If you had asked me 4 years ago for some financial advice I would have openly laughed at you. My chosen career had nothing at all to do with financial education when I began it and in fact I would have been so under qualified to do anything even remotely close to teach others what to do with money that I might not be here today.
I was a young person who didn’t understand what to do with money, how to use credit, how to do well financially or how to save any money. I turned 18 and used a store credit card to buy an elliptical (I mean at least I was being fitness savvy right?!) but then 4 years later and I was still paying off the store credit card that I maxed out on one piece of equipment and hardly used.
Then I found myself unemployed with a Bachelor’s degree and a child with no way to pay off my ever increasing student loans. Without knowing what to do I just didn’t pay them, 7 loans defaulted…7!! Have you any idea what that does to one’s credit?! I didn’t really understand it myself until one day I found myself not even able to get cable because my credit score was too bad.
I also found myself in a house that I HATED because it was one of the only options to rent with the credit score that I had. I was miserable and believe it or not am so thankful for that misery because it fueled me to fix the damage I had done. To own up to the wrong decisions I had made and figure out how to pay off my almost 50 thousand dollars in debt.
Around the same time that I had decided to do better, Financial Education was plopped in my lap at work upon my return from having my second child. At first I thought oh dear no you don’t want me. But as time went on I realized no wait you do want me! You want me because I can relate to folks who need to pull themselves out of a rut. I can teach you how to budget on little income, I can explain how important it is to save in real life because I understand it. I can help you improve your credit because I did it from the ground up and was successful.
Last September I purchased my own home in a suburb of the city, one that I had always dreamed of living in. I was also completely debt free, 50 thousand dollars worth of debt had been successfully paid off. That same week I found myself in New York City at the Federal Reserve Bank talking to representatives from around the nation about how to mirror the success we had shown in financial education efforts in my work area.
And today, I am one step closer to becoming a Certified Educator in Personal Finance, something I NEVER thought I would or could become.
Today I urge you to work it! Work something for yourself, something you have wanted or something you have wished for…when you become something you never thought you could be you push yourself to be more than the person you were yesterday and at the end of the day that is something that I, and you can feel good about.