I began studying personal finance in 2002 after,
- Blowing an inheritance of over $60,000 by the time I was 21 shopping at the mall
- Letting an ex boyfriend get my car repssossed causing $20,000 of in my name which ruined my credit
I lost my car, had to transfer to community college, moved back home with my family and realized I was in a pretty tight hole.
The one thing I did have was a positive outlook. There had to be a method or formula to getting your finances in order and I wanted to know it. I had the most frugal grandparents who had both passed away before they could teach me their ways so I started reading everything I could get my hands on about financial literacy. Books, articles online, newspaper clippings.
I buckled down and got to work, ordering all my credit reports and tackling that road to ruin first. It took 18 months to raise my score 200 points from the low 500’s to mid 700’s and almost 3 years to pay off the $20,000 debt.
By that time I had also finished college, started working, moved back out on my own to the city, and had my first child. Three years later I went to grad school, got an even better job, moved to an even nicer apartment and bought my first investment property. Everything was on the up and up .
Then the real estate market crashed, the recession hit, and my tenants lost their jobs. Trying to save my property I pulled money from every possible source racking up over $40,000 in credit card debt and had a property I paid $679,000 for in fear of foreclosure. I was a few months away from having my second child, and felt my only choice was filing bankcruptcy to offload the house and the debt. I was 28.
Yes, I filed bankruptcy and it saved my financial life.
In fact, within 3 years after filing bankruptcy I was earning over $100,000 and built my savings and investments to over $90,000, raising my credit score over 200 points for the second time! I finally understood that financial pitfalls were only temporary and with consistency and discipline ANYONE can redesign their financial picture.
I started teaching friends and family how to fix their credit as far back as 2002, I had big dreams back then of spreading collective economics and opening my own community bank but it wasn’t until 2007 that I truly considered teaching financial literacy as a career and started teaching free workshops in NYC after work and on the weekends.
If all that experience isn’t enough and you still want to know what actual crendentials I have to teach personal finance here ya go!
- I hold Bachelor’s degree from Hunter College in NYC where I studied Economics and Film-making, essentially become an accountant for movies (but I felt I was way too cute for cubicle life)
- After college, I studied Urban Planning at Hunter College where my concentration was economic development from 2005-2006.
- I also have a Master’s degree from Columbia University in NYC in Real Estate Development and have a certificate in Finance from NYU.