My financial struggle began when I was fourteen years old and received news that would change my life forever. 6 days before Christmas, my mother died to hospital negligence, leaving my father a single parent of four daughters. We were awarded a very large amount of settlement money; it was all gone in less than 24 months. We were back to square one-living below poverty and on public assistance.
I wanted a fresh start and enrolled into Florida A&M University the Fall of 2002. At the end of my freshmen year, I became a single mother and eventually homeless, sleeping on couches of my collegiate friends. In the midst of struggling to raise my daughter, I was also tasked with raising my younger sister too, due to my father’s admittance into hospice.I took out student loans for funeral expenses just in case he passed away.He died the next year.
I was a college student deep in sorrow, debt and struggling to provide a decent life for me, my daughter, and my younger sister. In May 2005, I received a job offer with Hancock Bank as a Teller. It was at that moment that I was just starting to pick up on banking terminology that I had a groundbreaking conversation with my then boss, Joel. I told him about my desire to buy a house and he was like, “Well, what’s stopping you?”. In that moment I realized that the only limits in life are the ones we place on ourselves. I decided to stop limiting myself to debt and an impoverished mindset, and to open up myself to learning about how to manage my personal finances to create a life I actually wanted to live.
I graduated Cum Laude in the Spring of 2007 with a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Management and purchased my first home as a graduation gift. After working 3 jobs in college, for the first time in my life, I was no longer a recipient of public assistance. I advanced my career in financial services as an Assistant Vice President and later managed relationships with Investment Advisors with assets over 1.8 Billion working at Charles Schwab.
I was not brought up in a religious household where we consistently went to or belonged to a church. During my difficult time, I did not know God, but I am glad God knew me.It wasn’t until the turning point of my circumstances that I realized a higher spiritual figure had to be involved and I started to attend church. In 2006, I was baptized and purchased my first devotional bible to become more acquainted with GOD. The first verse I encountered was Jeremiah 29:11 as it described my life and made it beautiful.
Life is Beautiful because of the free will we have as human beings. We are living in a place and time where your given circumstances do not outweigh your potential or possibility. What makes life beautiful, is even if you think life isn’t beautiful, you can change it.
My advice to others is to have some serious conversations with yourself, understand your weakness, but embrace your strength. Nothing in life will be accomplished without a written consistent plan. After you’ve created that plan, share it with trusted advisors that can hold you accountable.
Lashea – Thank you for sharing your story and being so transparent. Your story of overcoming and commitment is so inspiring.
In the signature of her email it says “"If you want the rainbow, you've got to put up with the rain." She has put up with much rain and adversity, but is now enjoying the rainbow. Shea has an amazing organization called 8 Cents in a Jar. This organization is in place to establish awareness surrounding finance. Please support by visiting the website and also head over and like the Facebook page.
For His Glory Only,