He had a sky-high credit score. She paid her credit cards in full each month. She made contributions to her retirement accounts and knew how to save. But even perfect personal finance hygiene was no match for $310,000 in medical debt. That’s when Wendy Petties filed for bankruptcy.
“I was sick for a long time and had a routine of doing what the doctor said,” she says. “It was a great attention. [but] I racked up all this debt.” Petties filed for Chapter 13 bankruptcy in 2018 and decided he needed to completely reconnect his relationships with debt, money and value to get back on his feet.
Petties is the CEO of Simmer LLC and runs Date Your Money. What started as a side job in 2005 eventually catapulted her into working full-time for herself in 2014. As a psychologist and sex educator who also has an MBA, she uses her decades of experience, as well as her bankruptcy, to teach people how to build a better relationship with your money.
Four years later, the businessman is now worth $1.3 million. Here’s what the Las Vegas-based trainer has learned about the money-on-the-road mindset.
How bankruptcy became a blessing
When Petties was training as a sex educator, she learned how important pleasure was in all aspects of her life, not only with other people, but also with herself. She says her bankruptcy debt is a tool she uses to teach others how to change the way they think about money.
“My debt was medical debt, which doesn’t make it better or worse,” she says. “I’m perfectly fine with that debt, because I’m healthy now. And he didn’t want to feel ashamed. My debt is a tool [so] I started talking about it. This happened for I. I am not a bad person.”
Petties began teaching people a three-step framework for rewiring their money habits: clarity, confidence, and competence. As a money coach with a background in sex education, she merges the worlds of personal finance and relationships into one. Money is so ingrained in everything we do, but it doesn’t have to define who we are.
“My clients’ measurable results are related to their personal net worth. There are a lot of people who are making a lot of money in their business and their personal finances suck, or vice versa,” she says. “Or they are both shit! Let’s get your personal things together and see what they look like in your business. You need to have a budget at home so you can budget at work.”
You don’t need a million dollar business to have a million dollar net worth.
Petties emphasizes that his business does not make millions of dollars a year and that his business income is one of several different investments and assets.
“I’m not a million-dollar company,” she says. “My company earns an average of $250,000 a year offering full-service staff and professional development. I serve people of color and marginalized communities. We often don’t have the same opportunities. I can keep rates reasonable to make it accessible to more people.”
Petties has a mix of corporate and individual clients, which is how it is able to keep costs down for those who need it most. Success has shifted your focus to your own beliefs about money, and you want others to see what you’re capable of, too.
“Success has really shown me that it’s possible for a lot of people,” says Petties. “If I hadn’t changed my mind, I wouldn’t be anywhere. I have people who can’t get from where they are to where they want to be because they think the path isn’t for them, or their internal dialogue is ‘I have to take care of my family despite not taking care of myself.’ .’”
There are ways to have the things or experiences you love and still be mindful of what you spend. Petties says that she is not willing to give up the pleasure because you think she will save you money.
“If you LOVE Starbucks, do that,” she says. “Let’s find solutions in your expenses to continue doing the things you like to do and buy what you want to buy. That is the philosophy I like to work with.”
How you feel about your money and about yourself is reflected in your daily actions. Find a healthy balance between spending on what you love and growing your net worth.
3 Money Mindset Tips You Can Adopt Today
Rewiring your money mindset is something you can start doing now, says Petties. Here are three tips she gives on how to start running.
- Don’t let your personality on social media define you. I think people do [themselves] a disservice by only showing his followers the good stuff,” says Petties. “‘Oh, I work for myself! Look at me, I’m on a beach! this is work. Just like your 9 to 5 job, there will be things you love and things you don’t.”
- Go on regular dates with your money. “For those starting a business, separate personal and professional finances. Keep track of your money weekly. I teach clients to embody the date of money. [It’s] a weekly practice.”
- Trust your body. “Check in with yourself and ask yourself ‘Does this feel right or not?’ You can flow, flow and change. I keep checking. Don’t compromise or twist yourself in ways that don’t feel right to you.”
It’s easy to scroll through social media and see glamorous posts about working for yourself or living a luxurious lifestyle. Remember that you are only seeing what someone wants to show you. Build a strong relationship with your own money first and you’ll be unwavering when it comes to pursuing your money goals.