How I have been using Baby Steps…

If I told a stranger, I lost practically everything I had to a messy divorce that lasted from June 2004 to December 2007, they wouldn’t believe me.

Yet it’s true.

If I added to that the fact that I cover for well over the divorce settlement’s 65% of all my children’s expenses, including 100% of all medical and activity expenses, without spousal support because I work… they would start wondering if I have a money tree in my backyard.

Ask my ex-husband and he probably thinks I print money!

The reality is I am not rich but I have become wealthy in my own way. I used the very Baby Steps I rave and rant about to make my way from drowning under debt to where I am today… happy, healthy and wealthy in TheNewHappyMe. 

In June 2004, my husband left me with a hefty mortgage to pay on my own because he left me with the house while we waited for it to sell. He nevertheless took half the furniture. To top that, I had crazy debt on my line of credit and credit cards, accumulated from family expenses. I had a decent job that I couldn’t advance in because of my home problems and I was responsible for two children, 6 and 2. Needless to say, I couldn’t pay any of the debt down, but I managed for a little while. The banks were starting to call me. I had to sell the house to get some relief.

After the house had been on the market for over 9 months, I decided to take matters into my own hands. I was feeling a little better without the fights and turmoil at home, and even though I was running around and tired, I made it clear to myself that it would be uphill from there on. Without realizing that my action would become an actual technique, I started using Baby Steps.

I changed the real estate agent my husband had chosen, I explained the situation to the new one and worked on a plan with her. Within 3 months we had a buyer.

I needed to figure out where I wanted to live. I looked around a lot but couldn’t find the right house to buy at the right price. I had a bit of money for a down payment at this point but the houses and condos were not what I needed. I modified my plan. I decided that given my circumstances, it would be best to settle for a transitional place, an apartment to get back on my feet and find myself before looking for what would be a whole new start for me.

At this time, I was already comfortable using Vision Boards to manifest my plans. My newfound clarity and my decision helped me get to destination.  I found the perfect appartment by the river even though the classified ad that led me to it was all wrong! From phone call, to visit, to signing the lease and finally the move, my baby steps helped me reach this second milestone.

I knew I wouldn’t be staying there long… Within less than a year, I started looking for a house to buy. I found a townhouse being sold by the owner’s succession. The price was very low and it needed a lot of renovations. This was my chance to get something cheap and clean it up to my taste! The house was small and less luxurious than my apartment, but it would be mine!  March 2007. Third milestone down! NEXT!!

Although I still didn’t have a full life plan, I decided that on my path to wealth, I would move on to bigger and better things. Being on my own, more comfortable in my home with the kids, now with two dogs too, the divorce done and over with, even with another 21,000$ in lawyer fees down the drain, I was ready to move forward.  With more self-confidence to back me up, I found success at work with two big promotions in 3 years. I couldn’t stop there…

I wanted a bigger house. The townhouse was crammed between two others, I felt closed in without enough daylight to brighten my rooms… I had vowed going in that this house too would be transitional. But this time I made a plan. I would refinance the house to have enough money for a down payment on another house, rent this one and buy another bigger one. The new house would have to accommodate for an extra room for the dogs and a home office because my longer term goal was to work from home. That was my way of wanting to experience wealth and happiness in my home, life and lifestyle.

I looked and I looked and finally I found THE house, just five blocks from the townhouse.  I was following Baby Steps one by one and I had only just refinanced my first house when my agent called to let me know there was an offer on the house I had an eye on; we would have to move fast! Without a moment to lose, I dashed to her office and within 10 days it was all done!  Still following my Baby Steps in the meantime, I was able to rent the townhouse for the week after my move. I had shoved the other offer out and made it to my forth milestone.

That was exactly a year ago.  I have written down more plans and milestones, I have made some mistakes and had plenty of little successes to be proud of.  Looking back at the last 6 years, I cannot believe the distance I have covered towards my goals for wealth but I did it. I didn’t even tell you about my other challenges with health and my kids… But we all pulled through and we did very well! I used Baby Steps without even realizing it until I started writing…

I don’t have superhuman powers… I am not a genius, an expert in finances nor a very lucky person in general. I am just a woman who has decided to take control of her life and to move forward one Baby Step at a time… you can do it too!

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One Response to “How I have been using Baby Steps…”

  1. Peter Wright says:

    Wow Carmen, what an achievement and what a wonderful example to all of us that huge hurdles and setbacks can be overcome by small steps.

    Thank you for sharing.

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