By Lynda Dell
A steep learning curve led mortgage branch manager and doting mother, Lorna Cruz, to financial freedom. Because she still remembers struggling to make ends meet as a single mom, with three youngsters, her mission is simple, yet life-changing: put families on firm financial footing.
That’s what led her mortgage company to sponsor the 2016 RENEW Health & Wellness Expo this fall on Saturday, September 24, in Trenton, NJ. Cruz realizes that financial fitness leads to a healthy mind, body, and spirit that drive your success.
“Now we are living in the middle of the pyramid, where we are not in debt, not in scarcity,” said Cruz.
“We are in a healthy place. I don’t have to worry about whether or not the bills are going to be paid.”
How and when did she hit the career lottery?
A tenacious woman like Cruz has always availed herself of every opportunity to make money—even when she was tested the most.
“As a single mom for quite a few years, I have always been a survivor, a doer, someone who always needed a challenge,” recalled Cruz. “That’s who I am.”
Her entrepreneurial spirit led her to start two home-based businesses after she became pregnant with her first son, always leveraged her skill set from one career to the next. Cruz has really seen and done it all.
“I’m kind of like Barbie. I’ve had a zillion careers,” said Cruz, who has done everything from interior designer to private chef.
She leveraged her “domestic goddess” skills to become a private chef—starting out making lunch for a loan officer and his colleagues and ending up with a new career. For Cruz opportunities to earn extra money often morphed into another profitable business.
“Honestly, I do everything with passion, so if the passion is gone, then I have to find something else,” said Cruz.
By 2002, she had three children and a young baby from her recent marriage, now 14 years strong. She was tired of working crazy hours catering weekend gigs that consumed her family time, which led her to a new career, where she learned the nuts and bolts of the mortgage industry.
“What my mentor taught me changed the course of my life,” said Cruz.
Hungering for her own place, after 13 years in the field, she flew out to the biggest trade show, where she hit the career lottery in Las Vegas. “I used all my points from my credit cards to book it,” said Cruz.
That’s where she met representatives from the Norcom Mortgage Company, who shared her vision and philosophy, and eight months later opened up her own branch, walking distance from her home.
Now her mission is two-fold:
Train the next generation of lenders
Reeducate the consumer—the millennials and other first time buyers under the misconception that they can’t afford to buy and the elderly who think they can’t afford to keep their house
“Having gone through a divorce, living in a rented three bedroom, three floor walk-up, with three kids, and bicycles and everything else, I know how important it is to keep your house,” said Cruz.
Looking back Cruz realizes that when she moved, she also lost a solid support system. “A home is a neighborhood and a way of life,” explained Cruz, “so I especially reach out to women, people going through life changes, divorce, or restructuring.”
So how does someone get financially fit?
Live within your means
Save on a regular basis
Live in a house that is a healthy environment, one that feeds you spiritually
Cruz shared her philosophy of why it’s vital to get fit and stay healthy: “Working out is how you get rid of your stress, think clearly, and open up your mind to new possibilities and opportunities to create your dreams.”
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