I started out in banking at the ripe age of 17, then spent the next 30+ years teaching and touting the importance of getting, improving, and maintaining a GREAT credit score. I built my credit with department store credit cards as soon as I started working. I purchased a new vehicle in my own name and with my own credit (no co-signer) at the age of 18 and my first home at the age of 21. I counseled people that I served at the bank on gaining good credit and managing it properly. As my experience grew, so did my confidence and so did my credit score. At one point, I had over $100,000.00 available to me in revolving credit in addition to a mortgage, 2 vehicle loans, 2 kids, 2 hamsters, and a boat.
Like many working Americans, I lived paycheck-to-paycheck for most of my life, and every year I would write out a budget and realize that there were only 16 cents available for savings at the end of the month. So were these creditors crazy for extending me so much credit, or was I crazy for accepting it all?
When I went through my divorce, I was able to maintain my credit and begin rebuilding my life. And then it hit…the world of “no document” loans and the ability to buy real estate on negative amortized payment protected adjustable loans. WOW! What a glorious world! I took my proceeds from the divorce and bought my first rental house. It was a great place but quickly became more of a charity home than a cash-flow cow. I then purchased a new primary residence for nearly $500,000.00. I was a single Mom with a good job living like a two-income household because the skies opened up and allowed me to do so. Life was glorious and I felt proud to be able to live in this rich fashion for my kids. My desire to maintain their lifestyle had me living in a massive state of denial.
THE WARNINGS! Yes, there were warning signs, and I stuffed those warnings in my denial box and tucked it away under that new bed mattress that I was so proud of. I was a banker and working with many Real Estate professionals, and yet my emotional state to HAVE everything and live an affluent lifestyle caused me to ignore everyone. My goal was no longer economical but emotional, and as the great parent that I desired to be, I refused to shake up my youngest son’s world until he graduated high school. Unfortunately, that was not until 2008!
Yep, you know what happened next. I lost both of my homes through short-sale and a foreclosure filed the hideous bankruptcy and emptied out everything I had saved during my working career in order to keep a roof over my head.
Lessons learned. Today, I am happily married and living in a sweet home in the country. My 2015 Ram 2500 truck is paid in full as is my husband’s SUV, and our 5th Wheel. We have saved up nearly half of our retirement funds again. Most importantly, our credit scores are back in the 700s! I only share my current financial snapshot in order to emphasize the message that no matter where you are right now, you can shift from this moment and move in the direction of your desires.
Now I help people with their credit as a source of income. Yup! I absolutely earn an income from helping people; have done so all my life. However, now it is personal. I have been through the trenches, I have had my credit drop to the lowest levels, I have personally experienced denial of credit, I was a V.P. in banking but due to my credit was unable to write loans or hold a management position. I have paid those excruciating high interest rates for loans and even had to pay higher premiums for insurance. So I know the pain! WHY do I choose to work helping people improve their credit, get their financials in order, prepare their Wills, Trusts and protect their identity? Because S#!^ happens…even to the best of us!
As a Master Coach, I specialize in releasing the emotional connections that hold us in denial and with you, set a plan of action in place with support so that at your own pace you can get your financial future prepped and ready for yourself and your loved ones—so you can experience the same peace of mind that I do each and every day as I move forward knowing that all of this happened so that I can be there for others in a much bigger and bolder way. Yay!
Follow me as the journey continues…
Written by Kim Burger ~ Credit Gal, Master Coach and Field Trainer for Financial Education Services.