Pay The Bills, Feed The Kids, Keep The Lights On.
Updated: Aug 1, 2019
Growing up here in Guelph, I didn’t get a lot of direction as to managing my finances, I learned how to get by on what we had, and to work really, really, really hard for someone else hoping to pay bills. I didn’t get to learn early on the empowerment of money management. My Mom is amazing and always did her best to provide for all of us, bar tending and serving sometimes 3 or 4 jobs at a time, it is what she knew to do. The message of caring for your credit and financial strategy was lost somewhere in the shuffle though. Pay the bills, keep the lights on & a roof over your kids heads was the message I received. I graduated high school on the honour roll with a science award for proficiency, I was very motivated to graduate and do it with flair because I knew I needed at least my diploma to get by. Not knowing what to do with all that, I got married and had my boys, became a bartender and carried the torch passed to me. Pay the bills, keep the lights on & a roof over kids heads…….check, check, check…….what was next? After several years, a separation, kids getting older, single mom time, new relationship, starting & maintaining a cleaning business, adding 2 more kids to the mix…..it was really past time to start thinking about home ownership, something I never really thought was for me. There was something in my head that told me “No Sandy, that is for other people, not for you” and I would write owning my own home off. Little did I know, it is for EVERYONE, wow!
Now an adult of 30 something, 5 kids in, I start down a road of financial reflection, better late than never. So we meet with a Mortgage Broker…..scariest sentence of my life….the results were unbelievably devastating. Here is what I learned;
1) Not tending to my credit over the 12 years of adulthood, had resulted in a credit score below 400, basically the bank won’t look at a mortgage if your credit is under 620….it felt impossible.
2) My debt to income ratio of “Hell no, no money for you” added some spice to the burn. A broker literally looked at me and said “in a mortgage situation you don’t count and are a liability”….but I kept the bills paid, the lights on & a roof over my kids heads…… further echoing the voice in my head saying owning a home was not for me. I have worked so hard my whole life, this was hard to hear and then go to work every day knowing it doesn’t matter. Defeating.
3) I knew this was not the person that was going to help me, there was no helping statements, just negative insensitivity.
4) I had a small business, and bad credit, on paper I was a liability. Here I thought this whole time, I was a pillar to my family, and really I was dragging them down. Hard pills to swallow.
So…..I met with Mortgage Brokers who would HELP….now I am fuelled. After licking my wounds and a little pep talk from supportive people, I decided I was going to push back. I went to my bank and talked with brokers there. Not about what they could give me now, but how to get down the path toward my goal of home ownership. I talked to Mortgage brokers all over Guelph, any one that would meet with me, about how to get my credit in a position to purchase. I needed out of this hole that I didn’t realize I buried myself in. I was amazed by what they told me. Did you know that you can save, pay debt and work on your credit score….at the same ….time!!?!?!? Mind was blown! I would meet with at least one broker every six months to run my credit, and build a new strategy every six months. I wound up only visiting the brokers who talked to me about progress and next steps, really filtering out the sales men. I had to force myself to talk to bankers. I forced myself to stop using the Automatic Bank Tellers, and use the Real Life People Tellers. I was sure the RLPT knew I had no money and were judging me…..turns out they weren’t. It happened that they were actually really helpful and encouraging. I got to know them, they liked seeing my little girlies come in, and my girlies liked going in to see them. I even got tips on how to save for a vacation……a vacation!! I could have one of those too! Wow! Doors were opening. I realized around then how important it was for my girls, and the boys, to see me physically handling my money, debt, and savings.
I am really summing up here about my experiences in this adventure of Financial Stability. There were a lot more hurtles, heart aches and more tips than I can count on how to bump your credit score faster than you think it can happen. Long, long, long story short, after 5 years of jumping all the hurtles, plowing through road blocks, climbing financial mountains while back packing our debt, with a lot of help and maybe a little pixie dust…..serendipity happened…..and we bought our first home. I can’t express to you the joy, relief, and completely humbling experience this has been for me. Owning my home IS for me. I can have that. Wow.
I want to share my experience and I want to help others with their own struggle. Bankruptcy, Bad Credit, No Credit, drowning in debt….whatever your hurtles are I want to hear about them, and I want to put the people that helped me directly in your path. Trillium West is very supportive and giving me a space to hold a social event where I bring a small group of ten together once every 2 months, and we jam about how to get them into a home of their own. We will have a Mortgage Broker, a credit counsellor, myself, and a group of supportive people that will encourage success. These will be non-sales events, they will be set up as a support group and information session. They will be free sessions, and we are going to encourage a sharing mentality. Everything will be confidential and no obligation. Contact me for more details, and watch the brokerages website for dates and sign up. No judgment, no sales, no pressure. I can’t wait to get started.