Homeownership Guidance, Advice and Blogs

As the Director of Affiliate Relations at HomeFree-USA, I’ve always been fascinated with how people handle their money. Like everyone else, I’ve had my financial ups and downs. In fact, it took me 32 months to pay off $32,000 in credit card bills and build up a six-month emergency fund. While that was a very difficult period, I am grateful – and wiser -- for the experience.

Through my personal experiences and working at HomeFree-USA, I’ve gained a ton of insight that I feel compelled to share. You’ll find those lessons here. Feel free to take the thoughts and ideas that resonate with you most and put aside the rest for later. I look forward to sharing my journey.

If you have a brain, you have a bias

Your unconscious bias about money

It's cool. We all have them.

The problem is when we don't recognize it and make assumptions that hurt us and our money.

An unconscious bias is a judgment that we have towards people and situations, yet are unaware of and happens outside of our control. These biases most often come from childhood and our culture, but also flow from the media or other external influences.

See if you recognize these:

  • Dress you and/or your kids in designer clothes. Implies you're rich.
  • Shop your way to health. Implies that buying something will make you happy and possibly whole.
  • Assess that they're not wealthy because they don't drive a luxury car. Implies that wealth only exists if it's exhibited.
  • Determine that they can't afford that trip abroad because she's a teacher and he's a bus driver. Implies they're poor because they don't have executive level jobs.
  • Determine that they can afford that big house because they're both high earners. Implies that you know their money story just because you've captured the title or income.
  • Think less of them because they purchase, and can afford expensive items. Implies that they don't deserve the fruits of their labor.

Here's the truth: None of those circumstances reflect truth. They're just things.

I went to a private school which came with a hefty tuition. My classmates lived in fantastic neighborhoods, and some houses were huge while others were normal and modest. What I noticed is that most of their parents drove old, worn down cars, and wore no-brand clothes. Yet they sent their kids to this school, then college and grad school with no student loan debt. Their professions were government workers, lawyers, lobbyists (I'm from DC,) stay at home parents, writers and business owners. Nothing about what they drove or wore exuded wealth because they saw no value in those items. They consciously spent their money on education, real estate, art and trips where their kids could learn about the world beyond DC. All of these things increase in value over time.

The next time you catch yourself drawing a conclusion about someone because of what they're wearing, driving or even not doing, remind yourself that it doesn't reflect their story but is rather your thoughts projected onto them. Then get about the business of building true wealth and living an abundant life on your own terms.

And so it is.