My Money Story
My money story began at a young age. I grew up in a middle class family where my parents were small business owners. Even at a young age I was the “saver” in the family, understanding that having money would give me the flexibility to buy something I wanted one day. Little did I know at that time it would mean so much more.
During the recession in the late 1980s my family fell on difficult times. They had to close the doors to their business and figure out what was next. Money saved was quickly spent and debt started to grow. I saw how differently my parents approached finances during this time, with different views around budgets, savings, and how money should be spent.
While this was a very stressful time, looking back I see it as very influential for my own money story. As I child I went from feelings of security, freedom, and opportunity that I associated with wealth to a place of uncertainty, fear, and stress that I associated with not having enough money. I also saw the dynamics of money and relationships. I saw how in a partnership, one person’s decisions can greatly affect the other person, their partnership, and the family. Through self-reflection I am able to see how this impacted my own views about money and relationships. It showed me how important it is to have an honest dialogue around finances in a relationship. It also influenced my views about my own financial goals and independence.
Throughout my graduate school and professional career I have continued to be the “saver” in my family and among my circle of friends. My PhD in engineering has also refined my critical reasoning enabling me to quickly understand situations and develop solutions. I continue to speak to my family and friends about their views about money, how they save and invest, and the role it plays in their relationships. Those conversations have evolved as we moved from students into the workforce and as we move into new business ventures, investment opportunities, and relationships. They also involve decisions about home ownership, retirement, and savings for children’s education. We are also having new conversations with our own parents about their finances and retirement plans.
Although many see money as private or taboo topic, I believe openness about money related issues is important. Making financial choices without understanding the facts, opportunities, and consequences can be dangerous. Instead I want others to understand budgeting, savings, investing, and both the upside and downside of different financial decisions.
I truly feel that my life experiences and learnings around money, finances, and relationships can be valuable to others facing similar situations and choices. Financial coaching is a way for me to help others understand their own money story and how to evolve it to meet their overall life goals.