How Did I Get Into This Business?

4.01.2011. by Audra McMahon

Everyone has this special need to do something greater in their lives. . . I've always found that helping others really fills my cup of life. It makes me happy and makes me feel good. When I graduated from college and didn't have a job, but still needed to order checks for my rapidly depleting bank account, I asked if they were hiring.

Long story short, I got that job at the bank and was reminded just how good I am with people and money. My mother was a constant reminder to treat others the way you want to be treated, so that's how I live my life. She was also raised by an exceptionally frugal mother who taught me the value of a dollar. In fact the first time I bounced a check at age 15 (it was really 6 checks in a row) she wouldn't allow me to even ask for the fees to be refunded. She said that's what happens when you enter a deposit twice and spend money you don't have. Let me tell you now, not once has a check bounced since then. In fact, at that time, when working hard for the little money earned, it was a huge ordeal to have so much money taken away by the bank in fees. My mom was right to not even allow me to ask for the bank to refund any portion of those fees because I have never forgotten the pain of having to spend money that I didn't have. Feeling like money was taken away by the big bad bank must be like being robbed!!! It was horrible.

From that point forward it was nothing but money smart. Every penny spent was logged in the check register: 18 years old and already a budget aficionado. If it was a desire, it was earned through work, not allowance. A trip to Europe with friends the summer before senior year of high school; a weekend vacation or spring break or simply the vehicle insurance and gas to get from point A to point B. Ah the days when you only worked to play!

Going to college, I was given an allowance for housing. Any extras had to be afforded by other means. Practical budgeting skills were put to the test during a long three years at the University of Kansas. There weren't many 21 year olds living alone, and sustaining a great GPA, working a part time job, actively participating in a sorority, and maintaining a social life with an impeccable credit history and growing savings account. During this time self reliance was paramount. No one can create a dream or goal for you. You have to want it within yourself. Life should be led ready for each new adventure, and unfortunate as it may seem, money is the catalyst to many of those adventures. As college graduate, and no clue as to the next step, but still ready for each experience life threw my way, the immediate concern is where will the money come from to supplement the next adventure or experience?

Back to the bank: My first job out of college working for a bank and dealing with money every day. Every day people coming would ask for some kind of financial assistance full of the panic and stress that naturally occur when you don't have enough. Maybe they were applying for student loans for college, purchasing a car, a home, attempting to improve their current home, and that's when it happened. All of the lessons taught by my mother kick into high gear! I understand money, how to earn it, spend it, save it and borrower it wisely without pride getting in the way. Doing what needs to be done to live a desired lifestyle. This is my opportunity to help!

The transition to mortgage lending was seamless. After developing a complete understanding of consumer lending, the epiphany strikes and with confidence I'm convinced my role is to help people capitalize on the American dream of home ownership! Upon meeting the head of my third bank's mortgage division it's only moments until it's discovered that "I'm a natural and should go into the mortgage business!" Epiphany confirmed! From that point on 3 years were spent on learning the background details of a mortgage and how the business works. It's not exciting, rather tedious and boring, and you never get to meet new people outside of the office. Finally, the transition to mortgage "sales" takes place, but this isn't sales. You just called me for a mortgage, and that is a product that I can offer you, but that's not why you have reached out for relief of your money pain. There's something deeper. There is usually emotion behind the need to save money. People come to me for one step in their financial improvement, but leave enhanced in a multitude of financial aspects because there is so much more that goes into financial independence!

As life goes on, life changing events occur that impact your living situation: Marriage, divorce, birth, death. In these changes lies opportunity. A series of personal changes allow me to fuse together a passion in career and the life experience of divorce. 2010 was a personal financial renaissance; starting the year with nothing but a good head on my shoulders and a few dollars in the bank. The wheels start turning: How do I protect myself from the harshness of the world? How do I take care of myself financial and at the same time, heal fro the emotional scar of divorce without the two overlapping? Where do I go? What do I do? Can I do this on my own? YES! Along the way, through a lengthy process of trial and error, I worked hard and re-established myself. That is the gift that I want to share with others: The ability to capitalize on financial success through divorce. No one person can be a master of everything. So stand on the shoulders of giants and learn from another person's mistakes and successes.

Money is a means to an experience that is truly a deficiency need. When money is present, it's ignored, but when you need more, it's all you can think about. Money does many things like pay the bills for food, water, shelter, and hopefully along the way some sort of entertainment. Now because of a divorce, there are new worries and often they are surrounding money. What happens when the savings account runs out and there are bills to be paid? Or even worse than that, an accident or emergency? When the dissatisfaction of the financial lifestyle change kicks in? When you realize that although you wanted desperately to hold onto the home that you raised your children in, you really cannot afford to live in and maintain it? Wouldn't it be nice to have someone on your side to help you think about this clearly before, during, or even after your divorce? At the time when you're considering your options surrounding your house and your money? Doesn't it feel good to know that there is someone who is looking out for you in this time of uncertain change to help you think clearly about your future?

These were my questions, and luckily I know the answers. Unfortunately, many women out there do not. This is why I do my job; to help other women, just like me, have one less stress during divorce. It makes breathing a little bit easier.

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