I grew up traveling once a year, every December we went to the same exact beach only a few hours away from my hometown with my family. Growing up we could not afford or had the time to do anything else. It wasn’t until I was about 22 with two kids, a full-time curriculum in college and a full-time job that I experienced the taste of traveling for the first time.
First it was Puerto Rico. My husband at the time and I decided to leave the kids and go on a couple’s trip. We loved it and I knew I wanted to see more of the world. The minute I returned home I was planning a trip to Mexico, this with the kids. We loved that experience as a family and from that point on we knew this is what we would be doing forever.
I slowly learned how to budget money and time as I was getting my career started so we could fit in as much traveling as possible. In the beginning I felt guilty stepping away during a time when I needed to be home focusing on advancing myself in my career. Yet being a minority and a female does not help you get ahead in the finance world. Conversely, I slowly realized traveling was helping me, not only connect with my children on a much deeper level, but also connect with the world. It revitalized me, and after every trip, I would come back with so much more motivation to hit the ground running.
I came from very little money and was a teen mom, so I had a lot of traveling to catch up on. Today I look back on being the owner of one of the fastest growing private companies in the US and appreciate all that traveling was directly related for a huge part of my success.
How you stay sane while juggling it all
We travel a lot. Each year we take about 4-6 trips both domestic and international. Even during the pandemic, we’ve been able to maintain that pace. Because traveling is such a priority for us, setting aside resources and budgeting to make it all happen is a big part of our financial planning.
I always budget when I am home so that I can enjoy when I am away. Budgeting is huge if you are trying to travel consistently while eventually finding financial freedom. Putting a plan together and achieving your goals outside of traveling is also super important in the event life throws you a curveball, such as falling ill, or have your house burn down 2 times (true story 😅).
When not traveling, I live a very frugal lifestyle. Every penny saved mattered. I wouldn’t even buy myself a cup of coffee, instead I would re-invested everything I saved into properties that I now rent, buy, and sell for a profit.
Gaining financial freedom has helped me have peace of mind, and know that it is ok to slow down from the grind of the mortgage company, and from time to time to enjoy what this beautiful world has to offer.
Balancing the grind of your career, however, is also very important. For me, I find real estate easy to manage and totally worth the investment.
My full-time gig is being the co-founder of a mortgage company. On top of my main company Right Key Mortgage, I also own 4 other smaller companies that I am less involved with. During the 2 years I traveled the most, I still earned top originator awards for the US, and did that while growing the company from a 300 square-foot office in a basement with 2 people to a 45+ employee company that now does business in 7 states.
How was that possible? Just like budgeting my money, I budgeted my time. I am writing this blog as I am getting my hair done. Prioritizing your time means using every minute of your day with purpose, and I mean every minute. When Monday comes my loved ones know not to talk to me from 7am till about 8pm haha this is my time to bang as much as I can out to get ahead of my week.
I go hard when I am home, managing my time and being as productive and efficient as I can at work while balancing pick up, drop offs, meals and etc for two very active kids I have. In our home we genuinely believe in doing what you are passionate about and living your dreams, so both of my kids spend a great amount of time focusing on activities they love and are good at.
Of course all this activity makes me happy but it also creates a third job as a chauffeur which I am not too fond of. 😂
Managing your time well can often mean sacrificing TV for days or a social life during the week. Most people feel like they need these distractions, but for me it is a tradeoff and I prioritize what is most important.
I’ve also learned how to be super-efficient working from home. While taking phone calls I fold laundry, cook and clean. In the past, 4:30am wake up times were the norm so I could always be ahead of my day. Now that my kids are older I have bumped it to 6:30am most days, unless I need additional catch up time in the AM. This leaves my weekends free to travel and have fun, and maybe sneak in a long weekend.
Now, to that final question I get all the time, “so your kids just missed school?”
Yes, they do!
I absolutely stand by that decision. I am always clear on “do whatever is best for you.” I am also huge into emotional intelligence. For us, missing school here and there for the benefit of learning and experiencing a different culture and maturing into more emotionally intelligent human beings was sooooo worth the tradeoff.
And guess what?! I now have an 11- and a 17-year-old that have never failed a class and kicked ass throughout the years. What I am the proudest of, though, is that I have two kids who can sit with anyone (and I mean anyone) and have the most enlightening, intelligent conversation. If they weren’t obviously children, you might think you were conversing with an adult with decades of life experience. Sure enough 25+ countries will do that to ya!
Don't get me wrong, I do believe in education. Matter of fact I have a scholarship I give out every year at the state university I graduated from. Why? Because I believe everyone deserves a higher education and I loved mine even with all its struggles.
To summarize, how do you balance it all?
For budgeting, I just don’t shop often. I am careful how often I eat out and I live simple. That means no luxury homes, affordable cars, and no designer clothes.
Prioritize what means the most to you, I call them my non-negotiables:
Being super involved with my kids, Traveling, growing my companies and real estate portfolio (which are my passions) and my health.
The rest that TV, dinner with friends, or that dance lesson I been meaning to take for the past 10 years have had to wait.
But what I have made time to do, is all the wonderful things I dreamed of. I have traveled A LOT and that is what is important to me, I don’t regret the sacrifices one bit.
Now it is your turn! Choose what your priorities are, stick to them, make the necessary changes so there are no distractions. It’s time to go out and live a DOPE life!