Life After Financial Loss

 In Money, Redefining Wealth PODCAST

One of the questions someone recently asked me was: What would you do today if you had to rebuild your life after a financial loss? And it got me thinking back to 2009 and my devastating bathroom floor moment. Now, if you’re new to Redefining Wealth, you might not know this story. So, let me quickly give you the gist.

First, thank you to Experian for sponsoring this episode. All thoughts and opinions are my own. To learn more about Experian Boost as mentioned in this episode, visit Experian.com/patrice.

Straight out of college, I built a 7-figure business. Then at the height of the recession, I went from making a million to scrounging for change in couch cushions, old purses – any and everywhere possible. Fortunately, though I was able to pick my life back up and rebuild everything. And if I had to do it again, I’d use the same tangible things we talk about on today’s podcast.

Give Yourself Grace

I know for many people who find themselves in financial despair, it can leave them ashamed, embarrassed and downright depressed. I know for me, when I lost everything, we’re talking foreclosure, repossession and creditors calling left and right, I felt guilty and ashamed and I beat myself up about the situation – wondering how could I have let this happen.

You see, it’s so easy to fall into that beat-up mindset, BUT I want you to remember (and tweet) this vital point:

Now, a big part of Redefining Wealth is the Faith Pillar, and one thing that it has taught me is this:

I want you to remember these two things and show yourself some grace. Yes, take personal responsibility and acknowledge what you could have done differently, but drop the shame and beat-up mindset because they’ll not serve you well at all.

Instead, get curious. Think about what you could do differently in the future. What changes would you make? What might you notice sooner?

Commit to a Plan

One of the first things I remember doing in 2009 when everything was falling apart was to refocus and reflect on my goals at that moment. Not what they were back when I was making 7-figures, but what they were in that moment of financial scarcity.

This approach is similar to the concept “So What, Now What” from my book Real Money Answers for Every Woman – meaning, “Okay, so this has happened, what are you going to do NOW?”

In creating and committing to a plan, it’s essential to get clear on the “now” piece. What can I do now? What are my goals now? What is the next best step I can take now? What is my “why” now? The other part of this approach is having a why – a reason for working through your situation.

The best advice I can give is to take it step-by-step and write everything down. What is your first goal? Is it to downsize and move into a smaller space? Is it to figure out your car situation? Is it to look at your budget? What is the new normal you’re willing to embrace? And what is the plan that goes along with that?

In other words, for you to take your next best step, what do you need to do? Who do you need to call? Where do you need to go? What do you need to sacrifice?

Add a Boost to Your Credit

If you’re like many people, when you’re in a financial struggle, you avoid opening your mail, you stop answering the phone, and you likely avoid checking your credit report.

Now, dodging your credit report is one of the worst things you can do. Why? Because credit is weaved into so much of your life  – many opportunities you’ll have (or won’t have) are directly linked to your credit.

Hill Harper, brand ambassador of the credit bureau, Experian, says this:

Experian Boost is something I wish was around 10 years ago. It works by giving your credit a boost when you pay your household bills such as utility bills, cell phone bill, cable bill and others on time, every time.  

Until now, things like the electric, gas, water, cell phone, cable bills haven’t affected your credit score. But now that they can, you’ll have the chance to boost your score instantly with every on-time payment.

While results will vary, if you’ve been through a lot and you want to have something that allows you to feel like you’re making progress, take advantage of Experian Boost by visiting Experian.com/patrice and get your quick win!

Seek Support Sooner Rather than Later

For me, the worst part of my financial trouble was the sense of loneliness. I felt I couldn’t tell anyone because of guilt and shame. I also felt people wouldn’t understand or respect me anymore.

I felt alone and waited until my back was up against the wall before getting any help. It wasn’t until I was crying on the bathroom floor that I reached for my Bible and landed on Proverbs [17:16], “What good is money in the hands of a fool if they have no desire to seek wisdom?

That was when it occurred to me: I’d been good at chasing money, but I had no idea how to ask for help.

Once I opened up to the possibilities that were out there and asked for help, I realized the variety of resources available – and that was 10 years ago.

Today, there are thousands of resources available at your fingertips. It’s literally that easy to find support, and I recommend doing it sooner rather than later because another minute spent trying to work through your struggles alone is another minute lost.

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