Not only is this month dedicated to Financial Literacy, it is also a month marked by the tragic events of 9/11, where we remember the lives that were lost, and reflect on the tremendous strides that have been made as a result of those events. One such success story is that of New York attorney, business woman, and published author, Dr. Teresa R. Martin, Esquire, who went from celebrating the world as her oyster one moment, to seeing it all go up in flames the next, as a result of the September 11, 2001 attacks on the World Trade Center.
After building a successful career as a New York labor attorney at a firm situated near the heart of the Twin Towers, Dr. Teresa could not have known that she was about to lose it all in one fell sweep. But, she did and after the dust settled, she found herself out of work, facing a pending foreclosure and a bankruptcy filing, all while watching her credit score of 819 plummet to 437! Yet, in the midst of the devastation, Dr. Teresa remembered something her grandmother would say, “Never put a period where God has put a comma.”
It was during that time when Dr. Teresa encountered a "Phoenix rising from the ash" experience, and decided to take charge of her financial destiny by shifting gears and honing her skills in the areas of real estate and bankruptcy; specializing in residential & commercial real estate transactions, foreclosure defense litigation and credit restoration services. As a result, she has been financially independent since the age of 35 through investing, and sees consistent investment returns in both up and down markets.
Now, as a way of giving back to the most financially disenfranchised segments of the population, Teresa founded Generational Wealth Zone, LLC (GenerationalWealthZone.com), which provides financial education solutions to individuals, schools, businesses, families, government and nonprofit organizations around the globe in an effort to improve financial literacy.
I caught up with Dr. Teresa and asked her to share some tips with our readers on setting personally fulfilling financial goals.
“One of the most important keys to living a fulfilling life is to know where you're going,” Dr. Teresa said. “Having goals that motivate, excite, and push you forward can help you get the most out of yourself and experience a life that's worth living. This is especially true for your finances.”
Here are just five of Dr. Teresa’s tips that you can begin to implement now!
1. Brainstorm without editing. Grab a pen and paper, and sit in a room where you won't be disturbed for about 20 to 30 minutes. As fast as you can, write down as many financial dreams and goals as you
can. Allow your thoughts to flow freely onto the paper without editing or judging them. The time for that will come later.
- As you brainstorm the possibilities, think about the financial difficulties that frustrate you and the financial dreams that you've been afraid to pursue. Think about what you'd do or dream if it were impossible for you to fail.
- As you brainstorm ideas, think about every area of your life. Would you like to be free? Own your own home? Become financially independent? Help out a loved one that has a big financial need? Supply money for college for your children? The possibilities are endless.
2. Prioritize your list. After about 30 minutes, you should have a page or two full of possibilities for your list of financial goals. Once you do, begin to think about which of these goals is most important to you. Which ones bring you peace inside? Which ones excite you the most? Those are the ones to put at the top of your list.
3. Write down all the challenges that stand in your way. After you've chosen about 3 to 5 financial goals that excite you, create a new page for each one. Write the goal at the top of the page. Then, list all the reasons you think you can't achieve this goal. Write down all the challenges that stand in your way.
- Your list of obstacles will provide you with concrete next steps that will quickly banish your fear of failure. Come back to this list later and ask yourself how you can overcome each of these challenges. Who can help you? What resources do you need? What information do you lack? What next steps need to be taken?
- Instead of denying that there are challenges on the road to any worthwhile goal, meet those challenges head on by thinking through them in advance. When you do, nothing will stop you from reaching the financial goals you set.
4. Create an emergency fund first. One of the simplest ways to dramatically increase your sense of excitement, peace, and joy in life is to be prepared for when things go wrong financially. An emergency fund of one month's income frees you from much of the financial stress you're currently feeling.
- Once you save enough money for your emergency fund, commit to only using this money in the case of real emergencies. This fund ensures the train to your financial dreams stays on track. You'll be surprised how much of your day is spent worrying about finances. This is banished with your emergency fund.
5. Focus on action steps. The end result of your exciting financial goals should drive you to keep putting one foot forward. But it can also hinder you from progress by making you feel overwhelmed. Instead, focus on one step at a time until you reach the financial destiny you were born to live.
For more information about Dr. Teresa R Martin, Esquire, visit her website at, www.EnjoyYourLegacy.com.