May 30, 2017

We Did It!! (5 Simple Steps we took to make it happen)

Apr12

We did it!

We did it!! Simple steps to financial confidence

I still can’t believe it’s ours.

For the last few weeks, we’ve been taking a Sunday evening family walk through the woods, strolling along leisurely trails, jumping rocks across beautiful creeks and listening to the rustling of the water as it bubbles. When there, I’m completely transported to a piece of paradise that feels as if one drove for hours to get there and as of last month, it’s ours.

Yellow lab drinking in creek

family walk

purchasing new land

I sent this to our college kids telling them, “Its ours.”

Many of you have followed our financial journey over the last ten years. Within a few years of starting this blog, our financial world flipped upside down, yet while difficult and stretching, we were prepared because it had happened once before when we weren’t.

We learned. We grew and we set up a long term strategy that would hopefully keep us from that position ever again.

I’ve spent years  gathering pictures, creating a vision board, pinning pictures and just privately dreaming about what the addition of a “Barn, Event Center, Gathering place, Retreat center, crafting/cooking class location” would look like on our land.

Farm house events

(Inspiration for mine from The Farm House Events)

Last month, we signed on the dotted line and bought 37 additional acres of land. After we recovered from our financial disaster, I’ve spent years planning, saving and skimping, and now I’m one step closer to building my dream hospitality barn. (Read about it here. I really need to name it. Any suggestions?)  I can’t even tell you how excited I am.

Beautiful landscape

To accomplish great things we must not only act, but also dream; not only plan, but also believe.

For those that follow my Facebook page, you’ll now this dream had to take a pivot because we only budget buying ten more acres. The remainder of the savings was designated to start building, but the owner wouldn’t split up the land. So now, we walk it and I dream and continue to be over the moon grateful that we have a piece of paradise to share with others.

cleared trail

Now that we have it, we’re keeping it all in hopes that someday our kids might want some. (P.S. Come camp on it. All are welcome. This week we cleared a trail to connect to the streams and large field.)

Since our finances, the economy, the stock market and honestly, our life always fluctuates, financial confidence has a lot to do with believing in yourself, paired with the hard choices necessary to determine your financial future. Our kids tease me that I live like we’re still unemployed, but I have long term goals.

Unfortunately for most America, living with constant financially stress is normal.

  • Over 70% of Americans are financially stressed;
  • 80% of people admit that their personal finances keep them awake at night;
  • 21% of couples who rate their financial stress as at least “somewhat high” are arguing more.

But with a few simple steps, we can move past that stress. I’ve partnered with my bank of twenty years, Suntrust’s onUp Movement, which teaches financial confidence to move forward—one smart step at a time. Our insights show that financial confidence relates to our self-confidence. When we feel good about our money, then we feel good in many other aspects our lives.

If your finances are worrying you and stress is mounting, you can and should do something about it. In taking steps towards financial confidence, it will give you back control. While it may take patience and persistence, setting the goal and going for it, makes all the difference.

How Much Do You Want it?

It’s seems like a simple question, but when we get to the heart of it, it will be one of your most difficult decisions. We can talk about changing our financial habits until we’re blue in the face, but unless we are committed that change must occur and we’re willing to sacrifice to make the change, nothing is going to happen. It comes to the point where a choice to live below your means for a time being until budgets are back on track and you refuse to go into any more consumer debt from this point forward. Phew, it’s rough, but when you really want it, great things will happen.  Dave Ramsey reminds us that “Winning with money is 80% behavior, 20% knowledge” and I know this to be true.

Get Organized with your Financial Necessities

I’ve always struggled with disorganization, so if I recommend getting organized, even in small ways, take note. I admit, I’m fortunate that my husband is an accountant, but even when I was single, the one thing I was on top of was my finances. I knew and had listed my income, expenses, assets and liabilitiets. We have an old fashioned file cabinet with folders for all our important information –  insurance policies, bank accounts, credit cards, mortgage payments, insurance policies, etc. While many have gone all digital, there’s still something to be said for having hard copies in front of you spread out, so you can completely understand where all you money is going. This is an important step that will help you stay organized and set future financial goals.

Set goals with a baby step plan to achieve them.
Make a list of your goals, such as setting up an emergency fund, paying down debt, saving for your children’s college education, or saving for retirement. Then, set a plan to start reaching those goals. For example, set a budget, a payment plan to pay down debt, or a savings plan to save for your child’s education. With our son having just graduated from college last year, he is enrolled in the company’s 401(k) plan and matching as much as possible. Are you taking advantage of that? Any little goal to help with forward momentum makes a difference.

Plan for the unexpected.

Statistically speaking, most people are living paycheck to paycheck, meaning if you lost your job today, you’d be financially secure for only two weeks. Since I understand how stressful it is to go through a season of unemployment (for us it was one entire year), plan not for the unexpected. Don’t make the mistake of waiting until you have no other options. Setting up an emergency fund should be the first goal. The financial confidence that creates gives you the desire to keep it at. (But remember, do NOT touch it unless it’s a true emergency.) After our first unemployment, I knew how devastating it could be and before I would buy anything else, I poured our extra dollars into a long term emergency fund.

Keep On, Keeping On

You may get discouraged and feel like the end will never be around the corner, but you can do it!! Just keep taking those baby steps. I’m cheering you on.

These are simply a few steps we took to regain our Financial Confidence and I hope that it encourages you to keep on keeping on. You can do it too!!

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At SunTrust Bank their purpose is lighting the way to financial well-being. When you feel confident about your money, you can save for your goals and spend knowingly on what matters most to you.

The onUp Movement is 1 million strong…and growing. onUp is about having the confidence to move forward one smart step at a time.

Join now and start building your financial confidence today.

Join the movement

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of SunTrust. The opinions and text are all mine.