I’m Broke And It’s No Joke!

Posted on January 11th, 2013 by Kimanzi

When I was seventeen years old I thought I was a grown up. My parents always attended church and they expected us to go as well, this didn’t sit well with me. I wanted to do what I wanted to do, not be told what to do.

I rebelled, I gave them a hard time at every turn. I was an arrogant seventeen year old but things came to a boiling point. My parents drew a line in the sand and said that if I didn’t obey the rules I had to leave, so I left.

I stayed with friends, sleeping on their couches. I hit up family members begging, they stood with my parents. I spent a few hard nights sleeping in parks and bus stops, I even stayed in a few homeless shelters. I definitely learned that I wasn’t all that I thought I was.

During this time I got two minimum wage jobs and ended up meeting my wife at one of the jobs, we were married three months later. We ended up getting our own place and I felt vindicated in my mind, I still didn’t get it.

Since I was so arrogant I didn’t heed any lessons from my elders, actually I didn’t listen to anyone. My wife and I made good money but I spent money like we were millionaires. I bought what I wanted and didn’t save a penny.

I wish I could tell you that as I grew up I learned some lessons about money but I just learned how to live beyond my means. Things went from bad to worse fast.

Early last year I had over $100,000 in debt, I probably owed you money. I was constantly getting calls from bills collectors, I was getting calls at home, work, and my cell phone. It seemed like every step forward I took, I fell ten more steps back.

The bills were so overwhelming at times that I had some pretty dark thoughts. I just didn’t see any light at the end of the tunnel, I didn’t have any real relationship with my Lord. I was afraid of what would happen next.

I never said it out loud but I thought with the life insurance policy I had, it would be better if I was gone and my wife and kids could get that money and pay off the debt. Looking back on it now that wouldn’t have been a better plan, it would have been an EASIER plan, a cowardly plan.

I praise the Lord for His grace and I thank Him for sending amazing people to be in my life. Eventually I did get a clue and went back to my parents and other family members and apologized and begged for help!

I was turned onto Dave Ramsey and I started making smart decisions with my money. Things still weren’t perfect but at least there was hope.

Can you relate? Have you ever been in a rough financial situation? 

I don’t have a real outline for this post, more than anything I just want you to know that there is hope if you are, have been or will be in this situation. Please don’t feel like checking out is your best option, it’s the worst!

Please don’t feel like you’ll never get from underneath your bills, like you’ll never have financial freedom because if you want to you can. Please don’t fell like you have to be “strong” and hold it all inside not wanting to “bother” anybody. Be a bother, ask for help, CRY if you have to.

After you have gotten help, after you have cried it out, after you have done whatever you have to do to get through the worst of it, take control.

For me to get control I had to work a crazy amount of overtime to start making progress, I hate to say it but you’re going to have to as well. If you want control, if you want to finally get out of the hole, you’ve got to be willing to do whatever it takes.

I wouldn’t suggest taking out a loan, you can’t get out of debt by taking on more debt. I will say that if you absolutely have to, ask your family for help. Do the research, figure out a budget, work overtime and start to make progress.

Once you do get out of this situation, learn the lesson and don’t ever go back. I know I won’t!

Have you ever been broke? 

  • http://www.jmlalonde.com Joseph Lalonde

    Wow man, that’s quite the story! Glad you didn’t end your life or so many people wouldn’t be getting the help they need.

    • http://talesofwork.com Kimanzi

      I appreciate that Joe. The Lord woke me up :)

  • http://AskJeremyJones.com/enchantment Jeremy

    That’s a tough spot you really worked your way out of the right way, good for you.

    • http://talesofwork.com Kimanzi

      Thanks Jeremy, those were some pretty darks days!

  • http://robsorbo.com Rob Sorbo

    I constantly feel broke, but I’m making it–I definitely feel the Lord’s provision in my life. I work at a great non-profit, so I make very little money. I hear my friends talk about all the money they make and it makes my head spin (I honestly don’t even know how I could spend $50k in one year!).

    A time is coming, though. My wife and I are both finishing up degrees, and I don’t even want to think about those student loans that will come due. I may have to come back to this post in a few months.

    • http://talesofwork.com Kimanzi

      I hope this can always be a resource for you but I have confidence in you buddy. Keep your eye on the prize and focus on your “why”.

  • http://www.lifeofasteward.com Loren Pinilis

    I must say that my wife and I were blessed with good financial educations from our parents, so we’ve always been debt free with the exception of our mortgage. And by the grace of God, I hope that soon is paid off!

    • http://talesofwork.com Kimanzi

      That was something I didn’t have but it’s something I’m teaching my kids :)

  • http://www.powerfulhunger.com Dagny

    After a few years of being paid commission and mismanaging my taxes, I found myself in debt to the IRS over $40,000! That will scare the crap outta you! Doing my own research, I found that those tax settlement firms you see all over the Internet and TV are unregulated and pretty much scams. I researched how to settle with the IRS myself and it worked out so well, I wrote an ebook about it to help other people do what I did! The ebook sold during tax season last year and I got a lot of great emails from people who said my information helped them out of a tough spot! The IRS laws have changed and I’m not going to update the ebook but it was a great experience AND I solved my tax debt problem!

