It was a spring day in 1973. I was riding as a passenger in the front seat of the car. My mom was driving. It was just the two of us. We weren’t talking about anything in particular when she said, “I have to tell you something. Your dad and I are getting a divorce.” While my 9-year-old brain couldn’t possibly fathom everything that meant, it still felt like I had been gut-punched by the heavyweight champ himself, Muhammad Ali.
Changes would come quickly. Dad would move out. My stay-at-home mom would start her first job. My grandmother would be our ride home from school, we’d have a babysitter/maid who watched us while Mom wasn’t home, and I would become an unwelcome father figure to my younger brother.
The emotional toll on our family was huge. We had never been a family of means, but now things got serious. Financial struggle was no longer a visitor to our family but a resident. My mom worked tirelessly to improve her income. She would learn new skills, take night classes in things like “shorthand,” look for ways to save money, and still provide a good life for my brother and me. Living paycheck-to-paycheck was a reality and an ever-present source of stress. My grandparents were a huge help in childcare, as well as emotional and occasionally financial support. Neither my mom nor my grandparents were college-educated, but my grandfather imparted financial savvy to my mom and me. Living within your means and paying cash for things was the way to go.
So, with lots of hard work and sacrifice, my mom was able to provide for us. With help from her, my grandparents, grants, and loans, I was able to become the first in my family to graduate from college.
Years would pass, and my mom would work really long, stressful hours for many years and finally climb her way to financial security. She worked longer than she really needed to because she wanted not only to retire well but also to make sure she left something for her family. The day after she retired, she had an accident resulting in a traumatic brain injury. She passed away in 2016, never recovering.
I watched firsthand how an intelligent and dedicated woman struggled financially for most of her life. I watched the stress of not having enough money transition to the stress from overworking in a demanding job for too long. I watched a retirement that was put off too long suddenly evaporate.
If you’re wondering why I’m sharing this, here is the connection.
- I do this job to help people make smart financial decisions that lower stress and set them up for success later in life.
- I do this job to help people always remember that none of us are promised tomorrow, so we need to make sure we’re enjoying the ride to the fullest and “retire” to what we really love sooner rather than later.
- I love to help hard-working people who want to make smarter decisions about money so they can enjoy more fulfilled and less stressful lives. People who wish to build wealth to improve the lives of themselves and their families and support causes near to them that leave the world a little better when they’re gone.
- I feel my calling is to use my gifts to help open the doors of possibility for people to live a more stress-free and financially stable life.
Please reach out to me if you are interested in seeing how I can help guide you toward achieving your individual financial goals. I would love to hear your story and pain points and help you create your retirement plan.