Going back to my paper route days, it seems that I’ve always been good at earning money. As for managing money, well, I didn’t develop much of an interest in that until I turned a $60,000 inheritance into $20,000 of credit card debt!
I received the inheritance from an uncle when I was 25 years old, and used it to create “Links Review,” a newsletter centered on my passions for golf and travel. Once a month, I would visit some great golf vacation destination and review the area’s best courses. While the newsletter enabled me to tee it up on amazing courses from northern California to southern Spain, it suffered from one fairly important problem: very few subscribers. Blind to my financial situation and increasingly acclimated to the life I was living, I just kept going. Two years after receiving the inheritance, I woke up to the hard reality that I had dug myself deeply into debt.
That experience, including six humbling months of living in my parents’ basement and over four years of paying off my debts, changed my life. For starters, it prompted me to reevaluate the overall direction of my life. Ultimately, that path led me to turn a casual interest in spiritual matters into a committed Christian faith. Secondly, it forced me to face the fact that I had a lot to learn about money. So I began to study, and haven’t stopped. (It was an inheritance well squandered!)
Early in my new journey, I heard about and began volunteering with Good $ense, a national financial ministry that was founded at Willow Creek Community Church, one of the nation’s largest interdenominational churches. While serving in Good $ense, I counseled many people one-on-one and taught countless workshops.
In 2005, with the amazing support of my adventurous wife, I left a lucrative corporate job to pursue a long-held dream of writing and speaking about money full-time. Doing so is one of my greatest joys.