Friday, November 20, 2009

Confessions of an empty pocketbook NOT...a good look...for your girl. It's hard to believe that a year ago I divorced Corporate America and financial prosperity in search for a life of greater meaning. Before then, life was GOOD. Budget? For what? I traveled when I wanted and bought what I wanted. But my heart yearned for more. At the time I was living in California, isolated from my family and friends, and my greatest accomplishment was my beautiful home and my career. No husband. No prospect. No children. 9-5? H-no. More like 7-7 with a few extra hours on Sunday to prep for the next week. In search of the pot o'gold at the end of the rainbow, I looked at the lives of the female execs at my company and realized that work-life balance meant either 1) No children 2) Full time househusband 3) Divorced with live-in nanny. In my BEST Frankie voice: Absolutely not.

So, I prayed, and decided to move on faith. Soon after, I lost my job, rented my house, and moved back east in pursuit of a new plan. I moved to put my focus back on family (present and future) and to pursue a career that is fulfilling because of what I do and not what I make. I believed that life isn't about the money...but good people, let me be completely honest: MONTEY MATTERS. Helleeeer! (You gotta say it like Madea).

Although I am thankful for my journey and still confident with the choices I made, the optimist has evolved into a realist. We should all pursue our dreams, and especially if you are miserable it's long overdue to make some major life changes. However, unless you have permanent funding for your dreams, you better balance your dreams with your means. Otherwise, you'll end up like me...lingering in a purgatory of sorts between Need and Want.

In the few days I was engaged, having to make permanent decisions about joint bank accounts, investments and managing debt was like a cold splash of water in my face. I don't disagree that once you marry, "me" becomes "we". However, it is essential that as individuals we stack money and manage our finances responsibly BEFORE marriage. This way, each person can demonstrate not just a relationship commitment, but a financial contribution, and investment in the marriage and shared future. Just think about it, if you have more debt than money saved in the bank YOU become yet another liability to your spouse, regardless if you have great "assets."

In a recent career discussion with a dear friend she asked "Should we search to find the dream career, or is your career intended to fuel (and finance) your dreams?" Hmm. Great question. Either way, we owe it to ourselves to follow our hearts. Just be sure that part of the plan is keeping yourself and your pocketbook fed. Because being broke ain't no joke. So please excuse me...I think I'm going to reconcile my relationship with Corporate America. Immediately.

Oh, and a quick pause for the cause: Happy Birthday Daddy!

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