From $100,000 in Debt to Running a Million Dollar Business 

For many women, overcoming debt can be an isolating and daunting experience. Get It Magazine speaks to Sandy Forster, founder of Wildly Wealthy, to talk about the journey from being $100,000 in debt and on welfare to running her own successful business and living a life she once only dreamed of.

 

What was life like for you in your early 40s, and what was your vision for the future at that point? 

I met a boy in high school, went out with him for 11 years, and then married him. Within a few years ended up divorced with a 3-year-old and a 6-month-old.  With the money from our property settlement, I made a series of bad choices and experienced a series of money challenges.  

From starting businesses that went further into debt each year, investing in the share market and losing the lot, joining an investment club just before it went bankrupt and getting financial advice from people who really didn’t know what they were talking about, I really didn’t respect or take care of my money. By the time I was in my early 40s I’d made every money mistake possible – except going bankrupt.  By this time I was $100,000 in debt and on welfare, ashamed of my situation and very scared about my future. 

 How common do you feel it is for people to be in significant debt and not have others in their network aware of what’s going on? 

People around me definitely didn’t know I lived in constant struggle. My entire life revolved around money or, more precisely, the lack of it. I knew I was a good person, so why was my life such a shambles? What had I done to deserve this? I felt embarrassed, ashamed, frustrated, guilty, angry, scared… you name it, I felt it. 

What was your “turning point”, and at what age did you begin to take action to turn your life around? 

I spent my late 30s and early 40s struggling with my finances and super stressed while discovering and then becoming passionate about anything to do with personal development and success.  I read every book I could get my hands on, listened to all the audio, and attended seminars whenever I could. Although my situation didn’t improve at first, my mindset and attitude did and at first I simply began to feel my life could be different.  However, things really changed when I discovered life coaching – I trained to be a coach (after borrowing the money to do the course), and incorporated practical strategies into my business and things began to turn around.   

My accountant and I went into business together, and I hit the big time when I woke up one morning with the name ‘Wildly Wealthy Women’ in my head.  A few months later I’d launched a national mentoring program of the same name where I taught mindset and my business partner taught practical strategies and it was a massive success and we made close to $2 million in the first few months.  

It didn’t really hit me until the blender I was using to make my morning smoothies blew up.  I went to buy a new one and as I was standing there looking at all my options, I realised I could buy any blender I wanted, I didn’t have to just choose the cheapest!   

 What does life look like today? 

I feel extremely blessed with my life.  I went from welfare to millionaire and now I Iive in a divine home on a beautiful acreage oasis with spring fed dam and wild kangaroos that feed off my grass every afternoon. I like to say I went from stressed to bliss, but in reality, life can be messy, so it’s not always perfect, but compared with how it was when I was on welfare, it feels pretty blissful to me!  

 I live a life I once only dreamed of and I’ve created a business in the personal empowerment industry doing what I love – it doesn’t get any better than that for me. 

 What lifestyle changes did you make to reduce your debt? 

I was $100,000 in debt and receiving $15,000 a year in welfare, so to say I was money challenged is an understatement – I didn’t have a lot to spend to start with.  Before I got serious about improving my financial situation, I used to put everything on credit card because I figured I was already so far in debt it didn’t matter.  Eventually, I realised being frugal was a powerful practical mindset and action I could take which would allow me to eventually create wealth. I wasn’t spending much because I didn’t have much.  A big night out was a Domino’s pizza between the 3 of us and a rented movie – that was a splurge! 

What are the first steps you’d recommend to anyone in debt who is looking to turn it around?  

Don’t just ‘dip your toe in’, make the decision to do whatever it takes.  Find a mentor or someone you resonate with who has already achieved your dream or goal, follow their footsteps, whether that’s listen to their free podcast or read their books, take them out for coffee to pick their brain, or attend their events or join their courses, whatever suits your schedule and finances.  I know from my own experience it will save you so much time, energy and money to learn the shortcuts and to avoid the mistakes from someone who has ‘been there, done that it’s so worth it.  

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