Christmas was around the corner and I had no money, but I did have a four-year-old-boy who believed Santa would bring gifts on Christmas morning. I called the Child Support Enforcement automated line to find out if, by some miracle, a child-support check was in the mail. There was not one. In the entire year of 1989, I received a total of $175.00 for child support. In the back of my mind, I knew there would be no monetary help.
Living paycheck to paycheck, I was alone and without hope. As a young, single mother, I was forced to figure it out. I worked fulltime, which meant I had to have daycare. I had a child to feed and clothe, not to mention myself. My car was paid off, which was a blessing, but it needed gas and upkeep. I worked an additional job at night in my home, sewing for a designer that provided a few extra bucks when the work was available. I did what I needed to do to survive.
But, living paycheck to paycheck gets old, and life’s little surprises – like a flat tire or medical bill – motivated me to set out on this money venture. A lot was learned through trial and error. I made mistakes; I learned; then I tried again.
Twenty-plus years later, I had put myself through college and became determined to help other people. I became an Accredited Financial Counselor® (AFC®), and a Certified Financial Planner (CFP®). I learned a lot about money management, but it was those lean years in 1989 and the early 90’s that probably taught me the most and made me want to help others on their journey. I understand exactly the fear, discouragement, and, sometimes, embarrassment of living this way. Living through these experiences and making the necessary changes are what allows me to instill hope and to facilitate change in my clients. Helping people get out of debt, become solvent, and stop living paycheck to paycheck is what God put me on this earth to do.
Linda L. Jacob, AFC®, CFP®