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4 Things you can do to bounce back from a Comparison Hangover

Hey friends! I was on Facebook the other day and I noticed some struggle in one of the groups that I’m in. I’ve been in the group for awhile and I see pretty frequently people feeling badly about their perceived lack of progress in regard to all the wins.

It really breaks my heart when I see that people are in total overwhelm and they just wanna… Click To Tweet

What this really is about is comparing yourself to others. It’s a really slippery slope and it’s so easy to get caught up, unfortunately. If that’s something you struggle with, you have to be cautious about what kinds of things you consume when you’re not feeling so great. It’s tempting to go clicking around hoping to find someone to relate to, and that’s not bad, you’re just looking for confirmation that you’re not alone. But if you can’t find what you’re looking for, and all you see is success as you scroll down the page it can make you feel like you don’t fit in and that you actually are alone even though you’re not! And honestly, that feeling absolutely sucks.

I have been guilty of slipping and falling into this trap myself on occasion. I actually just did it yesterday! But here are some things I do to help pull myself out of the comparison trap. Maybe some of them will work for you:

1) Go on a content consumption freeze, and do it with the quickness! If I find myself in a not so great mood, I might be unconsciously looking for a reason or excuse to make things worse and self-sabotage. Sometimes, when you’re in your head it can seem like everyone around is winning but you. If you’re the kind of person who falls into this trap, consuming lots of that isn’t so helpful for you especially when you’re struggling. So take some time away from social media until you’re feeling like you’re back in the game. And don’t worry, the posts you  need to see will be there when you return.=)

Sometimes, when you're in your head it can seem like everyone around is winning but you. Click To Tweet


2) Turn off notifications! If going cold turkey isn’t within your realm of self control at the moment, turning off your notifications and uninstalling apps on your phone can help. I generally have my social media notifications turned off but when I’m in the comparison trap, I take extra care to make sure I won’t be tempted. You can always turn them back on later 😉

3) Do you have a Feel Good journal? I have one and it has done wonders! Whenever I’m in a good mood, I write myself a love note or congratulate myself for something I’m proud of. It was kinda weird at first, but then when I hit one of those days…those days where I’m being a dramatic millennial and I’m surely convinced that my life is going to fall apart from some mistake I made, I can read through my journal. And it’s amazing what it does for your mind when you give yourself a pep talk in your own words and it was authentic when you wrote it.

4) Reach out for support and connection!! Call your favorites, hang out with family, go for a walk with the dog, whoever you know you can feel connected to, find them! They can help get you out of your head and back in the game. And if you don’t have someone like that in person there’s plenty of ways to connect with people virtually and you’re welcome to connect with me! <3 It’s important to recognize these feelings as a need for connection. Not just to others but also to yourself. So take the time to give yourself what you need!

For those of you who are struggling to reach your goals, you take 2 steps forward and one step back, you’re scraping by, trying to start your life over after a rough divorce, etc The task you have chosen to complete is a challenge! So it’s very normal to struggle along the way. There will be days when the change you’re trying to make will seem insurmountable. There will be days where you doubt your ability to reach your goals. Those feelings are unavoidable. But you can get back on the horse and climb out the comparison trap, I know it!

Let me know, what do you do when you realize that you’ve been comparing yourself to others and it’s bringing you down? If this was helpful for you, share this with a friend and join my email list below so you can join the other Feel Good Friends!

Money shame sucks.

What I know about shame from personal experience is something I’m sure many of you have felt before as well.

Last night before bed, I was thinking about all of the financially broken hearted and discouraged people I encounter. I’m a member of many Facebook groups and I see it on posts all the time.

“I know I should know better and I’m really ashamed to have to admit that I have bad credit. I wanna buy a house for my family but I don’t know if I’ll ever get there. I really don’t know what to do…help?”

“I’m terrified to tell my fiancee about how much debt I have. What if she leaves me because of it?”

“I’m so dumb for thinking that I deserve a new car! I’m cutting everything out fun out of my budget and becoming a minimalist, because I should’ve known better and now I’m in debt up to my eyeballs.”

Then there’s the person in comment section poppin’ off about they’re stupid for buying what they did or accumulating the amount of debt they have, how they should’ve known better, they had no business making those mistakes, blah blah blah…

Have you seen that before? Have you experienced that in your own life?

