I met Amelia at the peak of my corporate career. I was earning a comfortable salary with minimum commitment, no mortgage, no children, no fancy car, and no savings. I rented a comfy one-room apartment in a prime area and traveled out of the country once a year, just like my peers did. Sure, I owned a couple credit cards, often finding myself running out of cash at the end of the month. I just rolled my cards but I always managed to pay my bills.
As my financial consultant, Amelia sat me down and assessed my financial condition, I had no clue that I was running a deficit, EVERY. SINGLE. MONTH. At that rate, I knew I was going to rot in a lousy nursing house, turned crazy single aunt that once lived a posh life, but retired with no dignity. It is a horrifying image.
Amelia proposed three immediate action plans. One included terminating all my credit cards - oh, the horror! At that point, I already had a longer relationship with my credit cards than with any one of my boyfriends. They are always there when I needed them, provided comfort and security, and heck lots of excitement too! Making that decision was one of the scariest things in my life. Who would be there for me at the end of every month when I run out of cash? What if I want to buy my family a big meal, or pamper myself? What about a medical emergency? Or any emergencies for that matter? I had no savings. Alas, I am a great pretender! The image that I had built for myself will be ripped off like a masquerade at the end of the ball.
But I did it anyway. I badly needed the change. I needed to stop this endless vicious cycle. I remember vividly the moment it happened. There was a deep dark sense of fear, as if I had come face to face with a mighty lion.
I've been living without my credit cards since 2017. Did I see an instant transformation? To be honest, no. However, I know I have rid myself of that deep dark fear in my core. I know that I am no longer feeding into that spiraling black hole. I learned to spend below my means, and to walk away from instant gratification, or pretending that I could afford things that I couldn't. I am still servicing the balance of my credit card loan, a consequence of my past actions. However, I hold my head high knowing that I have defeated that mighty lion.
Talk to your financial therapist if you too want the same kind of change in your life