I’m originally from Los Angeles but grew up in Salt Lake City, Utah (talk about culture shock!).
Most of my childhood was very tumultuous, with a biological father not in the picture and a mother (with less than a high school education), who was forced to take on the financial burden of caring for a family of six. I grew up experiencing food insecurity, countless evictions, subsequent homelessness, and abject poverty. With that came a lot of trauma accompanied with a lot of shame.
After dropping out of high school, by the grace of The Universe, I was somehow able to get my life back on track by earning my GED and ultimately attending college where I studied economics as an undergrad. It was during that time that I started to develop an interest in markets and investing, and a passion for helping people with their money, which resulted in the pursuit of a master’s degree in finance.
Upon completing grad school, I started my financial services career in 2012 as an intern for a major commercial bank before entering the world of private banking in 2013, where I managed investment portfolios for institutional clients. While I gained invaluable experience servicing wealthy families, I quickly recognized that a successful banking career would entail peddling products and meeting quarterly sales quotas, which I believe skewed the objectivity of the advice we were providing to clients. I also realized that the asset minimums disproportionately impacted POC communities (most of whom are unable to meet the $1 million asset hurdle often imposed by banks and wirehouses) from accessing financial planning advice and services. After a couple of years of running that rat race, I ended up leaving the private banking world (and Utah) and traversed back to the Southern California to find a career that would enable me to truly make a difference in my community, and not feel guilty about how I’m doing it.
Following the advice of a great mentor, in 2015 I began coursework for the CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ designation, which I earned in 2017. I also started a phenomenal Ph.D. program in financial planning and therapy. Through my doctoral studies, I’ve been able to use research to understand the interplay of psychology, relationships, and money, and how to incorporate practical techniques to improve a client’s financial health.
I know there are folks out there that have stories similar to mine – who may not have come from a lot of money; who have witnessed their parents enact their own afflicting scenario’s around money; who may be 1st generation college graduates and the first and only ones in their families to “make it”; and who have been left to figure out money on their own. My purpose at Brunch & Budget is to ensure that folks don’t have to go it alone when it comes to managing their finances; that everyone, regardless of income or asset size, can have some level of access to a CFP® professional that can help them feel more empowered when it comes to their money and their relationship with it.