When I see people taking that brave, so very brave, leap to speak their truth and they get verbally slapped for it. I get all in my feelings. What I see is someone who is absolutely fed up with feeling how they’re feeling and struggling to get by, but they need help. And they took a chance on themselves to get that help. That should be applauded! That’s HARD to do! And a large part of the reason people won’t ask for help is because of shame.

During my trials and tribulations of surviving millennial life, I’ve had more than my fair share of shameful situations. And I’ve learned a few things:

  1. Shame Hurts. And it hurts really badly and very deeply. Shame can make me sick to my stomach, it makes me not want to get out of bed, zaps my energy and kills my creativity. If I dwell in it long enough, I actually start believing the nonsense that goes through my head and it can really get me down in the dumps, can anyone relate?

2. Shame is easy. It’s so much easier to shame myself than deal with the possibility that someone else could shame me. So it’s easier to retreat and keep to myself and suffer in silence. And for a long time, I thought that was the right thing to do.

People would rather shame themselves and suffer in silence than risk being shamed by someone… Click To Tweet

3. Shame is contradictory experience. When I’m experiencing a bout of shame, what a really want is connection. What shame really is, as Brene Brown so eloquently put it, is a fear or disconnection and I definitely agree. And connection  really is the cure to shame. Being vulnerable and open with others, instead of hiding will help. Because you can get the support you need and start moving forward with your life.

Now, there is the caveat that you must be selective with who you choose to share your struggles with. But it’s the key to lifting that burden off of your shoulders. If you choose well, you will find a whole new way of connecting to yourself & others.

4. Shame can wreck your life and relationships. If you’re dealing with shame and you’re surrounded by people you’re terrified you can’t trust but you want to connect with, what are you to do? It’s totally natural to avoid those people. But what if those people are your family? Your spouse? Then what happens?

You’ll keep pushing them away because you’re too afraid to deal with the potential negative reaction you’ll get from them. And healthy relationships can’t thrive with expanding disconnection. You likely fear that they will take their love away from you, and that is a gut-wrenching terrifying experience.

All of this is to say that shame is fear based. Fear of judgement, losing connection and losing love from others. It’s part of the human experience, we all have our bouts with it from time to time. But if you’re drowning in shame and it’s ruling your life, it’s time to make a change!! Here are some things you can do to start working through shame you with financial situations or otherwise:

  1. Acknowledge that this is an issue for you. It’s not easy to admit this to yourself, but it’s a very important start.
  2. Start small with a journal, you don’t have to jump right into telling everyone your inner secrets. I wouldn’t recommend anyone do that unless you want to. But before you can tell the truth to others you have to be able to tell the truth to yourself. And if it’s hard, that’s okay and very normal. Just take your time.
  3. Commit to doing more self-compassion work so you can send more love to yourself consistently, especially when you’re feeling shameful. Then you’ll know if you make a poopsie and choose the wrong person to share your struggle, at least you know you have self-love to tuck you in at night.
  4. Be selective with who you share, but do share! You’re looking for compassionate people who will listen to you. Not people who will listen to make your struggle about them, but will really hear you and be there for you. But most importantly, don’t suffer in silence.
Don't suffer alone. Because you're not, friend. Click To Tweet

If you like to read, I highly recommend checking out Daring Greatly  by Brene Brown and Self-Compassion: The Proven Power of Being Kind to Yourself by Kristin Neff, PhD.

Shoot me an email if you need someone to talk to and work through this challenging issue with. Or if you already know this is an area that really burdens you, join the list below so I can give you more resources for success.

Mastermind Retreat Day 3

Day 3 of my Mastermind Retreat was bittersweet.

Looking back on the past few days, it has been quite the blur! But the most wonderful blur I could ever imagine. Don’t forget to check out my recap of Day 1 and Day 2, so you can get the whole experience!

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Photo Credit to Jillian Smith, One Touch Events LLC

I had never been to an all inclusive resort before so that was quite the experience! There’s food everywhere and I if there’s one thing to know about me, any time that food is involved is my favorite time of day. They had a delicious (and WAY too convenient lol) snack bar that had fresh fruit cups, baked goods, smoothies and juices you could order & scoop up as you pass by. And the answer is yes, I was eating all day long! I think my favorite was the zucchini bread. I never had before this weekend but my-oh-my, it was tasty! I like zucchini but it didn’t taste like it at all to me. Just moist and delicious!  We also had the very delicious dinner at a restaurant called Bob’s Steak and Chop House. The Happy Black Women took over the place, it was incredible!

