We should be grateful for every single day, but let’s be honest, we’re not always as appreciative as we should be. Some days are harder than others. Sometimes hard days; which we will refer to as “Learning Days”, turn in to weeks and weeks in to months. This is exactly what had happened to me back in January of 2018. The first three and last months of the year were extremely challenging for me; not only mentally and physically but also financially. It had been at least two months since my Saddle Brook, NJ home had been burglarized by someone that I knew. My whole world was falling apart; at least that’s how I felt at the moment. I allowed many unexpected and uncontrollable situations with my properties to get the best of me. I also can’t deny the severe trauma that the burglary caused me; the emotions, the drama, the back and forth on social media, the social embarrassment, the endless feeling of feeling sorry for myself and violated did not help with my sleep. I felt defeated. I never felt hate towards myself the way that I did then. All of these facts are important for you all to know in order for you to understand the consecutive mistakes I made over the past following months.

Some of you may know, or may not know, my original plan when I purchased my 1st single family home in Saddle Brook, NJ back in October of 2017. For those that don’t, my initial plan was completely different then what I actually ended up doing with the property. Always remember, “Life’s a journey and we are all travelers”. When I started looking into buying my Saddle Brook home, I knew then, that all the cash that I had in my bank account would be roughly enough to cover the downpayment and closing costs of the purchase. I thought I knew the huge risk I was taking back then. I remember calculating all of the things that could go wrong and I even heard a voice inside my head saying, “It’s impossible for all these things to go wrong, and especially all at once”.  I was taking a huge risk in utilizing all of my disposable income (knowing all the liabilities I carried on my shoulders). I owned a total of 15 apartment units for rent to be exact. I understood that this could be a huge mistake. However, I knew that if I played all my cards right, this could also be the escape that I had been working towards for years now. I considered myself to be very financially savvy, therefore, I knew the only thing that I could afford at the time was to make the actual purchase of the property and get myself out of Paterson, NJ. At that time, thats all I ever wanted. Deep inside I had come to terms with everything that I was putting at stake. I was putting everything that I have ever worked for at risk; all of my properties. I also remember a voice inside me saying;  “But, wasn’t this.., everything you had ever sacrificed for? worked for? For this one moment?” 

My original plan was to sit on the property and live in it in the same condition that I had purchased it in before I actually started the remodeling process. I gave myself a year after the closing to save. My plan was simple, to find/buy a foreclosure in a living/ok condition where I could use the majority of the loan value on the location of the property rather than its structure.  My dream was to move out of Paterson, NJ. I thought process was that, I could always fix the house to my needs while knowing that I could never fix the location.

 At the age of 29, after years of sacrificing, saving, hustling and even refinancing, I was able to own 2 multi-family homes and 2 three legal unit buildings. Now I was finally shopping for my 1st one family home. With  every investment, with every new rental income stream, I was able to see the light creeping closer. I wanted a better lifestyle for me and for my future kids (I know it sounds crazy because I didn’t even have a boyfriend at the time) I know I’m a planner! I was willing to put off the looks of the property because in the the back of my head, knew I could always change that later on if I wanted. 

I definitely wasn’t prepared for what the future had in store for me. I was underestimating situations and was barely making it financially. Everything that I had worked for had the potential to fall apart. There is a saying that goes “When it rains, It Pours” and that was exactly what I was dealing with during this time in my life; it was raining and pouring every single day. Too many things were slipping out of my control and all at once; one after the other, dragging me into a hole deep in enough where I feared that I wouldn’t be able to get out.

I am mature enough to admit it; I overextended myself financially, mentally and physically. The sad part of it all is that a lot of us do this. To some, its all that they know. It was raining, but to me, it felt like it was monsooning. I didn’t give myself enough leverage. I didn’t prepare myself for a cloudy, let alone rainy day. I have managed to learn how to dance in the rain after years of carrying an umbrella around. After a while, you need to drop the umbrella and get yourself a raincoat. Don’t just look up; Keep moving forward. We all know that I haven’t had an easy life, nothing has been handed to me. Therefore, I should be a professional rain dancer by now (lol). I’m human and the feeling of bad days can never be something that I can get used to. I also had those days where I hated my life and what I chose to do for a living. I believe every entrepreneur has too many of those days. Everything that could go wrong was going wrong. Every past bad decision was finally catching up to me. I could only blame myself for putting myself in such a risky and vulnerable position. I should have known better. I believe we are too comfortable with carrying debt. Since an early age, we are taught that carrying debt is ok; be it through credit cards, student loans or even borrowing money from family members. Before we earn a decent living wage, obtain a decent job, learn what responsibilities are, and especially before we know what being an adult entails; we are OK with being in debt. The sad and honest truth is that we all don’t want to hear this as we get older. It seems like yesterday that we were teenagers; unaware of the world around us. When we were in college, we were somewhat still oblivious. Here we are as adults now. We unconsciously continue these bad habits well into our adulthood. We become part of the system. The majority of us are ok with that. I once was.  We get lost in this fantasy world(social media), and in the expectations of a society that only cares consumption. We simply don’t know where to draw the red line. Where and when does it stop?

There is another saying that goes something like, “It can’t rain forever”. I’m again starting to finally see the light at the end of the tunnel. I can see everything falling into place and the reason why I had to power through those rainy days in the first place. I have taken control over my life and my finances. I believe that I have come to terms with those things that I can’t change and I have learned my lesson. I also had a major intervention. I had finance classes at home by Zack and his dad (lol). I believe the only reason I was able to get out of the financial hole I was in was by cutting myself off. Yes! I cut off the endless and extravagant shopping (for the most part) and limited our travel plans for the year. It was extremely hard at first. I caught myself deviating from my goal and buying things that  didn’t need; they were just they were just on sale! It’s normal; we are addicts. I want to believe that I always knew what debt is but I didn’t think about the effects that it can have on you as a person; the impact it can have in your life in the long run and the bad habits you develop over time.

It’s hard to make such a drastic change after a lifetime of being comfortable accumulating debt thinking that it was wealth. For months I felt upset about the things I could no longer do. In all reality, should I have been doing them in the first place? Today, I’m happy to admit that I’m debt free! Meaning I don’t have any bad debt, I only have good debt which are all of my mortgages.  

I believe everything happens for a reason and there was a silver lining to last years ups and downs. Through all of this, I had to to change my attitude towards life and what happens to me in order to thrive. I am no longer allowing myself to feel sorry for myself.

IM TAKING ACTION. 

Change your perspective on those bad days; Instead, have yourself some learning days.

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