I am not a trust fund kid, I didn’t hit the lotto and I don’t have a million dollar investment portfolio! I am an ordinary individual who works hard and learns from bad choices.
Unfortunately I didn’t land a great job before I graduated from college and I wasn’t getting an awesome salary when I entered the workforce. As I worked my temporary jobs I was always thinking of ways to make more money. About six months after I graduated a friend asked me to take the principals of real estate class with her. I said ok because I knew I wanted to buy a house soon and I wanted to know the basics of the process so I could keep myself from being taken advantage of. In that class I was introduced to some people who worked in the mortgage business and that peaked my interest so I did my research and become a mortgage loan originator in December 1999.
I was new in my accounting career and I was still thinking about getting my CPA license so I decided to take the remaining courses needed for a real estate license through Houston Community College so I could also fulfill the 150 hour requirement to sit for the CPA exam. I finished all the coursework and obtained my real estate salesperson license in June 2000. For the next 2 years I worked my full time accounting job, originated loans and sold houses. Finally in August 2002 I purchased my first home at the age of 25 and I had a little money in the bank. Life was good!
I continued doing what I had been doing for another year and then in 2003 I decided it was time to branch off and be independent so I got both my mortgage broker and real estate broker licenses. I resigned from my full time accounting job to see where real estate would take me. Things were going great. I paid off my credit cards, my 2000 Mazda Protégé and my only debt was my mortgage and my student loans. WooHoo!
Fast forward to 2005 the housing market was starting to struggle and real estate deals that used to close with ease started falling apart and never making it to the closing table. This environment created a personal financial crisis for me as a single income household. I started using credit cards again to maintain business expenses and personal expenses and before I knew it I was drowning.
I had a hard time transitioning back into accounting because I had been out for so long. Hiring managers questioned my ability to do the work, but thankfully I finally got a contract job in 2006 that later turned permanent and I was on my way to digging myself out of the hole I was in. I put real estate and loan origination on the back burner because I needed a guaranteed check to fix this money problem.
The next few years was all work. I focused on creating a career at the company I was working for. I networked and I grew my skill level and did everything my mentors told me to do to be successful, but the universe had a different plan for me. I resigned from the company that I loved due to circumstances out of my control. I moved on to a new employer but unresolved stress from my previous situation added to the stress of the current situation created some health issues that caused me to take some time off to take care of ME!
Timing couldn’t have been worse. It was the height of the great recession so jobs were scarce when I started to look for work again. I was unemployed for 6 months in 2009 and I was not receiving unemployment so once again I found myself in a financial crisis. My house was scheduled for foreclosure auction January 5, 2010, but God didn’t let that happen. In December 2009 I was hired for a contract job. I submitted my projected income to the mortgage company and was able to modify my mortgage and move the arrears to the end of the loan. Thank You Jesus!
I put my head down again and worked worked worked! In 2010 my assignment ended and I found myself unemployed for another 6 months. Thankfully I had enough reserves to weather the storm until I found employment again. When I found another assignment I did what I always do, WORK! By 2013 I had paid off my 2006 Cadillac CTS & paid off my student loans. This time the only debt I had was my mortgage. WooHoo!
I avoided credit cards like the plague from 2009-2016 and lived on a cash only basis. I said I would NEVER put myself in a position to have to dig myself out of a hole again! In 2016 I decided to get credit cards again for travel points but I only charge what I know I can pay when the bill is due! I DO NOT carry balances on credit cards. In 2017 I sold my house to be completely debt free and explore my dream of travelling the world. I have yet to achieve complete financial independence so I do have to go back to work. I have really enjoyed the taste of freedom that I’ve had from February 2017 to February 2018.
Getting what we want in life doesn’t always come easy. I have learned through all of life’s experiences that living your best life is all about the choices you make. Sometimes you have to choose to sacrifice one thing for another. This decision to take a sabbatical and travel the world didn’t come easy because I don’t have unlimited financial resources. I made a CHOICE to live my dream and I have FAITH that another work opportunity will come along that allows me to get back to focusing on the money!
1. What can you do to supplement your income?
2. What expenses can you give up to put aside money for a bigger dream?
3. How much does living your dream really cost? If you don’t know figure it out NOW! Most of the time our dreams don’t cost as much as we think they do.