Photo Credit to Jillian Smith, One Touch Events LLC
Photo Credit to Jillian Smith, One Touch Events LLC

My final takeaways:

  • Being a part of a group of such powerful and amazing women will help give me the support I need to take Feel Good Finances to where I dream it can go. No one can be successful all on their own, and I’m SO blessed to have these women in my life! Being a young black woman entrepreneur can be daunting, so to have a space where i can grow and be myself, is a such a wonderful thing.
  • This was my first retreat, and honestly I was super nervous about it!! It ended up being an incredible experience and I haven’t a single regret. Well…okay actually I didn’t get a chance to roast and get all “prune-y” in the hot tub, I do regret that =P
  • If building a business is something that you want to do or you feel like you have a business in your belly somewhere, you gotta go for it! It will undoubtedly be the beginning of one the craziest, stressful and most uncomfortable series of events you’ve encountered to date. But if your idea can help one person, even just ONE, then maybe you should really put some thought into it and make it a reality. Reach out to a someone that you admire and make a connection, and hopefully there’s space in their calendar for you two to work together!
  • Curious about what my fabulous friends are up to and what kinds of businesses they’re brewing behind the scenes? Check out our page on my mentor’s (Rosetta Thurman) site here. If any of them resonate with you, feel free to connect with them and say hello! Tell them Amber sent you <3


Mastermind Retreat Day 2: Creating with Clay

I finished Day 2 of my Mastermind Retreat and it was FUN!

We spent time doing some creative activities and I really enjoyed it. I have no idea what I made, but it was a thing. It’s pretty cute.

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Taking some time out to just be and get my hands dirty was really relaxing. I used to spend lots of time outdoors, working with yarn, painting, and sewing. I was able to reconnect to my inner child and we had a ball. I felt so in alignment to just be messing with my project and unwinding a bit.

As usual, I had some time to think about things (Like I always do, I enjoy thinking lol) and I had some thoughts to share. This website is called Feel Good Finances and my mission is to encourage & support people to make the changes they need to start doing the things they want to do with their money. In my ideal world, people are overcoming their emotional challenges with money so they can just use it as a tool to do the things they desire. For me, I used to struggle with spending on myself. I used to feel so guilty, bleh!

I would always think about the people who have less and all of the responsible things that I needed to do. So fun things fell by the wayside. One day I decided to flip the script and set aside some money for each paycheck to do fun things. I use the money to go to movies, go out dinner with friends, get myself some fancy socks, whatever I’m in the mood for. Really, what that was about is giving myself a chance to change my habits and do something different.

Fast forward to now and I’ve gotten much better at letting go of that issue. This weekend, I had that realization that I have made those changes in a HUGE way! I never imagined giving myself the opportunity to attend a retreat and do lots of fun activities, like creating a fancy coaster or whatever this is…lol

I hope you did something this past weekend that was fun, or relaxing. If you did, let me know what you’ve been up to in the comments below!

Don’t forget to check out my recaps of Day 1 and Day 3!


Mastermind Retreat Day 1

This is my very first time at a mastermind retreat and I’m thoroughly enjoying the experience. It was so cool to finally get to spend time with all of the other women in person since most of the time we are communicating online and via phone. I had a great time settling in and exploring the property a bit before settling into my room and connecting with my roommate. We had the best time staying up late and working on our businesses, it was the quite the experience! We had some time to take some pictures, and I wanted to introduce you to a few of my fellow mastermind members.

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Excuse my squinting, the sun was super intense in the desert! But this is Charlene and Angie. Both of these women have been such a pleasure to collaborate with and I’m so glad that we still have a few months together before our program ends.

Today we worked on branding, product and content creation. It was a loaded day of information but I really enjoyed it! It was fun to see how much we could get done in one day, but I’m very pleased with the progress that I have made so far.

My biggest takeaway from day 1 would have to be how much I enjoy getting to know people. Granted, I have been talking with these women for months, but there is something special about connecting with people face-to-face ad really getting to experience that person in real time. You know what I mean?

