“What do you think? How do you feel about that? What does that feel like? Could you be mortgage free at 55 rather than 68, and how great would that feel?” – Gemma Bennett
Do you want to be debt free in 2022?
Did you overspend (again) this Christmas?
Is your new year’s resolution ‘to be better with money’?
Do you want to change the relationship you have with money?
Do you want to release yourself from your shame around money?
Do you want to feel empowered with money?
If any of the above apply, then this episode is for you…..
In this podcast episode, I am joined by special guest and co-host Gemma Bennett, Mortgage Broker at The Mortgage Mum, recently awarded “Rising Star” in The Mortgage Mum Awards 2021.
Based in Essex and a Mother to 2 children, Gemma brings so much joy and positive energy to this podcast, and to her mortgage brokering!
Gemma has an incredible background in holistic therapy and counselling, specialising in stress management and helping people work through difficult emotions and find joy in their every day. She believes that she can utilise her skill set to infuse this into mortgage advice as a “facilitator of happiness”.
Counselling is how our paths crossed many years ago. Gemma proves that you don’t have to “always have been in finance” to succeed in a career as a mortgage broker, and we talk about this during the episode.
Here’s a written summary of the episode for those who’d rather read, and a fully transcribed version of this episode can be found on our YouTube channel, especially with consideration to the hard of hearing.
An introduction to Gemma Bennett on becoming a Mortgage Broker..
Prior to becoming a Mortgage Broker I have worked for over 10 years as a counsellor and as an emotional support therapist. I worked in holistic therapies, mentally, emotionally and energetically supporting people. I’m creative, I feed my soul with creative pursuits. I’m a mortgage broker of a holistic kind – I still like to facilitate happiness.
As a broker you need to understand your clients needs and wants and I loved what The Mortgage Mum was and is about. I wanted to be a part of The Mortgage Mum as I loved what was being created as a business, I felt I needed to become a broker for this business.
We go through times in our lives, where we are in a transitional phase and I felt like there was something else around the corner for me – and this was it. There’s something amazing putting the pieces together – the client, the criteria, the figures.
You can go through life, especially I think when you have created your career and your path, and then you stop learning and challenging yourself. So I’ve entered an industry I didn’t know much about but I’ve gone and qualified, I’ve passed the exams and it just opened up a part of my mind to realise that we are capable if we want to do it. It gave me a new sense of empowerment.
I studied during the pandemic, whilst heavily pregnant and took my last exam ten days before my daughter was born. It blows my mind when I think about it, because if the drive is big enough, you’re going to do it.
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You’re now a year into your journey as a broker at The Mortgage Mum and you’ve made a true difference to so many people’s lives, which is amazing.
Shame, money blocks, panic, exposing debt – these are what I’ve noticed coming up and I’ve been in this position myself. Before I knew what I know about financial services and what’s available to you I managed to wrap up quite a bit of credit card debt myself, and it got to the point I had a really good credit score. It’s a problem because you’ve got a background of debt accumulating and then it’s a debt that I wouldn’t talk about because I’d be ashamed of actually how much it counted and it’s costing me monthly to pay off even the minimum.
There is something so liberating about being able to get control of that, whether it’s through a plan or not. I’m seeing the same in other people – they are sitting there in mountains of debt that is accumulating more and more, and they don’t know how to speak about it. People are keeping it very hidden in the shadows.
I found, when I became a broker, many of my own friends didn’t want me to look at their mortgage because they knew they’d have to show me what they had on credit cards. I was the same, but then you don’t ever want to feel that desperation again.
I’m doing this to empower somebody to understand their financial situation and learn what’s available to them going forward. You do need to know what is going on with your money, with yourself, with your spending and what you feel is good debt, what you feel is bad debt and just feeling empowered with your own life and your own money, because that is your future and it’s your money.
There’s an addiction to the instant gratification of spending and shopping, that makes you feel pleasure. It’s like being at the fairground, it feels brilliant but it’s soon forgotten and it’s gone, but it’s not forgotten because it’s sitting on your credit card. It’s okay to have to work these things out. We try and help you with and talk to you about what that looks like.
What advice do you have when it comes to debt?
Keeping things in the dark makes them scarier. The monster under the bed is there all the time. But when you put the lights on and you take a closer look, it’s not there.
If you look closely and expose anything, you’ll find it much more manageable to digest and understand, and awareness is key. So the first thing we need to do is get on it with ourselves and potentially anyone that’s involved in your life that needs to know and, let go of that shame – because you are not alone. There are many people in that position, but forgetting anybody else, it doesn’t make you a bad person. It doesn’t make you someone that needs to feel guilty for the rest of their life.
We have got to stop denying ourselves and denying things that are real – and that’s only when you’ll feel powerful enough to let go. You can’t control how somebody responds to you. You’ve got to get to a point where you love and accept that you’ve got there and that you’re at a pivotal moment for change. You cannot deny it to yourself and it’s got nothing to do with anybody else.
They say that our relationship with money is a reflection of our relationship with ourselves.
The reason behind anything has to be big enough for us to make the change. It does take a bit of self-awareness and self work to get there. But it’s beautiful, it’s hard and challenging, but a beautiful experience to reach the other side.
Life is just a series of choices and you’re allowed to change your mind and you’re allowed to choose because you only ever choose with the knowledge you’ve got at the time. Knowledge is the key.
But just as a duty of care, we look at the whole picture, we’ll look at the interest rate. So the credit cards and how much it will cost you over the same term in the mortgage. And that’s our job. We have to look at it properly. It became a passion of mine to really free that up for lots of people that were in the same position as me and it was an amazing pivotal turning point. Sometimes it’s the only and best option and it’s like a fresh start.
Education is the key, and having somebody in the middle can really help because we’re kind of going to take what the bank says, humanise it and make it a little bit more relatable and not too scary.
I always thought of lenders as quite a scary thing. But since working in it, I really feel like lenders want to find the solution. They have their policies and it’s about recognising that they would like to lend you money under the right circumstances. It’s not like in Mary Poppins with the old fashioned bank scenes.
What’s been your highlight as a broker so far?
In a nutshell – getting people houses! Especially when I’ve seen their journey from the beginning. It’s an amazing feeling facilitating their mortgage and home purchase, we’re making a real difference.
They’ve got their Pinterest boards, they know where their Christmas tree is going and with my experience I naturally counsel my clients along the way too. Especially if they have been through something like a relationship break up, a bereavement, divorce, inheritance etc – I’ve got to take in every single bit of information I’m getting from them.
What have you done on certain cases with your crystals and used the powers that be?
My clients’ cases get written down on a piece of paper with the outcome that I want and I put Reiki energy on it. I wish I could control the outcome, but I just turned it over and trust those for their highest good. I put choice crystals all around it. Literally anything I can do to help support practically, emotionally and spiritually.
I think empowerment is really the take home here.
Find somebody to help you understand. Don’t be afraid to ask the right questions and to just know that you’re on a journey to learn which has helped you to feel like you’re in control of your life. And that is a good place to be.
Thank you to Gemma Bennett for joining Sarah Tucker on The Mortgage Mum Podcast for this insightful podcast episode.
Listen to The Mortgage Mum Podcast on all major podcast directories including Apple and Spotify. You can also catch up on previous episodes on our website and on The Mortgage Mum YouTube channel.