Happy Spring!  I just love this time of year, especially living in Michigan because our winters are so long!  Looking out at the lake as I write this, I still see ice covering part of it.  The gardens will soon be bursting with life and in full bloom. Such a happy time. 

I’m interviewing experts about credit, debt, and bankruptcy this month because anyone who has ever experienced being in major debt knows how it can suck the joy and the life right out of you.

I’ve been there too, and it was frightening.

There was a time when my husband and I were first married that we experienced this. I was a new financial advisor, and I was pregnant with my first baby.  My husband was unemployed due to a labor strike, and his only skill since age 18 was playing a French horn for the Detroit Symphony Orchestra. To bring home some income, he took a job bartending at a Greek restaurant where he would come home with a few bucks each night. It was so depressing! We got to the point where we were paying our credit cards with the checks you get from the credit card company! The strike finally ended, and he went back to work with a plan.

It was at that point, that we decided that this would never happen to us again.  We made it our goal to do two things:

  • We paid our credit cards off. It took time, but we did it, and we never carry a balance. In fact, most months, my husband has our credit cards paid off before the statements arrive.
  • The second thing we did was to begin building an emergency cash reserve. We started with one month’s expenses, then three, then six, and finally we reached one year’s worth of expenses that we kept in a safe money market account. Now we only get 2% on this money, but it helps us sleep at night, and I love the ability to make home improvements like a new roof, for example, right from our account.

Building up that savings account took time, and besides investing in our retirement plans regularly, it’s one of the smartest thing we ever did. The next time my husband was unemployed due to a labor strike back in 2011, the strike lasted six months. Thank God we had that cash reserve!

I hope you enjoy the interviews this month with our financial experts. We will address the inner and outer workings of debt. Lynnette Khalfani-Cox offers four really smart debt tips in her featured article. I address the deep-seeded causes of debt in my article. You probably know others who can use this information. Please share it with them and invite them to join our Smart Women Community at www.JoinSmartWomen.com

Also, I’d love to hear how you like the shows and what topics you like to hear more of.  You can email me at katana@katanaabbott.com.  I love hearing from you!

Katana Abbott, CFP®, is a Retirement Coach, founder of the Smart Women Companies, and the host Smart Women Talk Radio with over a million subscribers.  For over 30 years, Katana has shown women how to take charge of their life and finances and believes it’s never too early to plan for expected and unexpected events like retirement, encore careers, moving abroad, or preparing for long-term care.  She has written several books, created a financial literacy course, and is a popular speaker. Katana has been honored by NAWBO as one of Detroit’s Top 10 Business Women, receiving the Breakthrough Award. To download her new ebook, The Five Biggest Money Mistakes Women Make and How to Fix Them, visit www.katanaabbott.com