I’m a nationally ranked mortgage broker,
a “once broke, but now not” wisdom-giver,
and a champion of women everywhere.
I help women find ways to Rise Above their
sucky money pasts and realize the path to
strong financial futures.
When I was young, you could say my life was a bit of a challenge.
In fact, my story was one of continuous financial and personal struggle.
In the early days, my family was most definitely living below the poverty level. We knew the ins and outs of a trailer home. Once my family became broken, it got worse. We knew what it was like to not have a home. We slept on friends’ sofas. We relied, like many do, upon food stamps and the income from a series of low paying jobs. Our lives showed the symptoms of stress, substance use and lack. Don’t get me wrong, our family always felt love… but most of our existence was a direct reflection of poor life choices. The kind many folks in our small rural community seemed to make. The kind that comes from a mindset of “this is just how it is, so why plan for anything else?”
I acted out as a teenager of course. I did dangerous things with dangerous people. Drinking and experimenting with marijuana were in my circle. For a while there, it seemed as if I was on the same path. I was beginning to make the same kind of choices that resulted in the same kind of lifestyle.
I wasn’t thinking at all.
The future seemed to just not be an issue.
I was just reacting to each day with
no goals, no plan,
and most certainly, no order.
At one point during my teenage years, I was put in charge of managing some of the household money. It was my job to help budget what was brought in and make sure there was money for groceries and the rest of the bills.
My family relied upon me to plan meals, pinch pennies and calm the chaos. During this time something must have clicked in my brain, because somewhere along the line I realized that with just a little planning and order, a lot of things start looking a whole lot better. By looking closely at every dollar that was there today and planning for how they might be used in the future, things didn’t seem so chaotic after all. I realized that it was all about choice, and that every choice mattered.
I could choose to spend money on a cell phone, or I could choose to put half the cost of that in a savings account for next month. I could choose to continue on my path of poor choices or I could choose to learn as much as I can so I could become better, do better and and give more in the future.
I could either choose a life of continued chaos, or I could choose a life of responsibility, order and opportunity.
It clicked. I was worth the work.
The day after I graduated from high school, I got my first adult job as a bank teller. After all, I managed the household bills. I was good with money, right?
I watched as grown adults ran into financial struggle because they either lived above their means or failed to plan for their futures.
Watching this every day opened my young eyes even further and bolstered my determination to not do the same. I worked as a teller during the day, and waited tables and took college classes at night. Some days that meant I was at work at 7AM and didn’t stop doing homework until well after midnight, but I eventually received my degree in accounting from the effort.
As I moved toward getting married (I met my amazing husband when we were 15, by the way), we sat down and laid out a 5 year plan. We discussed our personal goals and what it would take to achieve them. Some of that plan included sacrifices (like living at home with our parents for quite a while and saving money to buy a house), the percentage of our income that we would set back in savings, and the order in which we would do things. Like… finishing my education first. And waiting to have kids until we felt financially and emotionally ready to handle it. Our 5 year plan was the foundation for the future we enjoy today.
(You can learn how to establish a 5 year plan for yourself in lesson 3 of Rising Above.)
In my twenties, I cofounded a mortgage company. Although I had no idea how to run a business when I first began, through the determination to succeed I learned, and helped to grow that business to become one of the top performers in the states of Ohio and Indiana. I grew this business while I was working to earn my masters degree, which took some organizational skills, let me tell you. Recently, I was named an “Elite Women in Mortgage” — one of only 50 women in the country to receive this honor. Last year I was named one of Mortgage Professional America Magazine’s “42 Young Guns,” another national honor featuring 42 of the brightest stars in the mortgage industry under the age of 35. This year, my husband and I paid off our second home. I am 36 years old.
Why do I tell you all of this?
Because I could have very easily gone the other direction.
I could have let my past circumstances and choices define who I am as a person. I could have let it all become my future story and continued living the same kind of life, struggling to survive and always lagging behind the next dollar. I could have sat still in my struggles and accepted my situation as “the way things are.”
Except that I knew in my heart of hearts that it wasn’t. Something in my soul told me that things could be very, very different, and I truly believe that the reason you are reading this right now is because you feel that pull in your heart as well.
I have had the privilege of speaking with hundreds of women over the years,
and I have watched so many of them spend their lives WANTING.