In high school, you could find me in art class instead of business class. In college, I struggled through Accounting 101. While money was talked about growing up - save, never buy something if you couldn't pay for it in full, debt is bad - I didn't have any formal education that taught me how to manage finances. My family grew up blue-collar middle class, and Wal*Mart was our go-to. Name brand clothes were a Christmas-only gift, and vacations were a weekend trip to a water park, not week-long getaways by plane.
My upbringing taught me the importance of a dollar, and how to budget and save. I don't have or pretend to know all the answers, but we don't need all the answers to be financially abundant and make wise decisions.
I am here as an example that if I can do it, you can do it too. Empowered Financial Wellness was created to share money basics in a practical sense that have you feeling empowered to take control of your finances and build the life you love while still being able to enjoy the pleasures of life.
"Personal finance is about 80 percent behavior. It is only about 20 percent head knowledge." - Dave Ramsey
A deeper dive
My day job consists of assisting my organization in managing the risks of the products we sell to customers. I am also a Certified Personal Trainer, Yoga Teacher, and Spin Instructor. Health and Wellness are paramount in my life, and I believe Financial Wellness also deserves a spot at the table. Money is king in our economy and not worrying about how we will put food on the table or keep a roof over our heads allows us to focus on the more important things in life.
In 2019 I walked away from a job that was no longer serving me, and I was unemployed for three months. The decision was not easy, but I had built up a cushion that allowed me to make the decision I needed to make at that time. When money is not the driver leading our day-to-day decisions, we can choose what is best for us, not for our pocketbooks.
Simple steps over time allowed me to fund my emergency savings, which included automatically routing a portion of each paycheck into that account. Canceling subscription services I didn't really need. Cooking more at home, making my own coffee, and opting for free on-demand workouts available online.
That being said it wasn't all about cutting only - too many financial sites talk about cut, cut cut. I still got coffee once a week, but I found a shop that had free coffee Mondays. I would occasionally get takeout, but only if I had a coupon or there was a buy-one-get-one option. I love couponing and never pay full price (because things always go on sale at some point).
As the Dave Ramsey quote says above, 80% of personal finance is behavior. Automating decisions so we don't have to remember (like transferring a portion of income to savings), auto-paying bills so we don't get late fees, looking for coupons, or buying generic brands can all add up.
Through blog posts, downloadable templates, third-party resources, and regular Instagram posts, I will share how I took control of my personal finances through simple, actionable steps. While I can't promise the next-day delivery of increased wealth, I can promise when we look back 5, 10, and 15 years from now, the small financial habits we implement today will make us wish we had started sooner. There is no better time to start than now.
"Do something today that your future self will thank you for."