I'm not gonna lie, starting your financial journey may very well be one of the hardest things you'll set out to do. It's just like a health + fitness journey - you want so badly to lose some weight, tone up, and stop eating junk but it feels like the tallest, steepest mountain to climb. Once you decide to start climbing this mountain, you want nothing more than to just be at the top already.
So many habits you have to change, mindsets to rewire, and so many new things to learn about. The financial journey is messy and frustrating and so very painfully slooooooooowwwww. At least it feels that way when we are starting. And it feels that way when we're in the middle of it. And yup, it feels that way even when we're towards the end of it.
One day though we're going to get to the top of that mountain of debt freedom, or $100k net worth, or retiring at 35 and we'll look back oh-so-fondly on all the memories we made getting to the top. And I bet it's going to fill us with so much love and gratitude seeing how far we've come.
BUT the middle part. The middle part is what gets us. When we're in the thick of it. When we're crying because we aren't where we want to be yet. When we are doubting everything and wondering if it's even worth it. Is the sacrifice worth it?!
I wish I could answer that question for you but I can't because I haven't yet made it to the top of that debt free or positive net worth mountain. And that is my big secret.
I've been nervous to share that I have a negative net worth because I've been afraid that it will make me look like an imposter and like someone who's not capable of helping other women with their money.
I was afraid it would tear down my expertise and knowledge of investing and money management. These are real fears but I don't think they are based in anything other than that - fear.
I have a negative net worth. The very thing I teach about building - is negative. I have more debt than assets. The little nagging self-doubt voice in my head never lets me forget it - always saying, "How do you sit on that high horse of yours and lecture people about their money?! You have a negative net worth. Ha! Fraud!"
So yeah, this may not seem like a big deal but for me this is hard to write because my ego has been yelling at me, "You have a negative net worth and you still have student loan debt, who are you to *help* others?!" & I started to believe that voice.
But opening up and bringing my fears to light is exactly what I need so that I can show up fully and authentically and serve the women who need me. Keeping these fears in has stopped me from being the best person, teacher, and coach that I could be. But no more.
My ego has made me believe that if (potential) clients knew I had debt and a negative net worth they wouldn't work with me. So yeah, I may not have clients after this but I'm okay with that.
Because at the end of the day, I'm still going to teach and talk about what I know. I'm still going to share my knowledge of money management, money mindset, and investing. I've busted my butt to learn these things and fully understand them and I really enjoy talking about them.
This stuff is exciting to me and I let social media back me into a corner where I feel like I have to be perfect and I have to show up perfectly and every single nickel and dime of my life as a Personal Finance Coach has to be perfect and I can't have debt and my net worth has to be $100k+ or else I don't know anything.
But that is simply not true.
I've been doing the exact thing I try to teach you *not* to do. I let my net worth define my self worth and my worth as a Personal Finance Coach.
What I've come to realize - my negative net worth does not take away from the fact that I am passionate about helping others with their financial journey. It does not take away my Accounting and Finance & Economics degree. It does not take away all the investing knowledge I gained while working at Vanguard. It doesn't take away the countless hours I've spent learning about personal finance and the economy via books, podcasts, college, and my professional career.
Just like your negative net worth doesn't define you or take away from any of your achievements, skills, hobbies, or interests - it doesn't take away from mine either.
So I'm setting aside my ego and laying out my net worth because that is only fair if I expect you to let me into your personal finances.
So here goes:
My current net worth is -$8,585. That's right, *negative* eight thousand five hundred eighty-five dollars.
But I'm so freakin proud of how much my net worth has grown in the past 2.5 years. That is the result of my knowledge in action.
Moral of the story: DO NOT LET YOUR NET WORTH DEFINE YOU.
You are so much more than your personal finances.
Thank you for allowing me to grow, learn, and share with you every day, Money Tribe!