    • http://talesofwork.com Kimanzi

      That’s amazing and yes those companies are scammers, really said. That’s cool that you used your experience to help others, I like that :)

  • http://danblackonleadership.com Dan Black

    I relate with you bro! I’m in debt and it has caused a lot of problems for me, my family, and dreams. One of my top goals is to be debt free so I can better move toward my dreams. I know once the stress of being in debt is lifted I’ll be able to purse my dreams more. I’m still making progress toward my dreams because what I love to do has the potential to make a lot of money.

    ps. I think you owe me $5. Hehehe, just kidding:)

    • http://talesofwork.com Kimanzi

      Ha Ha Dan, not $5 but maybe some gas money from the time we hung out :) I’m glad you’re on the right path buddy!

  • http://intentionaltoday.com Ngina Otiende

    I have been broke! one too many times! I love what you say, that’s it’s not just about getting out of debt but learning the lesson! That’s what will keep us debt-free.

    • http://talesofwork.com Kimanzi

      Thank you Ngina!

  • http://www.superfrug.com Peg Cheng

    Thank you for being so honest, Kimanzi. So many people would not be willing to share all the mistakes they’ve made, especially when it comes to money.

    I’m so glad you saw the Light, grabbed a clue, and did right by your family, parents and yourself. I’m so glad you did not take your own life. You have so much to offer the world. I love your writing and all your great stories and advice.

    When I was 26, I was unemployed, broke, disheartened with my career and confused about what I should do with my life. 10 years later, I had a great job, lots of savings, no debt, and my whole life ahead of me. A lot can change in 10 years.

    Take it one step at a time. You will make it and someday you will be debt-free and truly FREE.

    • http://talesofwork.com Kimanzi

      Thank you Peg for the kind words, they mean so much to me. It’s so inspiring to see where you came from to where you are now, congrats!

  • http://www.leadingeveryday.com Juan Cruz Jr

    Kimanzi, thanks for sharing your story. Although I’ve never been broke, it is because of God’s grace and mercy. You’ve probably heard that college students are some of the poorest people in our nation. I can say that God blessed me even through those college years. Even when when I co-signed a loan for $30K to a family member who never paid it, and it fell on my shoulders, and paid every single dime of it, God still blessed me. I can say I’ve never been broke because of any decisions I have made. I have never been broke because God has been so generous to me. Great post.

    • http://talesofwork.com Kimanzi

      That’s great Juan and way to step up, that shows true character.

  • http://ernestdempsey.net Ernest Dempsey

    Dude. That’s a heavy story.
    100k? Ugh. And I’m worried about my 45k in student loans. lol You win!
    But you pushed through it. And you made it, and are still making it.
    There are days when it seems like you aren’t making a dent, that there is no progress. And those days make you feel like giving up. I get it.
    But you stay focused.
    Just like when Peter got out of the boat to walk on the water with Jesus. He took his eyes off Christ and sank. We have to do that in our lives with everything we do. Financial, career, personal, physical, spiritual. We have to keep our eyes on where we want to be, what we want to be, who we want to be.
    If we keep looking up, eventually we will be higher than we ever imagined.

    • http://talesofwork.com Kimanzi

      Amen Ernest. I’m pretty confident that you’ll be knocking out that debt, I see it in you :) Thanks for the great example in Peter.

  • http://www.bendempsey.net Ben Dempsey

    Kimanzi,

    I completely understand where you are. We have been in debt for sometime, and we are also working Dave’s plan too. We could have, should have done better but this year we are going to make every effort lord willing a huge dent into our debt. As I set here this morning, we are at 174,652.78 worth of debt including the house. I am ready to be debt free. I will be praying for you and your family friend. Praying that you have a blessed 2013.

    • http://talesofwork.com Kimanzi

      At least you’re still on the right path brother. Thanks for the prayer!

  • http://dreamjobprogram.com Drew Tewell

    Wow! John Maxwell says, “If you want to impress people, share your successes. If you want to impact people, share your failures.”

    Kimanzi, keep making an impact!

    And thanks for having the guts to share this story. By the way, my wife and I are going to do the Dave Ramsey plan as well. Our big issue is writing out our monthly budget. I think that is key. And eating out.

    • http://talesofwork.com Kimanzi

      That’s great Drew, I’m using that! Yep, those are issues for us as well :)

  • http://www.lincolnparks.com Lincoln Parks

    Powerful bro. Your struggles help so many other people. I can say we were there at an early point in our marriage and luckily my wife and I got out of the 10K debt we were in in our first year in Marriage. We never really liked it, and God has blessed us to not fall back into it because its so easy. Thank you for sharing this story because its so humbling to see what great things you have done.

    • http://talesofwork.com Kimanzi

      You two were smart and blessed! It’s inspiring to hear and thank you for sharing :)

  • Ed

    I think I’m at the breaking point. I haven’t been able to make a mortgage payment in 5 months and it seems that I’m about to be homeless. It really disappoints me because I have a decent job but I can’t catch up, much less get ahead.

    I’m so ashamed it’s depressing. If it wasn’t for my two children I would end it but that isn’t an option while they are little. My worst case scenario is for my wife to stay at her moms and I’ll sleep in my car at work and use the shower at work.

    I feel like it would be better if she found someone else that is more successful and could do right with her and the kids financially. Then I could do what’s needed without remorse

    • http://kimanziconstable.com/ kimanzi constable

      This is too important for a blog comment, I’m going to email you.