This is the story about my financial path and why I became a financial coach.
How It All Started
My interest in personal finance started when I was young.
I remember having conversations with my dad about saving and investing money as I grew up. He was so passionate about personal finance that he wanted to share his knowledge with me.
Creating Savings Habits
I also remember my family asking what I wanted for my birthday. I would always answer that I didn’t need anything. Thus, they would give me cash so that I could buy whatever I wanted. But, any money that was given to me would end up in my savings account.
At the time I didn’t even know why I was saving this money, but it felt like the right thing to do.
My College Hacks
My financial path really started through college when I started to make money and pay for my expenses.
I started to work part-time during the weekends and holidays to cover my expenses. I would use this money to pay for food, gas, or going out with friends. Meanwhile, the money that was left would go to my savings account.
I was fortunate enough that my college was close to where I lived, so I didn’t have to spend on rent money.
After a few weeks in college, I began to think about how I could reduce my expenses. I didn’t want to jeopardize my social life, so I started to look into my lunches.
At the time I ate at the cafeteria every day, and the food was a bit pricy. I realized that it would be cheaper to buy my lunches from a grocery store. As a result, I was able to reduce my food expenses by half.
I also realized that the lineups were crazy during lunch hours. There weren’t a lot of options, so people would wait in line for 30 minutes to get a sandwich. I decided to buy extra food and sell it to my classmates. I was making enough money to eat lunch for free.
Saving On My Student Loan
I went to a private school in Paris for my master’s degree. It was one of the top computer science schools and also one of the most expensive ones.
To get my masters, I had to study there for three years. I couldn’t cover their education fees with the money I saved, so I had to get a student loan.
Fortunately, I had heard about a specific student loan program sponsored by the French government. They created it for masters students to help them pay for their college fees. In addition, the first loan payment was due only after graduation.
I also found out that the loan interest rate was lower than what I could get from my savings account. So, I applied for the highest amount I could get from the bank, and I invested the money in my savings account.
Another thing I did was to make a deal with my college administration. Instead of paying the college fees at the beginning of the year, I would pay them at the end of the year. It allowed me to invest and grow the money loaned to me before having to pay it back.
Bay Area Internship
My financial path accelerated during my internship. My college required all its students to get experience abroad. It could either be a college semester or an internship.
After sending out many resumes to Canada and the U.S., I finally got my internship opportunity in the Bay Area.
During those six months, I lived as a minimalist to save money. My goal was to pay back my student loan as soon as possible. The only purchases I made were a mattress and a bike, so I could get to work without paying for transportation.
At the end of my internship, I had saved enough money to pay for half of my student loan. But since I still had a few months before my first loan payment, I transferred it all to my savings account.
My First Full-Time Job
After my internship, the only thing I wanted was to go back to California to work. Thus, after a few weeks of looking for an opportunity and interviewing, I got a job at a big tech company. Since they had an office in Paris, I was able to start working in France while waiting for my U.S. visa.
Once again, I got lucky that the Paris office was close enough to where I lived, so I didn’t have to pay for rent. For those few months, my goal was to save enough money to pay off my loan before coming to the U.S.
I enrolled in all my company benefits to make extra money, and before leaving France, I was debt-free.
Learning About U.S. Finance
After arriving in the U.S., one of the first things I did was go to the bank to open a savings account. The low-interest rate that they were offering, surprised me. It was 100 times less than what I could get in France.
During my first week at work in the U.S., I got overwhelmed by the financial choices I had to make. There were way more options to choose from than when I was living in France.
I had to choose my benefits without understanding what I was doing. So, I invested in my 401k by randomly choosing mutual index funds.
I made a lot of mistakes at first because it was hard to find the right information needed to make the right choices. That is when I dedicated the next few years to understand everything I could about U.S. finance.
Why I Became A Personal Finance Coach?
As you can see, finance has always played a big part in my life. I’ve always loved to learn and share my financial knowledge with friends and family. Whenever they had any questions, they knew who to ask.
That is why I started my financial path to coaching. I wanted to help people understand more about their finances, so that they won’t make the same mistakes that I did.
Whatever your financial goals are, I will assist you and we will tackle them together. My personal goal is to help you make more out of your money. So if you are interested, check out my financial services page.
In conclusion, all the decisions we make everyday contribute to our financial path. It doesn’t matter how many mistakes we made, we need to keep pushing and learning so we can improve our finances.
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By Marco Carreira
I am a financial coach who helps people make more out of your money. My goal is to teach my clients about the best financial strategies so they can make better decisions.