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Your past doesn't define you...

...but it can shape you.

I always say I am my Father's child when it comes to money and business. He taught me all the business information I know. He instilled in me from a young age that you treat the janitor the same way that you treat the CEO. Everyone deserves respect.

I also always say I am my Mother's child when it comes to creativity, loving on others and my love of baking. No matter if it was dropping off a friend from school because they missed their bus, always making enough to ensure that if someone stops by there is enough food for everyone and you are inclusive of all. Include people in your celebrations, holidays and more. No one should be alone.

These two influences....or maybe forces of nature would be a better term...have shaped who I am, among other things. I also know I am very fortunate to have had the money education I had growing up. A few lessons instilled in me:

  • When I was babysitting so much one summer that I made more money than my Mom that summer, I had to put the money in a checking account.

  • When I had a Bat Mitzvah and the money I was given added up, but I took $75 and bought my dream stereo. Two cassette players to record off the radio, a 5 cd changer and separate speakers?! Y'all, I was living my dream. The rest of that money? I didn't see. It wasn't even an option. I signed all the checks for deposit, so I knew how much money I received but all the rest of the money (minus the $75 stereo) went into savings and that went towards my college fund.

  • I also learned debt. I got into credit card debt in college, but after I graduated I realized I didn't want that life and made a plan and paid it off. After that, I promised myself I wouldn't go into credit card debt again because I never wanted to feel that weight on my shoulders again.

But not everyone learned these things growing up. This was something I never knew and didn't learn until much later in life.

Can I share something else with you? I had a plan of how my life would go. When I'd get married, how my husband would handle the finances...especially retirement and anything have to do with stocks or a 401k, the job I'd have, my career trajectory, my starting salary and how much I'd be making by the time I was 30. Spoiler Alert: I was WRONG.

I didn't make the amount of money I expected to make right out of school. In fact, I didn't hit that salary until I was around 28. I'm not married and I had to step up and take control of my finances - including preparing for retirement and understanding investing, IRA's and 401k's. It was a tough pill to swallow, and if I'm being honest, I held off on the understanding retirement preparation until the last few years. However I have come to realize the importance of having this knowledge, both for my future and current self and you know what? Maybe my future husband will need ME to help him understand his finances and investing for our future. And that's okay. We all have gifts. Hopefully his gifts include words of affirmation, a listening ear and a quiet confidence to find rest in.

Whether you're single, married, dating, long term dating, etc. you need to understand your finances. Especially if you're married. Things happen. People get divorced, people get sick, people die, people die unexpectedly. The last thing you want is to have lost your partner in life and then have to figure out, where is the money? What bills do we pay? Do we have money in savings? Do we have money in checking? What's the login to the checking? Do we have a 401k? Savings for the kids? How do I access that? Please. If you're married, talk to your spouse about the state of your money on a monthly basis. You should both know and understand the amount of money you have, your goals and your login information.

This is why I share my knowledge. I believe everyone should have access to this information and have the ability to change their life, if they choose. It's not easy. Nothing worth having ever is. And yes, I hate that saying too. However, the older I get the more I realize its truth.

Let's get started on hitting your goals, shall we?

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