What happens after the dress fits?

IMG_9237 2

In 2011 I gave birth to my last angel, Miss Masyn Victoria. A month later I couldn’t figure out why I wasn’t losing the pregnancy weight at the rate I had with me three previous children. I could feel the frustration rising however I didn’t have the energy to do anything about it. Fast forward seven months, I had lost most for the additional 70+ lbs. of pregnancy weight BUT…15-20 still lingered. Our son was graduating from high school in 6 months and I was determined I would fit into an all-white dress without lumps and bumps. I decided to hire a fitness coach with my #1 and only goal being to fit in my dress.

In May 2012, I was able to watch our son graduate from high school while I adorned my little white dress.

“Stay with me I’m going somewhere!” (In my Pastor’s voice.)

Then the next day, I was back to business as usual! I don’t even recall giving my trainer a notice. Within 2 months, the previous lost pounds were back on my hips and bum. It took me another year and a health issue to consider my health, not weight, as a priority. I looked at “fitting in the dress” as my sole aspiration versus being healthy.  Thusly I only achieved the reaching of a short term goal and not the ultimate that would include implementing eating right, regular exercise, and more self care as a way of a healthy lifestyle.

How does any of this apply to Divas Doing Real Estate? How many times have you stated you are “getting your money or credit right” for a particular event, activity or purchase? As an Accountability Partner, Financial Coach and Real Estate consultant, I hear often, “I need to get my money and credit right to buy a house.”

Though this may be true, the goal of ownership should not be the sole reason for getting your financial house in order. In fact there are at least a dozen reasons you should wisely budget, save, and keep your credit standing in tact that have nothing to do with ownership. Those that see the short term goal of ownership as the ideal time and only reason to be financially mindful are often the ones that quickly revert to bad money habits, after their purchase.

The key aspects of living a financially sound lifestyle are formed by: seeing the value beyond an immediate acquisition, learned over time and require dedication, a conscience effort and plenty of repetition.

If the only reason to take action is a one-time goal the likelihood of maintaining the tasks thereafter is lessened.

Consider Divas Doing Real Estate’s 7 Steps to Building a Healthy Financial Lifestyle versus a quick financial routine, for instant gratification:

  1. Face the facts. Take inventory of your income, debt, expenses and ALL habitual spending. Don’t be afraid to learn you spend $3458.81 at Starbucks, Smoothie King or McDonald’s annually, or that your debt is greater than you imagined. Find the opportunity to reallocate impulse and habitual spending to more productive activities such as paying off debt. Knowing where you are financially helps you effectively map out where you are going!
  2. Giving, savings and investment should be on autopilot. Make these the first items you pay each payday. Ideally, 10% of your earnings is a goal for each category. Don’t think about these transactions, just allow it to happen without effort. Having these amounts auto debited from your account will keep you from having a debate each pay day on what you can and can’t do! Try using an online savings account and an investment account not connected to your bank account. When you have to make an extra step to stop the auto debit or remove funds, the less likely you will be to contemplate the changes.
  3. Build a budget with the income remaining from the #2 allocations. Avoid surprises! Having an understanding of how you will spend your income helps you build confidence in your financial health. One good way to aid in budgeting is setting up equal payment plans for as many bills as you are able. Most utilities can be set to an equalized annual payment. This structure allows you to maintain a budget and avoid the surprises of your core bills.
  4. DIVAS avoid bad debt. If you’ve got credit cards, or personal loans, you need to start a debt elimination plan. Starting with the largest amount, begin to allocate additional payments. Any amount is a start. Once paid off, have a PARTY! Then move to the next bill, applying the full payment from the last and repeat the process until paid on full. Put this on repeat and you will be debt free before you know it.
  5. Be creative in creating income! Put your side hustle to work for you. Seek to make money or to get paid more for what you already do. Don’t reinvent the wheel with producing your cash stream. The extra income can help you pay off debt, save and invest.
  6. Think net worth and wealth! By reducing your debt, increasing your savings, increasing your income, and investing you are building a net worth. Add to this strategic planning, an asset such as a home or rental property and you are on track to building your personal wealth.
  7. Obtain a trusted Accountability Partner. Seeking support in managing your finances is wise. Don’t discount the power of partnerships and leveraging the expertise and experience of a professional.

Be diligent and take action on these 7 best practices, and having a fit financial lifestyle will become second nature.

Four years later. I was able to fit into my little yellow dress while attending our son’s college graduation.

Don’t just get in the dress make it fit forever!