The Four Agreements (of Foreclosure)

Here’s how I interpret "The Four Agreements" by Don Miguel Ruiz when it comes to money.

I found out yesterday that one of my closest friend’s home was foreclosed two weeks ago. I had no idea that she was facing foreclosure, but I knew that she — like millions of Americans — had experienced a change in her income and was undergoing a loan modification. It turns out that she trusted a company (and paid them $9,000) to complete a loan modification on her behalf. When she received repeated notices from the bank, they advised her that the notices were “standard,” until the day that her house went to sale and she realized that she had been scammed. Today, she is dealing with the reality that she has lost her home and will be moving her family.

I recently read “The Four Agreements” by Don Miguel Ruiz, and have found multiple ways to apply his simple principles in my life. While his principles obviously correlate to personal relationships and communication, I also believe that they can apply to relationships and matters related to business and money management.

Here’s how I interpret them when it comes to money …

BE IMPECCABLE WITH YOUR WORD. In times of prosperity, it’s easy for us to count every dollar and enjoy the process of being exact. When our financial situation becomes hard to look at, we tend to postpone examining the problem, and underestimate the effects of our procrastination. If we follow Don Miguel Ruiz‘s first rule and require ourselves to be “impeccable,” we limit the room for estimations. We also limit our ability to criticize and judge ourselves, and have to be 100% honest with ourselves and our business counterparts.

DON’T ASSUME ANYTHING. When it comes to both our personal and business relationships, it’s incredibly important to NOT assume anything. This may be Don Miguel Ruiz‘s most difficult and most important agreement. Your business counterparts are neither your friends nor your enemies. They are not competent or incompetent, malicious or kind. We are responsible for finding the courage to ask more questions in order to verify and clarify. If we don’t make assumptions, we read our contracts, get second opinions, and ask questions until we properly understand our transaction.

DON’T TAKE IT PERSONALLY. We tend to give ourselves too much credit for our success, and — conversely — hold ourselves too accountable for our failures when, in fact, neither is true. The most damaging element of this comes when things are not going well financially. We internalize the failure, beat ourselves up, and can get stuck in our misery. When we understand that the road to financial success will inevitably include failure, wins and losses just become part of the process and not a reflection of us personally.

ALWAYS DO YOUR BEST. We all have our limitations, and our “best” can be different at different times. Under all circumstances, we should strive to do the best possible at our given capacity. Our mistakes and missteps therefore become a product of the best we were able to do at that time. If we are always doing our best, there is no need for shame; we have to learn and grow, and we are required to try again.

In closing, if you are facing foreclosure or have already been foreclosed on — remember that your home is where your family is. Your house is just where you live. Letting go of yesterday’s problems allows you to see today’s opportunities. Some of my multimillionaire clients have been foreclosed upon multiple times. They know that time heals all wounds … even credit reports. They also know that foreclosures can sometimes be stepping stones into a brighter financial future.

Is foreclosure the worst thing that could happen financially? Can you bounce back from a foreclosure??

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