Let me know, who have you enjoyed spending time with lately?

Also, don’t forget to check out my recaps of Day 2 and Day 3 of the retreat!


4 Principles To Remember When We Make Money Mistakes

Whenever I make a mistake, money related or otherwise, I always come back to these 4 key principles to recenter myself and clear my mind to decide what the next move will be.

 

  1. Kindness: I feel like it it’s my duty as a human being to make an effort to be kind to others and leave them better than I found them. Especially the people who are challenging for me because they send out negative, angry or hurtful energy. In my experience, it’s often those people who need kindness the most. Of course it can be hard to put aside my own reactive feelings and take a step back to extend kindness. But, kindness is magical because it’s one of those things that you’ll never really run out of and it can’t cause harm. Here’s one of my favorite videos of Lady Gaga talking about kindness, I love what she has to say!
  2. Integrity: I keep my word and I highly value this trait in others. It’s not about being perfect and never making mistakes, cuz let’s be real no one is perfect. It’s about telling the truth when things go awry and doing my best to fix it. The other thing about integrity is that it’s not always the easy choice but it always works out for the best.
  3. Sincerity: I strive to be sincere in everything that I say and do. I truly feel that a person can tell truth, communicate and express themselves in a heartfelt place. Some may call it wearing your heart on your sleeve, but I call it just being me.
  4. Listening: It’s very important to me when people choose to share with me that I do my very best to really make them feel like I’m listening to them and they feel heard. Not in the way that I’m listening for what I should say in response, but I’m listening for the tone in their voice and how they might be feeling. I know how it feels to take a chance on someone and share my story only to realize that I’ve made a terrible mistake because that person didn’t care about what I needed to say. They were listening for what they wanted to hear instead of what I needed from them. Sometimes, a person just needs to vent and get things off their chest. They’re not always looking for advice or tough love. Have you ever been there before?

All of this really boils down to connection. I’m one of those people that wholeheartedly believe that people need to feel connected to others to thrive and live healthy lives. There’s different ways that this can manifest in our lives: the fulfillment we get from being part of a group, the way feel when we spend time with loved ones, or how we interact with our communities. I feel like connection is so critically important for us all to experience and know.

But Amber, what does this have to do with money?

Great question! Let’s talk about it.

We need kindness toward ourselves especially when we make mistakes with our money that causes friction in other parts of our lives. If you struggle to forgive yourself for missteps, how can you be expected to put yourself in the space of growth you need to recover from your mistake? Practicing kindness towards others is a good start for working towards being kinder to yourself.

We need integrity and sincerity to be honest with ourselves about how our mistakes occurred, and where we need to go to improve. As they say, the first step is admitting that there’s a problem. And there’s nothing wrong with having money troubles, it happens to the best of us. The really serious issue comes when we tell ourselves lies about how there are no issues, when everything is falling apart. Also we need to be able to tap into our heart spaces and be honest about what we need to move forward. Maybe it’s simple, like needing rest or food. But maybe it means that we have to step outside ourselves and get help to move forward. For some, that’s a very difficult task.

And lastly, listening is so important because we need people to really hear us. Especially when we’re struggling. Whether it’s shame, embarrassment, or sheer confusion, having someone who can really hear you and support you through that rough time. It’s nice to have someone who isn’t going to judge you and can listen to you from a compassionate space. As stressful and traumatizing as money challenges can be, they can be overcome. Having someone listen to you reinforces that you are not alone in your quest.

Let me know in the comments which one of these is most important for you, I’d love to hear your responses.

Love Always,

Amber

Looking for a course to help you start your own business?

Ready to launch your own business-

Earlier this year, I took a plunge and decided to invest in myself so I could build this business that I have have been dreaming of, but I had NO idea where to begin. That’s when I stumbled upon Rosetta Thurman’s Launch Your Business Bootcamp program and the game was in session. Fast forward 5 months later, and here we are. But, I realized that I never shared my story on how this blog and business came to be.

I want you to meet my new friend, Sarah Barbour.

She’s a book coach, a developmental editor and an author. She has worked with dozens of authors to help them turn their ideas into books. She also hosts a website for course reviews and I was fortunate enough to have an opportunity to contribute. You can check out the review of the program I took here.

