The Money Talk
My mother once told me, “You can’t spend every dime you make. You must save something for a rainy day.” The good news is that I took her advice to heart: I’ve been a saver since I got my first job at age 15. The bad news? That was the only talk my parents, who were not financially literate, ever had with me about money. Other than that, we children were told to “stay out of grown folks’ business.”
“Financial illiteracy is not an issue unique to any one population. It affects everyone: men and women, young and old, across all racial and socioeconomic lines. No longer can we stand by and ignore this problem. The economic future of the United States depends on it.” – President’s Advisory Council on Financial Literacy
We were hardly unique in that regard. Financial literacy affects us all. However, discussing money in the home is not the norm. In fact, according to a survey conducted by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA), 30% of parents NEVER talk to their children about money. Only 13% of parents surveyed talk daily with their children about money matters. If you are a parent, do you talk to your children about financial matters? And do you feel comfortable enough with the subject to offer sound financial advice?
Learning the Hard Way
At any rate, I made it to my freshman year of college only to get mired in a huge money misstep during the first semester. The result of my financial illiteracy left me short of the funds I needed to pay for the second semester. Thankfully my older brother connected with someone on campus who helped me resolve the problem. Crisis averted! That taught me a valuable lesson. And I didn’t want to learn that lesson more than once. So instead, I learned to plan and budget. My mantra became, “If you tell your money where to go, you won’t have to wonder where it went.”
Those skills came in handy in my life and career. I was a planner and a saver, and I spent more than 20 years working in financial services. And I thought I had it all figured out. Boy, was I wrong! I suddenly found myself drowning in debt – mostly from mortgages and rental properties – to the tune of 1.3 million dollars. (That was not a typo – $1.3M!) The financial crisis in 2008 hit me hard. I landed first in bankruptcy court and then in divorce court – two places I never wanted to go.
Achieving Financial Freedom
As a result, the only thing I could do was rebuild. I focused all my energy on regaining my economic power. First, I made a detailed plan to:
- Decrease expenses
- Eliminate debt
- Increase income
- Grow my net worth
Then I followed it to the decimal point. Ultimately, my planning, disciple, and persistence paid off!
I am proud to say that today, I am financially free and debt-free. I was able to restore my savings and investments. So much so that I retired from my corporate career at the age of 54. Take a note – retirement is a financial number, not an age.
After leaving retiring, I launched my new coaching business. Now I show others how to do what I did: take back financial power.
Helping others G.R.O.W.
I’m here to tell you that you can do it too. No matter what your financial picture looks like right now, you can G.R.O.W. – get out of debt, retain more income, organize assets, and walk in wealth. Moreover, I can show you how to change your mindset and your relationship with money so that you can wield true economic power.
As John Hope Bryant of Operation HOPE once said, “If you don’t understand the language of money, and you don’t have a bank account, then you’re just an economic slave.” Don’t be that. With Ascentim coaching, you’ll get the financial education, support, and mindset shift to achieve your financial goals.
Financial knowledge is economic power, and I really want you to have that power.