Ivonne Senn

Six years ago in March. The day that I thought I would die.

But as it turned out, it was only the life I knew until then that had to end. Lulled in to a false sense of security by six years of getting my invoices paid on time, I committed the cardinal fault of all freelancers: I didn't build up any reserves for hard times. But now the payments were coming in six to eight weeks late. My credit line was often at its limit. I used my tax reserves to cover running expenses. And to cap it off I received a letter from the IRS teaching me a new word: retroactive advance. Meaning they wanted money, a lot of money, as an advance for the previous year.

The only place I thought I could turn to was my bank. But the same credit institute that tried to lure me into prolonging my loan only two months ago, now couldn't 'constitute my wishes' anymore. Neither the full amount nor half of it or anything. A good reminder of the old saying: Be careful what you wish for. Because when I made my last payment for the old loan I swore to myself to never, ever again take on another credit. The emotional prize I paid for the last ten years was simply too high. Seems the bank had answered my prayer.

But the prize of freedom was even higher. Or so it felt. In my mind's eye I saw the bailiff put his sticker on everything I owned – which wasn't much to begin with. I was paralyzed by fear of losing everything. I could not eat, I could not sleep, I could not think. Like a deer in the headlights I froze and didn't know what to do.

My sister's offer to lend me a part of the money awakened me from my state of shock. As soon as I could breathe a little easier and my brain got its necessary supply of oxygen again I realized I needed help. Big time. This whole dilemma didn't happen overnight. For years my credit line had been my 'second salary' and up to this date everything always worked out somehow. But I was done with 'somehow'. I wanted to understand why I had a handle on all parts of my life except money.

 

As chance would have it, right at this moment I came across the book 'Money Love' by Meadow DeVor. And all of a sudden I wasn't alone anymore. Here was a woman who knew what I was going through.

The most important question she asked back than was: 'And then?' I had no idea how powerful these two words can be if you only ask them relentlessly enough.

'Okay, let us say you will lose everything, your house, your cars, you computers, you TV, your jewellery – and then?' This initial question – followed by at least eight more 'and then' – sent me on a mind's journey. A journey where I saw myself living under a bridge, wandering to the sunny south of Europe (hey, this was my fantasy; if I had to be homeless I’d rather be it somewhere warm), working in diner kitchens as dishwasher and grand mansions as dog trainer, finding a pen and a paper in a park and finally writing a bestseller about my life on the streets. It led me to my inner knowing that I will always find a way to care for myself and my loved ones.

Now that I had looked my biggest fear in the eye and survived, I was ready to kill the beast. Meaning to have a good look at my finances and find out what was really going on. I determined my net worth and found out that I had so much more than I thought I did. I diligently tracked my spendings and earnings and got in touch with my thoughts and feelings around every purchase and every earning. I eliminated earnings that were too cheap and spendings that were too expensive. In short I started to love my money and with it myself.

One year later I was able to pay my sister's money back. With interest. It was one of the proudest moments of my life. I made it, I really made it! I changed my thinking and thus changed my reality. Unbelievable. I also paid back a big chunk of the tax debts. People that saw me coming out of the bank that day thought I had won the lottery, so huge was the smile on my face. Finally I could give away money without this acrid feeling in my stomach. Finally I had reached financial ease. Finally I felt alive.

My real journey since then has taken me to become a coach. A money coach. I have accompanied many people around the world in losing their fear around  money and  in  building a healthy relationship with money – and thus in coming alive in all other areas of their lifes, too.