I thought I was doing everything right with my money. Until I realized I wasn’t.
Secrets and Surprises
Several years ago, my 20-year marriage ended. I was diagnosed with cancer and went through surgery and treatments during the divorce (I’m now clear – yay!). Once that was over, my marital home sold (below market value). With my half of the proceeds I paid off my legal and medical bills and paid cash for a neglected old house in a low-income neighborhood in the city. My plan was to fix up the house and list it for sale in two years, rolling the equity into another house in a nicer neighborhood. Sounds good, right? I put in new plumbing and electricity, then moved into one room of the house while I worked on the rest. Old house hold secrets – there were some unexpected expenses. My two-year plan turned into a four-year plan; I finally listed the house six months ago, and I have had only one viewing since the listing hit the internet.
Along the way I visited a mortgage broker, so I could determine how much I was able to pay for the next house. The broker turned me down, saying that along with my freelance status, my debt-to-income ratio would keep me from qualifying.
I knew I had an awesome credit score, and I paid all my bills on time. I owed nothing on my home. So what was the problem? Meanwhile, I read about a colleague’s struggle with bills and how he and his wife had decided to gain control of their finances. I took the message as a sign to look at my own money trail, and act like the broker. I pulled out all my statements and bills and spread them out on the table, and I started to tally the numbers. No rose-colored glasses. No preconceived notions.
Eyes Wide Open
I was shocked.
My inattention and willingness to allow my money to manage itself has created a money abyss.
After looking at the results, I wouldn’t have loaned me money! I was a good credit risk with a near excellent credit score, but I had no way to pay back a loan.
My freelance business was in its second full-time year and dog-paddling. I had no other sources of income, other than an award of pension from the divorce (that would disappear upon the death of my ex-husband). My bills included property taxes for the house as well as a parcel of undeveloped land I own in another state (which is also listed for sale); a leased truck; regular household expenses; and a credit card debt of approximately $11,000. I was spending slightly more – yes, more – than I was bringing in, causing my humble savings account to dwindle.
I needed to do something. So the first thing I did was to thank the universe for everything I had. Gratitude is the beginning and end of any journey. I am a believer in the power of thought, and I understood that I was somehow manifesting this predicament. It was time to make some serious decisions.
Asking for Guidance
I love working for myself, and did not want to give that up. But I also knew I had to find ways to bring in more money. So the second thing I did was to ask the universe for guidance and opportunity in my decision. I wanted to own this problem.
The universe answered with an opportunity to pet-sit that weekend. Cha-ching! Sixty dollars going to the cause! I phoned a dear friend and told him of my decision to manage my money, instead of allowing my money to manage me. He fell quiet for a bit, then he told me about a book that had helped him through the same journey just a few months before. The book was “Secrets of the Millionaire Mind” by T. Harv Eker. “I am putting it in the mail tomorrow,” he said.
As promised, the little yellow book arrived a few days later, and I devoured its contents. I read it three times in a row, and then took out a highlighting pen to mark the best parts. Wow – I realized I had a deep-rooted money blueprint based on my childhood, my two marriages, and my years spent as a single mother of two sons. I did the exercises in the book. Events and statements made long ago began to rise from the depths of my memory. I discovered how the beliefs and innocent actions of my beloved parents had imprinted themselves on my mind; how I had made money decisions and subconsciously kept myself at a particular income level; and how I had probably affected the money blueprint and actions of my own grown sons. Reading the book was enlightening and emotional – and very necessary.
On My Way
I am inviting you along on this new path of mine, and hope that it will help you understand more about yourself and your money management skills. I know it won’t be fast or easy. But I know it is possible. In my next post, I will share what I did (and do) to begin the job of balancing my finances and manifesting wealth. I invite you to share your stories here, too!