Money affects our lives – sometimes that’s in a good way and sometimes bad. But money is the game we’re all forced to play.
I saw “the bad way” growing up.
My mom always struggled with money – despite having a good job and working really hard everyday. She was a single mom doing her best, but there was just so much to juggle and no matter how hard she tried, she could not wrangle it.
The fact that I ever went to college was a miracle. Or maybe I should say – thanks to a guardian angel.
My best friend’s mom handed me a FAFSA application one day when I was over at her house. She said “What’s your plan for college?”
There was NO plan. I hadn’t even considered it.
She said “I’ve filled this out as best as possible for you. These tabs show where your mom needs to fill some things in, but you need to get this sent in. You need to go to college, Kelsa.”
Thank God for her. And Thank God I listened.
When the guidance counselor at Central Michigan University asked me what I wanted to do someday, I said, “I want to help people with their money.” I just remember thinking – if someone could have helped my mom, she wouldn’t have been so stressed. She would be happier. She could have enjoyed life just a little bit more.
His response was: “You should be a financial advisor.” So that’s what I became – an educated, trained and licensed financial advisor.
I hated every minute of it.
On top of being in a career I didn’t love, I graduated with $32,000 in student loans and was newly married. We had 2 car payments, a few credit cards, we wanted to buy a house, and with both of us spending money, it all felt so overwhelming.
Here I was, more educated in personal finance than most people, yet I was experiencing the same stress, anxiety and worries over money that I witnessed my mom go through. At this point, I had a Bachelor’s in Personal Finance, a minor in Economics, a Master’s degree in Accounting and I was fully licensed as a financial advisor (Series 7, Series 66, Health, Life, Disability insurances).
And even then, money was still a source of stress and worry for me.
I realized the part of money I was struggling with wasn’t the part of money I was helping people with everyday. It wasn’t the long-term planning and investing that felt hard.
It was the money coming in and out of my checking account 5 times a day.
It was the ping-ping-ping of all the debit and credit card transactions.
It was trying to be on the same page with Michael when we clearly saw two very different pictures of our finances.
That realization changed everything for me. For us.
I began to devour human behavior and psychology and challenge everything I had been taught about personal finance. When it came to the way I had learned to manage money, I started observing and identifying some serious flaws. I noticed that how we were actually living our lives did not jive with how we were trying to manage our money.
Instead of trying to make my natural spending patterns match a method some “expert” told me to use, I decided to look at it differently.
What if I created a method for managing my money that fit my life and how we actually spent money?
I didn’t know it at the time, but the method I developed would not only be used by 1,000’s of people, but hundreds of other money coaches, financial planners and personal finance experts would share it with their clients too.
The Plan Ahead Method was born and it completely changed the trajectory of our lives.
We have done amazing and incredible things, because we’re able to see our money clearly. We can prepare for what’s coming and put our money behind what’s most important to us. And because I’m no longer spending countless hours tracking where every penny goes money now feels simpler, easier and like I can focus on the parts of money that really matter..
I was able to launch Fiscal Fitness PHX, because I knew we’d be OK financially. The Plan Ahead Method, that I had developed, gave me that certainty.
Having this way of managing our money has given us so many gifts:
We took 2-3 months off when we adopted our son Alex, so we could form strong bonds as a new family.
I retired Michael from his career in Physical Therapy so he could stay home with our two awesome kids.
We’ve traveled a ton – Morocco, India, London, Indonesia, all over the US and Mexico and soon will be going to be Greece followed by another trip to Ireland!
We recently bought a lake home in Michigan, where we go every summer to escape the Phoenix heat. We became snowbirds (living in 2 places) at the age of 41!
I’m not sure what’s next for us, but I know without a doubt we will be able to Plan Ahead for it and put our money toward making it happen.
And I will continue to share my passion for this work and hope it will give you a life free from money stress too.
3 things I love spending my money on are:
- Our future (Both short-term and long-term goals)
- People (Team, Coaches, Support, Doers, Family)
- Time (Quality time, memories, experiences and things that give me more time)