We were featured on Good Morning America!
I started my first blog Debt Discipline (2013-2020) as a way to share my experience with my family's debt. As I find ways to help eliminate it, I want to share that in hopes to help someone else in a similar situation.
We started our Debt Discipline journey in June of 2010 when we hit rock bottom with over $109,000 worth of debt. At that time, I had to come to grips with the fact that we could not afford a family vacation, and we had maxed out all five of our credit cards. We were living well beyond our means.
I'm not sure we were ever educated on how to handle credit properly. Although my parents seemed to manage okay, financial education was never a topic of dinner table conversation.
Fast Forward to September of 2014 we are debt-free! Paying off $109,000, in 50 months, two months ahead of our goal and it feels great! We shifted gears and now turned our attention to building wealth. Our goals are set on a fully-funded emergency fund, retirement savings, and college funds for our three children.
In early 2015, we took a bit of a step backward, after being downsized from my IT position with a company I was with for over twenty years. It was a bit of a shock, but luckily we had our finances in order, and an emergency fund in place, because if we did not, it would have been a stressful situation.
In 2016 I landed a new role with a better work-life balance. We track our money each month via our net worth updates, using tools like personal capital and Google Sheets to track our progress. We continue to be prepared our children for their financial futures. Teaching them not to make the same mistakes we have made with money.
Our twins are currently in their junior year of college. My son is studying computer science and my daughter's digital art and social media. My daughter recently started a 6-month internship with Disney, which unfortunately was cut short due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
They have been working part-time jobs for over four years, and both have good savings accounts. Both work full-time each summer. Our youngest son, a senior, in high school, just landed his first part-time job. Before working, he used side hustles when there was a big-ticket item he wanted, and he's also volunteered his time over the last few years.
Since we are at this point in our financial lives, I have begun to help others with their money. I have coached many family and friends, initiated a financial wellness program at my former company, and I'm a committee chair on my local school board.
A full K-12 personal financial literacy curriculum for a student body of 6000 students has completed its second year of operation. It will continue next school year. The financial literacy committee is finalizing a proposal to be reviewed by our school's board of education to add a half-year financial literacy class to our district. The goal is to make it a local graduation requirement, so all students received financial literacy education.
I have also begun speaking and sharing our own story with debt at libraries and High Schools to educate others. I want everyone to know what I know about money. With better money knowledge you can begin to reduce stress and take control of your life. Brian Brandow.com will continue to share financial literacy focused content, and showcase some of my upcoming projects.
I'm a Dad, husband, and an IT professional by trade. I've been described as being sarcastic, funny, cranky, moody, and some other four-letter words I'd rather not write here. Laughter and sarcasm rule our home. I'm a pet person, too. I love animals, especially dogs. We have two Shiba Inu's, Mushu and Meeko.
I've been working professionally for 25 years. I want my three children to handle money better than I ever have, and have been teaching them as much as I can. My goal is to continue to champion the financial literacy message to anyone who will listen. I hope my and my family's story will inspire and motivate you to take control of your money.