If you’re interested in connecting & saying ‘Hi” (you should, who doesn’t love new friends?!) to Sarah, you can find her on Twitter, Facebook, or her website.

Have you ever considered starting a business or publishing a book? Comment below and let me know!

Debt and Deprivation

Debt and Deprivation

 

I often find myself falling victim to the negative discourse floating around about what people should and should not have when they’re working to overcome debt. Though I understand it, it also bothers me a great deal.

But let’s take a step back and set the scene. I read lots of blogs and social media posts about people’s personal financial journeys. I love reading the wins as it is great to virtually celebrate their progress and congratulate them for reaching their goals! But there are still many who struggle to master their finances and regain control of their lives. For those grappling to overcome debt, I see lots of shameful feelings about their past behavior and experiences. They’re drowning in guilt because they are in the situation in the first place. They are blaming themselves for making ill-informed or sometimes even uninformed choices that caused them to fall down.

But it’s so easy to forget that it happens to the best of us. 

Once people realize that there is a better way to handle their finances, people search for information and advice to help them start climbing out of debt. The advice is pretty simple: don’t spend more than you earn, avoid adding to your debt and reduce expenses where possible to increase payments toward your debt. Nothing wrong with that, it makes sense. You should pay back the money you owe because it’s the right thing to do.

So people begin their debt payoff journey and it’s all gravy until they get burned out. All of their efforts are focused on reducing expenses to bone and depriving themselves from the joys of life because they’re convinced that it’s the right thing to do. Some will turn off their heat in the winter, avoid going out with friends to get ice cream, buy poor quality food and spend hours clipping coupons (not gonna lie, I’ve done it and it’s pretty fun ^_^) because that’s what they have been told is right.

But, that isn’t right for everyone. 

The hard thing about blanket advice is that it’s easy to forget that you have to do what’s best for you. Not what’s working for your favorite Youtubers or what you saw on Facebook with a bunch of likes, what really works best for you. If you don’t think buying low-quality food to save money now is worth the potential long term cost to your health, then you should deviate. And you shouldn’t feel bad about it! It breaks my heart when I hear people say that they don’t deserve to have nutritious food, comfortable clothing, or a little bit of fun here & there. I so often see people feel bad for taking a break from the extreme deprivation to be a person and enjoy life. Throughout my financial journey, I always left money aside to go out to lunch and movie with my Grandma and go get sushi with my friends.

Truth is, I don’t know how long I will be blessed with these people in my life.

So if I decide to spend $10 to go have an adventure and make some memories, I’m not going to let someone convince me that it was wrong to do so. Spending time with loved ones and making memories is never a bad choice, at least for me!

I feel that everyone (okay, except maybe axe murderers & kidnappers…) deserves to live a full life with the means they have, to the extent they wish. It is my vision that we all have choices in life when it comes to our finances. We have choices of where we live, what kind of food we eat, lots of options for healthcare,  and how often we spend time with loved ones not if we spend time with them at all.

Of course, there are limits to this. It all comes down to staying within your means and making financial decisions that align with your core values and goals. For me, spending time doing activities with loved ones is incredibly important me. I don’t have to go on a weeklong trip to Hawaii to do that especially if I really can’t afford to. But I can go catch a matinee and have treat my grandma to breakfast.

What I’m not saying: if you choose to go balls-to-the-wall with your debt repayment strategy that you are ridiculous and people should not sacrifice at any level to meet their financial goals. (That kind of dedication to achieving your goals is admirable. It takes an incredible amount of discipline and focus to do that, good for you!)

What I am saying: extreme deprivation is not for everyone and we shouldn’t shame those who choose to seek more harmony in achieving their financial goals. We need to be honest with ourselves about what our needs are to live a life we enjoy, and resist the pressures to impose beliefs that don’t align with our values on ourselves.

Before you go: I’m curious, are you someone who can do the hardcore deprivation lifestyle to reach your goals or are you more of the harmonious type where you can cut back but still enjoy the journey?

Comment below and let me know!

Favorite Podcasts

4 Financial Podcasts You Should Check out!

 

I often get the question:

 

“Amber, which podcasts do you recommend for me to listen to so I can learn more about this finance stuff??” 

