I listened to a great PodCast today: TED Radio Hour – Endure. I didn’t finish it because I got too excited after the first one, which is actually a funny story. Anyways, the first speaker holds the record for completing the trek of hiking from the coasts of Antarctica all the way to the South Pole. What I learned? They were so focused on this task. So much so that when they reached the South Pole, instead of going inside the camp that was there, they just took photos and hiked out right away. See the irony? I learned that focusing is good, and yet I didn’t focus to finish the podcast, instead I’m writing about it immediately… hah

This talk actually really shed some light to my work habits. I’ve always thought that routine creates success and incremental changes leads to big changes once you factor in the time. I know that is true. But I think what I’m lacking in my plan and strategy, is that I’m making incremental changes and building my routine for 600 different goals. Today, I’m restrategizing and will implement focus on those goals.

Instead of taking 15 minutes a day to watch 4 different tutorials for different skills I want to learn (software, coding, foreign languages, business management) it might be more wise to take 1 hour every day to focus on one of those tasks. Similarly, instead of dividing up my day to work on freelancing projects and personal projects, it might be wiser to focus on one project for uninterrupted amount of time each day.

And finally for finance, I should focus on feeling safe. To me that means, having $3000 in my savings account as an Emergency Fund. Having contract jobs lined up for the next 3 months, valued at (10,000). I think I can focus on that, and I think it’s doable to achieve that before the end of the year. Once that’s taken care of, I can start planning how to attack my debt.

Fighting Poverty and Depression

I have a series of frustrations, the big one being personal finance. You see, I’m the extreme case of keeping up with the Jones’ except in my part it was a role that I had to play from the moment I moved to the US and vice versa.

I came from a developing country where my family is comfortable. My father is an immigrant to the US and I didn’t have a relationship with him growing up. He sends money to my mother and as a dollar-earner it has afforded my brothers and I, private education in the best schools in my country along with a housemaid. But we lived in a neighborhood that is just a slight improvement to favelas. My friends in grade school never came over, and we didn’t really hang out, outside of school.

When I moved to the US, those two facts – a housemaid and private schools – left an impression to my middle school friends here that I came from money. 13 year old me who didn’t have any friends here to begin with, thought I’d play along with this narrative in order to get friends. This lie kept going partly to the fact that my father also did not know how to manage money well. He gave my brothers and I an allowance of $50 every 2 weeks. I felt rich with cash in comparison to my cousins and friends back in my native land, and to my middle-school friends. This narrative kept on going for the next 17 years. If you meet me now, you wouldn’t think I was ever poor.

But the truth is, I’ve got over $128,000 in student loans and no savings. I’ve had stock investments before, but I had to use them because I moved out of my father’s house for what I claim was a “mental health reason” but now that I think about it, it was an emotional decision. I talk big in making high-risk high-reward business ideas, but I haven’t had the money to implement any of them. And recently, I lost my job because my place of employment is struggling.

It’s taken me awhile to come to terms to this but I’m ready to attack this debt and financial issue head-on. I know it will take perseverance and a lot of discipline. I’m hoping having a personal blog to keep me accountable and transparent can steer me towards that goal during times when I’m feeling less determined.

Since I’m new to this, I’d love to hear stories and meet people that are also struggling.