It’s not often you wind up in the job you dreamed about as a kid. But Officer Shakeel Alleyne was among the lucky ones, joining the Atlanta Police Department in 2012. He had known since a young age that he wanted to protect and serve others.
Unfortunately, Officer Alleyne’s childhood dreams and adult career plans took an unexpected turn when he was diagnosed with a rare chronic illness. He was hospitalized for months and unable to work for almost a year. While Alleyne had disability insurance, he did not have an emergency fund to sustain him through the time he was unable to work. This journey opened his eyes to the importance of building savings and making allowances for unexpected life situations. For the first time in a long time, Officer Alleyne had to prioritize himself before helping others.
A financial mindset makeover
After successfully battling his medical illness, Officer Alleyne was in remission and on the road to recovery. But now, the former Navy Reservist found himself facing a mountain of medical bills while still unable to return to work. At just 22 years old, Officer Alleyne’s mind was consumed by financial stress: “How will I pay for my new car? Will I be able to go back to work eventually? How will I pay for the medical bills? What now? What’s next?” These questions, along with the realization that he might not be able to return to work for a significant amount of time, made him take a hard look at his finances.
Officer Alleyne knew he had to take control, so he sought expert advice on how to manage money; he read financial blogs daily and even hired a financial planner. He used what he learned to create strict budgeting strategies for himself. “I use a pre-paid debit card for gas and food for every two weeks. This way, I keep myself on a strict budget instead of swiping my debit card every time I want something.” Officer Alleyne also ramped up his retirement savings, and today he maxes out his 401(k) and contributes to a Roth IRA.
Taking the next big step
After hitting a bump in the road early in his career, Officer Alleyne is now more motivated than ever to build a new life plan and pursue other lifelong dreams. But with a better understanding of finances, these are no longer just dreams.
Ever since he was a child, he has always been interested in and passionate about real estate. He remembers helping his mother—who was a landlord herself—with the painting and maintenance of her property.
Officer Alleyne believes investing in real estate—one property at a time—will be transformational for both his life and the communities around him. “I have had some setbacks, but now I am on track to be able to obtain one rental property next year,” he says. “My goal after buying this first rental property is to buy one additional property each year until I have 10.”
Fortunately, Officer Alleyne is now back on duty with the police force and financially confident. Undergoing this difficult journey gave him the opportunity to really understand the importance of managing finances and budgeting. In the future, Officer Alleyne plans to continue to educate himself and inspire others to move from financial stress to confidence.
Those looking for help controlling financial stress and achieving financial confidence can join the onUp Movement for budgeting strategies and more.
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