Read this if money triggers anxiety or depression - you are not alone

budgeting debt free early retirement financial planning how to pay off debt net worth paying off debt reducing debt woman crush wednesday women empowerment Jun 15, 2022

Allow me to introduce myself. My name is Angela. I live in a small town in Southeast Kentucky. I’m a hippie, tree hugger at heart. I have been practicing Buddhism for 24 years and have been married to the same man for 27. I have a wonderful 15-year-old daughter along with three dogs that I kiss on the mouth and make no apologies for it. I love those furry fuckers. Oh, yeah. I cuss. A lot.

I discovered the Joy that is Bernadette (see what I did there?) near the beginning of the year and have since been participating in her monthly CRUSH classes and I’m also a graduate of her FLOW and Confident CEO programs. Honestly, I can’t get enough of this woman. Here’s my story in a nutshell…

I heard a Podcast featuring Bernadette. I’m always skeptical about folks telling me what I need to be doing with my money but I listened because the podcast was with Sherri Lynch and she is one of my queens and knew there was something to this chick if Sherri was talking to her.  About half way through I was thinking, “this makes sense” and to be perfectly honest, Bernadette was just really likeable.

I fucked around for a few weeks before actually going to her website and signing up for a consultation. I was in a bit of a mood that day and distinctly remember writing on her questionnaire, “I’m not giving up yarn or vacation!” If that seems like a weird combo, I should explain. I’m a knitter (although not a very good one) and traveling is my favorite thing in the world. I want to see all the stuff!

“Within minutes of our first Zoom call, I felt heard and not judged for my refusal to stop spending money on the things that I loved.”

Within minutes of our first Zoom call, I felt heard and not judged for my refusal to stop spending money on the things that I loved. It was actually the first thing Bernadette brought up. She promised me she would never take away my yarn or travel. So, then the question became, “How are we going to pay this shit off?”

While my husband and I can be frivolous, we are not terrible with money. The only debt we have is a truck payment and our mortgage. The thing that just kept playing over and over in my head was “Damn. She paid off her house in her thirties!” It made me start dreaming of doing the same and wondering if early retirement could actually be a possibility.  I’m 49 and my husband is 51. Could we quit this shit show before we turn 60? 

"Now another not-so-fun-fact about me: I suffer from depression and anxiety, both of which are pretty crippling at times. Money is a topic that can really trigger these things—I think that is pretty common for most folks who deal with mental health issues."

It was really hard to wrap my brain around the tools Bernadette was giving me to realize my dreams. The real “ah-ha moment” came when she told me, “Angela, we can’t change forty-plus years of habits and ways of thinking overnight.” Ahhh…baby steps!

We have been focusing on paying off the truck. The payment is roughly $600/mo. We set a goal to get it paid off in a year. Friends, that is aggressive AF. I’ve always paid a couple of hundred extra on it, but to reach this goal we are going to have to double or even triple the actual payment!

Last month when I sat down to pay the bills, I’m not kidding you, I changed the amount I was going to pay on that damn truck at least six times. My heart was racing. I finally typed $2000 in the little box and hit send. Then I immediately messaged Bernadette. I would have never thought a payment of that size was possible before she walked me through how we were going to get that shit done.

"What was the secret, you ask? Budgeting, Bitch! This bitch needed a budget."

I needed to know what was coming in and how I was going to send it back out into the universe. The other thing that made that payment possible was getting all my financial info in one place. I now have an app on my phone that tracks my net worth.  I can see that shit any time I want and know I’m on the right track. Side note: My husband thinks this is the most amazing bit of voodoo he has ever witnessed. Some nights in bed he will just roll over and say, “Hey baby, let’s look at the net worth thing.” Sexy. 

So, that is net worth, but here is the much bigger picture I have learned from Bernadette, “Net worth is not self-worth.” These programs I have done with Bernadette have been transformative—not just financially, but personally. I think it is safe to say, I’m not alone on that journey. The wonderfully diverse group of women I have had the privilege working with have inspired me, made me cry and made me laugh. I have looked forward to seeing their faces every week. 

"I’m not alone on this financial journey. The wonderfully diverse group of women that I have had the privilege of working with have inspired me, made me cry and made me laugh. We have all grown in different, but very important ways."

Bernadette classifies herself as a financial educator, but she has mad skills and that title does not do her justice. My writing this right now is the perfect example. I have my own PR business, but mentioned I would like to write more and do different things—a blog perhaps. BAM! Bernadette says, “Let’s do a Woman CRUSH Wednesday '' and you can write it. So here I am shining the spotlight on some totally bad ass women who are doing some truly amazing things. It is an honor.

I have traveled the world and seen some amazing things. I have also held a variety of jobs and the one thing that I have learned is that I am a crazy magnet. Crazy shit just happens to and around me. Oh, the stories I could tell. And maybe one day I will, but for now I will leave you with a quote from my favorite queen who has inspired me since I was a child. “If my life wasn't funny, it would just be true and that is unacceptable.” –Carrie Fisher.

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