company.
Add to that attorney’s fees and the regular weekly child support, and I was in debt over $50,000. All because I wanted a divorce.
Now, I subscribe to the idea that debt is slavery, and there are many who will disagree with my approach. But I believe that credit is a bad thing, and too many men get into trouble with money, even when they’re making a lot of it. Now there are some good things to talk about here. I haven’t had a credit card in over a decade. I haven’t had a car payment is 7 years. So there are some freedoms I can claim, however, it’s small consolation when you’re facing 5 digit debt, and six if you owe on your house.
Debt Is Slavery
Where ever you look today, debt is everywhere. Men can’t escape it and need some help. My own path may be of some help, for as I am currently in debt, I’ve managed to pay off over $17,000 in a little over a year. So how?
I write a lot about men needing to be in control of their lives, whether it be fitness, dating, raising children, or a career. Finances are just another thing men need to control because they can get out of hand very quickly, and if you’re undisciplined, just like in other aspects of your life, you’ll quickly find yourself in a very deep hole with a very small shovel.
So when you take control of your life, know that the number one thing that can help you get out of debt is your paycheck. But you have to keep track. Having a budget is a fantastic way that you can get control of your finances. When you know what you are spending, and how you are spending it, you have a better idea of where your money is going, and what you could be saving for. I look at my budget daily and have my month’s money spent already. Knowing what is coming up, as well as bigger expenditures that happen to be around, is so important for a man to maintain his control. I would also recommend Dave Ramsey’s Total Money Makeover, where he explains the 7 baby steps of financial freedom. While I follow Dave Ramsey’s philosophy a bit, I don’t subscribe to his religious undertones as much as other guys would, but it’s still worth your time to get that book.
Back on Track
As a man, you have several ways you can build your empire. One of the main ways is to afford a career you’ll love, that will make you a ton of money. I do work a job as a company owner, but also am branching out to do what I love, helping men. Getting your income up is the fastest way to destroy debt, and doing so also gives you the financial freedom to do the things you really want to do.
So what would I recommend? Cut up your credit cards and pay them off. Save a bit for an emergency. Get your debt down quickly. Start saving for retirement and kids college. Do it within the context of your current job, and also try to make money doing what you love, on the side at first.
One of the many benefits of taking control of your finances is the fact that not only do family and friends respect a man who has his financial house together, but you become more attractive to the opposite sex as well. But beware! Now that you’re in control, you can be much more selective when it comes to a woman you want to be with. Women can complicate your life in more ways than one, and getting one who doesn’t have her financial house in order is a recipe for disaster. When you build it with your own blood and sweat, you need to be more mindful of letting just anyone come in to your castle.
Empower Your Wallet
You can affect your own income by the very life selections you make. As a powerful man, you alone dictate what you will spend your money on, and how much of it you’ll earn. You can determine how to live your life, as a slave to a debtor, or as a bank giving out the loans. It’s all about choices. And just like getting into shape, it’s hard work. It’s long hours at a job you may not like while working towards what you want, it’s making choices for the long term instead of doing what feels good at the moment, it’s passing on that blonde 7 or 8 because she owes 15k in credit card debt and can’t stop spending other people’s money. In this case, short term sacrifice leads to long term flexibility, and makes you the boss in your own financial life.
Choose no debt, and you’ll have one less hindrance between you and a successful, fulfilling, masculine life.