Simone's Blog: Money Magnet

As the Director of Affiliate Relations at HomeFree-USA, I’ve always been fascinated with how people handle their money. Like everyone else, I’ve had my financial ups and downs. In fact, it took me 32 months to pay off $32,000 in credit card bills and build up a six-month emergency fund. While that was a very difficult period, I am grateful – and wiser -- for the experience.

Through my personal experiences and working at HomeFree-USA, I’ve gained a ton of insight that I feel compelled to share. You’ll find those lessons here. Feel free to take the thoughts and ideas that resonate with you most and put aside the rest for later. I look forward to sharing my journey.

Is Fear Holding You Back?

I recently had a major Aha! moment: I’ve been working on a project for a while and kept wondering why it’s taking sooooooo long to finish. I also noticed that when opportunities came my way that could move things along (not to completion, but progress) I would often stall or just forgo them completely, hurting myself. Why, why, why would I do this???

It finally hit me that I was afraid that the project would flop and all those I’d been talking about it to - including myself - would see me as a failure. I was getting in my own way, which is incredibly easy to do and very difficult to stop, even when you clearly identify the pattern and recognize the results (the failure you’d been so worried about in the first place is guaranteed).

Here’s how I’m learning to get beyond my fear and do it anyway:

1) Recognize the fear for what it is - no excuses. Think of something that scares and intrigues you at the same time. Hint: it usually comes with a but in mid-statement. Ex: I’d love to visit Africa but could never sit on a plane that long. Or Writing a book seems so fascinating, but I don’t know anything about the publishing world.

That "but" is often the excuse your brain automatically interjects so you’ll feel justified in never actualizing your dream. Call out that fear.

2) Plan your progress. Write out every small step to get your goal accomplished, then only focus on that step as you’re taking it. Your fear will want to focus on everything that could go wrong in the future, but stay present and just create a plan. That’s it.

3) Take one step towards your goal. Make sure your plan is broken down into manageable chunks, and only focus on taking this one step.

If, for example, your goal is to pay off debt, and you recognize the fear is that you owe so much you’ll never pay it off, focus on cutting expenses and increasing income for just this month. Don’t worry about the other months right now, or the total balance, just this month.

4) Take one more step. The fear may never go away, and that’s perfectly fine. We’re learning how to do and be in spite of our fear, and how not to succumb. Don’t worry about how many more steps you have to take, just take this one. Whew!

5) Celebrate each step. This is incredibly important! It took a lot to get here, and it’s important to recognize that, while those steps may seem small to someone else, they were HUGE. Do something for yourself that you’ll enjoy and won’t get in the way of your ultimate goal (if you’re getting out of debt, please don’t buy something with your credit card! Instead, do something fun that won’t cost much and you can pay cash for).

I’m (very) slowly but (very) surely working my way through my fears around my project. I’m learning that regardless of how long it seems to be taking, this process is exposing me to parts of self I didn’t even realize existed. That makes the time, and commitment, well worth it.

Has fear halted you in your homeownership journey? Reach out to your Homeownership Advisor today, or join us at an upcoming class. Remember, one small step is all you need to take right now.

And so it is.