In 2009, Kate Northrup, then just 26, was making more money than most twenty-somethings running a successful direct-sales marketing company, with more than 3,000 other entrepreneurs reporting to her.
There was just one problem: Northrup was deep in debt.
Despite the fact that she was earning a plum salary, Northrup hadn’t managed to amass any savings. Instead, she’d spent beyond her means—eventually digging herself into a $20,000 hole.
“I didn’t open my mail, so I had no idea how much I owed … or to whom,” Northrup says. “I was that adorable ostrich with its head in the sand.”
Once she took stock of her situation, Northrup pinpointed her financial ignorance to an unlikely source: low self-esteem or, what she calls, a lack of self love. “It doesn’t matter how many financial strategies you know,” she says. “If you don’t value yourself, you won’t actually do them.”
Thanks to her newfound sense of accountability, she slowly but surely climbed her way out of debt within two years—and then wrote a book about her journey. We asked Northrup to share some key insights from “Money, A Love Story: Untangle Your Financial Woes and Create the Life You Really Want,” including how you, too, can approach your own finances with a bit more love.
LearnVest: What inspired you to write the book?
Kate Northrup: It was my own experience of getting into debt, and then getting out of it. I never had a problem making money—the hard part was keeping it. I used to hope that somebody else would just take care of it for me. I also believed that if I kept making more money, I’d eventually figure it out. Obviously, as I learned, that’s not the case. I needed to pay better attention to the money I was making in a loving way. As a result, I’ve been able to make and keep more—and give more.
But what’s love got to do with money?
Just like any other relationship, your life with money has its ups and downs, its twists and turns, its breakups and makeups. And, just like other relationships, living happily with it really comes down to love—being stressed and overwhelmed by money only makes us retreat.