Having funds reserved for an emergency, a plan for your expenses, and money you can put towards a goal all play a big role in your overall happiness and peace of mind.
By Jeffrey Veras, Financial Coach
Growing up in a household of first-generation immigrants, I had the responsibility of translating important documents for my parents from a young age. As I got older, I began to see firsthand how the lack of information and misconceptions about the financial system impacted my community.
I have over 60 first cousins who I speak to almost on a daily basis. Family is really important to me, and I take pride in us being a tight-knit group. I knew I wanted to be a driving force for change, so I first started “coaching” just by speaking to my parents, aunts, and uncles about things like credit, retirement savings, and banking options and meeting them where they were.
Working as an early childhood education teacher taught me a lot about patience and helped me become a better listener, which I implement in my coaching sessions and workshop facilitation. Also, my experiences leading parent-teacher conferences have helped me manage my time and deliver information and resources clearer to clients when meeting with them individually.
Buying a home and becoming a homeowner with my father was a pivotal moment in my personal finance journey. Through that process, I had to do a lot of homework and speak with a few professionals about loans, interest rates, down payments, home insurance, etc. It changed the way I view not only my personal finances but the financial system as a whole.
Now as a financial coach, I try to create a safe, judgment-free environment for my clients. My goal is to meet them where they are, helping to build a plan that’s suited to their life.
Often, my clients ask for guidance on budgeting. I usually recommend that they tie budgeting to a goal and advise them not to think of it as budgeting, but rather as a financial plan. This allows us to focus on things together like paying off debt, saving for an emergency, and a long term financial goal like buying a house or saving for their kid’s college.
One of my favorite client stories is coaching a single mother through a budgeting session. Changing her ideology of budgeting from “limitations” to “a plan” was really powerful! She quickly became a budgeting pro and paid off all of her debt in collections while at the same time increasing her savings. Most recently she went on a vacation with her family, something she stated she never saw possible prior to our work together.
Working with clients like her just reinforces my belief that financial health is a key factor in living a happy life. Having funds reserved for an emergency, a plan for your expenses and money you can put towards a goal all play a big role in your overall happiness and peace of mind. And I love being able to help my clients gain that peace of mind.