 

 

I am notorious for going on podcast binges while I’m cleaning or running errands. It’s great hear the voices of some of my favorite bloggers and see which celebrity guest will be on. Here is a list of my current favorite podcasts (in no particular order), check them out!

 

  • Martinis and Your Money by Shannon Lally McLay: What I love about Shannon’s podcast is her fun-loving spirit! My favorite episodes are her monthly “Happy Hour” episodes where her and her girlfriends Mrs. Frugalwoods, Melanie, and Tonya get together to talk money. There may or may not be lots of shade throwing and giggling. Her podcast is a great way to spend an hour on Fridays!

 

  • So Money by Farnoosh Torabi: If you have ever wondered what famous people and millionaires think about money? Farnoosh has incredible guests on her show! Some of my favorites were Tim Gunn, Hal Elrod, and Christine Hassler. She has a great series once a week called “Ask Farnoosh” where she will answer listener questions, I’ve had a few of mine answered on air! I love that she takes time to interact with her listeners even though she’s pretty big time. She’s a contributor to O Magazine and had a show on CNBC earlier this year called Follow the Leader. It’s a great show!

 

  • His and Her Money Show by Talaat and Tai McNeely: If you’re looking for motivating and inspiring debt elimination stories, this is it. Talaat and Tai have a great podcast if you’re struggling to overcome debt, this is a great resource for you! Not only that, they have a lot of great advice for those of you need advice for dealing with financial challenges in your relationship. Their tagline is “Managing money, marriage and everything in between”, and it’s most certainly true!

 

  • Profit Boss Radio by Hilary Hendershott: Hilary’s podcast is targeted towards women and has women as her guests which is a lovely take! I really enjoy her information packed episodes. She’s a Certified Financial Planner (CFP) and has over 15 years in the financial services industry so she really knows her stuff, especially when it comes to investments!

 

  • Money Girl by Laura Adams: If you need straightforward, simple and clear financial information, Laura is your girl! Her podcasts are quick, they average about 15 minutes so you can learn a bunch of information in a short amount of time. Also, she has hundreds of episodes at this point so if you have questions she most likely has an answer!

 

  • Serial: Okay, so this has nothing to do with personal finance. But, season one was on fire! Do you think Adnan killed Hae?! I hope they do a follow-up season so I can finally get answers!!

Comment below or tweet me to let me know which podcasts you to try out, and whether or not you think Adnan did it. I’m curious about your thoughts!

Financial Health Matters

What does financial health mean to me-

My interest in personal finance was sparked shortly after I began my first full time job after college, at an agricultural biotechnology lab. During that job I spent many, many months counting seeds by hand. One by one I counted tens of thousands of seeds. For a good while, I believed that was the best that I could do with myself. Then one day I told myself the truth and I realized that I wanted more out of life. I wanted to be able to travel, have adventures, try interesting new restaurants. I wanted to exercise those choices in a healthy and responsible way so I sought out to do just that.

I started devouring personal finance information and enjoyed the process of implementing the things I learned. I love learning about the fine details and how to make the most of the money I had. Even more exciting for me is learning about how to plan for the future. My journey has been one of excitement and allure. As I explored the online personal finance community, I realized that there are so many people in emotional despair due to their financial circumstances. It’s tragically heartbreaking for me to hear stories of people whose dreams have withered away and their hope lost in the wind because they lost control of their finances. There are so many issues and emotions wrapped up in money matters that aren’t being addressed, it’s no wonder so many people are struggling financially.

For me, financial health means the ability to make choices. It means being surrounded by opportunity and potential instead of being imprisoned by lack, negative emotions and obligations. One must be open to opportunity, forgiving of mistakes, ready to accept knowledge, and not be crippled by the fear of failure. Once I changed my mindset I was able to change my financial experience and I uncovered the power to engineer my life. As my knowledge expanded and my financial health improved, my life began to change in ways I never imagined were possible for me.

There are approximately 138 million Americans struggling financially, that staggering number equates to just over half of the population! Until that number is significantly reduced, there is much work to be done. There are so many underserved and under supported individuals in that need a partner in their walk toward better financial health. A partner that will travel the challenging journey with a spirit of forgiveness and education, not shame and judgement. We all have the potential to spend wisely, plan effectively, save more, and borrow responsibly.

With the right tools, information and support, each one of us can be financially healthy!