One rainy Saturday morning I found myself sitting in the back of a coffee shop, shaking water droplets out of my hair and settling my hands around my warm coffee mug to dry. I was in fact waiting for someone, my mentor for the day, and despite the dreary weather I was excited. This was to be my first interview. Now I should say it was a relative’s sister so the stakes weren’t too high, but it was to be my first nonetheless!
I pulled out my notebook and pen, readjusted it a couple times, and fixed my eyes on the door.
It seemed I had picked the perfect location on the perfect day. Because no matter how much trouble rain puts us in no one can deny the comfort of coffee in the ambiance of a coffee shop. On this sort of day we find ourselves less in a hurry…
And almost in sync with my thoughts she walked in.
Owner of 7 rental homes and 1 commercial property, I consider her a treasure of wisdom and success. There are a lot of measures of success, but for this part it is about how early you can retire and still live comfortably without working or worrying about running out of money.
To best understand a person’s success, we must first understand their beginning.
That is right where Dora took me, right to her childhood roots. As most people, we learn first from our parents and if you have siblings, even more so from them. Describing her siblings as prodigal, running out to spend their money, it’s no wonder where she learned her lessons of saving. Her dad seeing her determination took it further, showing her the value of loans, borrowing and paying her back with interest. Oh, the fine early lessons of an absorbing adolescent!
Our conversation jumped here and there, with tangents reaching all the way to her sister’s wedding, but she always returned to the three most important lessons in her life, accrediting saving, keeping a budget, and having a mentor as her financial rules to success.
Tip 1 – Save
Save and don’t give the excuse that you aren’t financially stable enough. She grew up in a time when the minimum wage was $1.99. Even then she saved, bringing her lunch to work everyday and finding cheap or free entertainment. Saving is not all about understanding your finances, but includes making sacrifices. Most of the time these sacrifices, if you do them often enough, will work its way as routine into your life.
Tip 2 – Make a Budget
For those of us that are not natural savers you will need to create a budget. You will have to see how much money you are making in one month and how much money you are spending in one month. Separate your spending into categories and use a month to experiment with how much your bare minimum could be. Yes you are saving, but the point isn’t to be miserable but to understand that you don’t need as much as you think.
Tip 3 – Find Yourself A Mentor
You might think that you don’t need a mentor but let me ask you, have you ever looked back to your school days and thought why did I do that? Hoped for a redo? We say that now because we’re older, more mature. We need guidance, even in adulthood; we just have to be brave enough to ask. Dora’s favorite financial mentor is Dave Ramsey. She of course has had multiple influencers throughout her life and humbles herself by realizing she wouldn’t be where she is today without them.
Part 2 of the interview coming soon…