I was freelancing away, growing a baby and waddling along the streets of North West London, happily posting Instagram snaps of flowers in winter, coloured doorways, cute bikes with baskets, café views and other Euro moments that made me happy.
I had been toying with the idea of the ‘business of being creative’, drawing, designing, writing and photographing my experiences and feeling inspired to help others who were also creatives, freelancers and solo-preneurs.
But right before I had my son, I did a complete 180 and said nope, I need to help women in general. With money. Even though I have no experience as a money coach/financial advisor/accountant.
Call this my prenatal hormones but I couldn’t let it lie.
Maybe it’s because I married an accountant.
My personal story and the reason why I want to help these women so badly is one that I have been struggling to express, as I was trying to remain emotion-free in business. But here I am sharing it in the public domain even though it makes me feel queasy.
The short version:
I was this close to not having the life I have today.
Complete with loving husband, toddler son, Irish in-laws and many new friends in Australia and Europe – all because of my lack of financial literacy. More specifically because of my student debt, feelings of overwhelm and acceptance of things as they were, instead of holding a belief I was capable of making things happen for myself.
The long version:
Back in 2011, I was getting ready to graduate in Australia where I had moved from Canada a year earlier without knowing a soul. Over the past year, I had managed to obtain my Degree, an Irish boyfriend, Chris, and a mountain of student debt. But I was barely scraping by, my student visa was about to expire and I didn’t have job interviews lined up after graduation, let alone a future life plan. I thought the writing was on the wall: I would have to leave Brisbane, break up with Chris and head back home feeling like a complete failure, broke and alone.
But as well as being my boyfriend, Chris was also an accountant and had moved countries before. He reasoned with me that if Australia’s economy was similar to Canada’s, surely I could get a job, return on a temporary work visa and start paying down my student loans. In my eyes it was a risky strategy, but the other alternative was ending our relationship, packing my bags and starting back at square one. He helped me realize it didn’t need to be so hard and encouraged me to invest in myself, working with me to change my mindset around money and paying down my debt.
Fast forward to today, Chris and I have been married for over four years, have a wonderful son, Ethan, and just bought our first home in Canada. I paid off my student loans in Australia and married the one – that almost got away – before we spent the next few years living, working and traveling in Europe. We celebrated major life milestones and were present for moments that matter, without the financial burden I had been carrying around.
Since having our son in London, I became focused on the issue of financial literacy amongst women. I kept seeing and hearing from other women in debt experiencing a similar lack of confidence around their personal finances and holding self-limiting beliefs. “When I can afford it, some day when I don’t have as much debt, I don’t think I’ll ever be able to”…resigning themselves to accepting instead of changing their personal situation. I now have a better grasp on my own personal finances and have seen the impact financial freedom can have on your choices, your outlook and your life.
That’s why my mission is to help women in their 20’s and 30’s who are in debt to improve their financial literacy, self-confidence and earning potential because I believe everyone deserves to design and create a life that works for them and their family.
A few things my student debt and lack of financial literacy almost got in the way of:
Why does this matter? I can no longer sit and nod blankly, smiling empathetically, as others describe their money dilemmas, frustrations with finances or perceived limitations. I don’t know everything and I’m committed to learning as I go for the long haul.
But I do know this: I want to share my experiences, encourage them to invest in themselves and start improving their situation. Because having someone who believes in you, supports what you’re doing and holds you accountable can make all of the difference in your life. It can change your current reality and your future plans.
I also strongly believe financial literacy is for everyone but at the moment, am focusing on designing products for women and a community exclusive to them.
So I have a few favours to ask of you:
#1) If you’re a woman in your 20s or 30s in debt and are available for a 30 minute chat, please book a call online here.
#2) If you aren’t a woman or you don’t have debt and feel like you’re on a good path with your financial and life goals – BUT you know of women in your life who fit the above criteria – please share this post with them.
*The book is still in progress but planned to be published in Fall 2017 in time for Financial Literacy Month in Canada.
In the meantime, everyone is welcome to:
- Subscribe to the launch list
- Read about my experiences at Google’s Campus London Startup School
- Read about the book idea and what I’m writing about
- Follow Her Best Life on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram
Thank you for reading, I’m looking forward to hearing what you have to say!
Founder, Her Best Life