She walked into the investment seminar looking like a model right out of the latest Nordstrom catalog: Coach designer bag, Anne Klein suit and Ferragamo shoes.

For the next hour, she took copious notes during my presentation on Investing in Volatile Times. She waited around afterward, and asked if she could speak to me one-on-one.

Her name was Tina, and as we talked, it became clear that this seemingly together woman with a great income had a major problem: She had an “unwealthy” lifestyle.

“I have worked for the same employer for more than 20 years and have little or nothing saved for retirement. I've dated the same man for 13 years,” Tina said, adding that she based her financial hopes on her romantic relationship.

Tina had gone in the wrong direction for many years, and now she was serious about putting her financial house in order. She had made an emotional pivot – accurately assessing her finances and her life and deciding to change.

Ten years later, Tina now is the picture of financial health. She is approaching retirement with a portfolio well into the six figures. She had changed.

There are many people like Tina out there. They need an emotional pivot to establish good habits and begin living a wealthy lifestyle.

Here are the beliefs that held Tina hostage and could be holding you in bondage as well.

Belief #1: Finding the right mate equals financial security

Marrying for money or what a potential mate can do for you is a strategy based on the false assumption that someone will take care of you for the rest of your life. That’s very unwealthy. More likely, you will be waiting on that golden wallet until the next fair maiden comes along. Tina had invested far too much time on a relationship and on trying to look a certain way, and neither had bore fruit.

Belief #2: I'll wait until…

Are you singing the “I'll wait” song? I'll wait until I pay all my bills. I'll wait until the stock market goes down.  Time is the one thing you can never have enough of in order to build wealth.

Tina's high maintenance lifestyle was sapping her time and income. Tired of the waiting game, Tina made the decision to purchase only the things that she really desired. It wasn't long before she had more than three months of her income in a money market mutual fund.

Belief #3:  Managing Money Is Difficult

Tina let several enrollment periods for her retirement plan pass by over the years. Although she was an accountant, she associated investing with high risk.

Tina had to learn that real risk is not having the money you will need when you retire. She continued to attend seminars. She traded her fashion magazine subscriptions for The Wall Street Journal. Instead of buying Coach bags, she shopped for Coach stock. She learned the language of investing and is quite confident discussing her financial strategies with her advisors.

Tina’s experience shows that people can escape fiscal bondage that comes from living an unwealthy lifestyle. But you cannot head toward financial freedom until you make an emotional pivot and start moving in the right direction.

Deborah Owens is a financial expert sought after speaker on the topics of financial empowerment, leadership and entrepreneurship. She has shared her enthusiasm, wit and humor with more than 100,000 people in live forums across the nation.  She has been a featured keynote speaker for five national tours with Working Mother Media, T.D. Jakes Enterprise’s, Count Me In For Women’s Economic Independence, The Financial Readiness Challenge for the Department of Defense, and the Everywomen’s Money Conference. She is currently touring on the A Purse of Your Own Campaign to financially empower one million women, which was launched with the publication of her most recent book. Visit for more wealthy tips.

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