It started out so innocent. A trip abroad paid for by scrimping and saving and working a second job. Enter a wine glass, the Swiss Alps, and gravity, and things got real fast. This is the story of a young woman whose financial life changed in a single moment. See the woman took a spill and sadly, the wine glass broke her fall. The cut was deep enough to sever the nerve. In a single instant she’d incurred $10,000 of medical debt. And yes, that’s after the portion insurance covered. Though the setting is pretty magical, her story isn’t unique. Every day people incur loads of medical debt and then sit on it making minuscule payments for years. This is where her story takes a different path.
Before the fall this woman was debt free, but she also had no savings. She didn’t even have a retirement account. She had a net worth of basically zero. Instantly after the fall her net worth fell to -$10,000. This stirred something in her. The motivation to get serious about her financial life was now staring her in the face. She took the bull by the horns and not only paid off the $10,000 medical bill, but she also saved $5,000 for emergencies and $5,000 for retirement. It took her about 15 months do all this, and by then her net worth had shifted over $20,000.
I tell her story to inspire you, but also to give you a not so gentle shove. In order to accomplish this feat she worked several jobs, rented out a room in her house, and cut expenses like it was another job. It wasn’t simple, but I know for a fact she’s glad she went through it.
And so will you.
Peter Dunn a.k.a. Pete the Planner® is an award-winning financial mind and a former comedian. He’s a USA TODAY columnist, author of ten books, and is the host of the popular radio show and podcast, The Pete the Planner Show. Pete is considered one of the foremost experts on financial wellness in the world, but he’s just as likely to talk your ear off about bass fishing.