The Journey

I’ve talked openly on this blog and with the members that I counsel about my own messy financial background. I come to counseling from a history of debt, stress, and all the other yucky things that we associate with bad finances.  But, as I have also shared, I experienced a huge turnaround in my financial life when I received the education I needed about how to manage my finances properly. I set about implementing the Four Pillars into my financial life and I turned things around. Once I did, my life journey took a number of interesting turns, including a recent one…

I was first introduced to the idea of financial counseling by Jim and Tina Aho. I met them when they were doing a consultation at the credit union regarding a particular philosophy of credit union member management they call “Membercentrics,” which, in a nutshell, is all about trying to best figure out what the member needs and how the credit union can best meet those needs, helping them have a healthier financial life than prior to membership.

At the time, I was in grad school working on a degree in Mental Health Counseling, intending to go into that field once I graduated. But as I left that first consultation with the Ahos (one of a few with them the credit union has had in my time here), I had a whole other idea in my head for the path I wanted my professional life to take. I wanted to get into financial counseling, instead. I wanted to work with people to more easily sort out the things in their financial lives that I had learned the hard way how to sort out in my own. Jim and Tina showed me that it was something I could do professionally and I’ll always be grateful for that jog in my path.

I immediately and passionately dedicated myself to my new plan. During the next few months’ time, I took a break from grad school to work on my financial counseling certification through CUNA and I had switched the course of my Master’s Degree to Counseling Studies, dropping the focus on mental health. I was knowingly giving up a broad, stable career path for a niche profession but I felt called to do it. I don’t regret answering that call. I’ve been counseling our membership for over two years at the credit union and I have done my best to be able to educate, inspire, and support our membership to live out healthy financial lives. Like I’ve said, I’ve been on the other side of things and I know how good some motivation, education, and a good skill set can be toward getting control and finding peace.

I share all of this because my path has experienced another jog. I have accepted an offer to continue financial counseling for another entity. I am grateful for and appreciative of my time at the credit union. I have learned a lot about myself and my profession here; but the opportunity elsewhere was just too great to pass up. The Journey continues.

I’m not sure what will happen going forward for this blog. I’m not even sure what the credit union’s plans are to fill or replace my counseling position. But I do know that, as of Tuesday, the 12th, the blog will either be finished or it will be on hold until someone else picks up the writing reins.

Thanks for reading here. I hope you will continue to invest in yourselves and in your financial lives and I hope that the work you put in will reward you greatly. Be Well. 🙂

Recognizing Achievements

thumbs upWhen I logged into WordPress today to work on “Be Well,” I noticed two things: 1) Yesterday, I had a record number of views for a single day (by a long shot, too); and 2) “Be Well” had passed 1,000 views. Pretty exciting times! I’m not sure what expectations I had when I started this project but 1,000 views in six months’ time seems like a nice target to have hit.

There’s a financial life lesson to be learned from this, too, I think. I think it’s important to recognize and celebrate your achievements. When you pay off a loan, that’s a big deal. When you get to the end of your first day or first week of your new expense tracking plan and have tracked and logged all your expenses, that’s a big deal. When you save up your first $100 or first $1,000, that’s a big deal. You work hard to change your financial life. Allow yourself the chance to celebrate it.

If you’re a regular reader, thanks so much for contributing to the early success of this blog. All those views help validate the time and energy that goes into it. If you find what you read here valuable, please tell other people about it. I’m already looking forward to that next 1,000 views. 😉

A Word of Encouragement

walking-into-sunshine“Be Well” is just about a month old now and eight posts in to what I hope will be a long, educational road. If you are reading this, thank you for taking the time to stop by here. If you find what you read here to be useful and/or beneficial to your financial life and financial health, please invite others to read here, as well.

When I’m counseling people, I share with them that I come to this line of work from what I call a “checkered” financial past. In all transparency, I was a total mess. I was a reckless overspender who did so without either thought or a plan. I know what it’s like to have utilities turned off. I know the weight of carrying a mountain of debt. I even know what it’s like to have your car repossessed (hint: it’s not fantastic.) Though I can’t relate to everything that every, single person might be going through, financially, I certainly feel like I can relate to a lot of it.
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welcomeWelcome to “Be Well,” the Financial Wellness Advocacy blog for Northern Communities Credit Union in Duluth, MN.  We will be posting financial thoughts and education here every week, so please consider spending some time with us regularly.

Financial Advocacy is a free service to our membership.  There are a lot of different aspects to Advocacy, including helping people create and work from budgets, controlling spending, repairing credit, strategizing debt, and more.  If you would like help, advice, direction, etc., on a personal basis, please consider calling our Financial Wellness Advocate, Dan, at 279-3216 and setting up an appointment.

In the meantime, welcome to our new blog.  We hope this will be of benefit to you and we invite you to share your feedback with us, including your comments on our posts.

Your journey towards a happier, healthier financial life begins today.