I've spent the better part of my career brainstorming, strategizing, and solving problems: public policy problems, Industrial supply business problems, Insurance industry problems, etc. Regardless of the field, I've always enjoyed trouble-shooting and figuring things out. It's just my thing. But none of this ever applied to my personal finances. I wouldn't have categorized myself as a spendthrift...okay, maybe I was to some extent, but I lived my life like someone who was blissfully unaware that I had no meaningful savings, retirement plan, monthly budget, or self-restraint when it came to a sales rack. What I did have was over $50k in student loan debt and a car that could have given out on me at any moment (spoiler alert: it eventually did), leaving me broke and carless in Los Angeles.
My willingness to ignore all of these things drastically changed in 2013 when I got married and became a military spouse. There was now another adult relying on me to make good financial decisions for the both of us in their frequent absence. And the stakes ratcheted up even higher when I had my first child in 2015. All of these new responsibilities hit me like a ton of bricks. As the "organized" partner, I was responsible for the monthly finances and I felt an immense pressure to get it right, but had a lack of knowledge about most financial topics. I'd never met with a financial planner and even the idea of doing so intimidated me. I didn't realize the importance of staying out of credit card debt - if I can pay the monthly minimum, what's the big idea? I'm just building credit, right? That's not to say that I didn't know anything about managing my finances. As the child of a single parent, there were times when we struggled financially, but it wasn't for lack of trying. My mother is one of the smartest and most resilient and resourceful people I know. But she was limited in what she was able to teach me because her own financial success was stunted by the lack of financial literacy of her own mother. It's a cycle. And I realized that I needed to do what I could to disrupt it. So, I started changing my spending habits and started reading and learning and forcing myself to face my finances instead of sticking my head in the sand.
Six years and three children later I've finally gotten my financial bearings. It was a hard road - full of potholes and ditches, and those stupid rumble strips - but I made it to the other side of things and now have a peaceful relationship with money. I still have to check myself and I'm always looking to learn and improve, but I've successfully changed my mindset, which has been the hardest part.
Throughout all of this, I'd taken a long hiatus from my career and eventually decided that I wanted to rejoin the workforce. My top requirement for the ideal position was to be working for a company that's doing some good in the world. I wanted to work with colleagues who seek to lift others up and provide a light in the dark, in some way, for others. And when I found Brunch & Budget I knew that this was the company and I had to be a part of it.