In June 2007, exactly seven months ago, I was in debt to the tune of $15,000. That may not sound like much, but consider that my annual after tax income as a recent broadcasting school graduate, working in retail while looking for a “real” job, was a meagre $13,000. That means that my total debt load was 115% my annual salary. Even if I was able to dedicate half of my income to debt repayment, it would have taken me twenty-seven months of pay it off, more than two years! And that’s not accounting for interest. Now consider that most entry-level broadcasting jobs don’t pay much better than retail, and the situation seems more than overwhelming.
I am not the type of person who can ignore problems and go about life with a smile on my face. And when it come to debt, I think our society has become altogether too comfortable with it. I’m not one of them. I would look at what I owed and think of all the things I couldn’t do until I fixed it. I couldn’t go travelling. I couldn’t buy a new camera. I couldn’t start a new job in the broadcasting industry with the proverbial monkey on my back. So I made the decision to eliminate my limitations.
I took a job with a construction company. Most people who know me found this more than a bit surprising. I don’t fit the construction worker stereotype by any stretch of the imagination. And to this day I don’t quite fit in with the group. So in many ways it was a sacrifice, but the immediate benefits more than made up for it. By taking that job my income immediately tripled. I was able to pour every spare penny into paying off my debt.
I started with my credit card debt. Only about $1000, mostly for eating out when I was a student, and for a trip I took with my ex-girlfriend. I paid this off in the first month.