Talking About Money Makes Me Sick

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Talking about money and personal finance makes me sick -- literally. I once threw up before a trip to H&R Block to get my taxes done. And I typically get a refund! 

When I was growing up my parents had very little money. We were no stranger to eviction notices or having the gas or electric services turned off. And money woes often led to heated disagreements in our household. 

Today I am a proud homeowner and my bills are always paid on time, and yet I still don't want to talk about money -- EVER. 

Enter Tracie B. Threadford

Tracie B. Threadford, my money makeup artist

I met Tracie through See Jane Write, the Birmingham-based organization for women writers and bloggers that I run. She wanted me to help her start a blog. Judging by her perfectly shaped eyebrows and luxurious lip color, I figured her site was going to be about makeup

But turns out Tracie has another passion -- personal finance. And she wanted this to be the topic of her blog. So I stocked up on Pepto Bismol and decided to help her launch her site

Tracie's story fascinated me. 

When she was 23 she was married with five children under the age of 8. She and her husband had good jobs making decent money but were absolutely broke and drowning in debt. 

"Most months our bank account was $300 in the red," she told me one day as we were working on her blog's About page. 

Eventually, Tracie had to declare bankruptcy. 

"I sat in my attorney's office and cried because I felt like a failure," Tracie said. 

But as she left her attorney's office that day she vowed that she and her family would never be in this situation again. "As I drove home," she said, "I devised a plan." 

Tracie worked in the banking industry at the time and grew up learning about personal finance. "I took all the financial education I received from my grandmother and from my co-workers at the bank and began to put it into action," Tracie said.

Tracie developed a budget and spending plan for her family. She and her husband started saving money and paying off debt. And they got serious about investing. 

Today Tracie can boast that she pulled up her credit score from 420 to 740. She eliminated over $50,000 in debt in three years and she and her husband have built a nice nest egg for retirement. She's even saving money for her grandchildren's college education. 

On her blog, Tracie has dubbed herself a "money makeup artist," but I call her my financial role model. Tracie is showing me that your financial past doesn't necessarily have to determine your financial future. She's taught me the importance of having a budget and even has me more interested in investing. 

In fact, I recently signed up for an account with the investment app, Personal Capital and took some time to check out the retirement planning calculator. Let's just say I have some work to do.

But thanks to Tracie, my money makeup artist, thinking about the work ahead doesn't make me feel nauseated. It actually gets me excited. I'm looking forward to the future, confident it will be a future of financial freedom.

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