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  • Writer's pictureMichelle Kopp

Can I be honest?

Updated: Aug 18, 2022

I’m going to tell you a little secret. It might surprise you but it’s true. Ready? Accountants can have a hard time managing their money just like everyone else. Surprising huh?

In case you don’t believe me, I’ll give you a real-life example. Me!

Don’t get me wrong. I’ve tracked my money. I’ve always loved spreadsheets and numbers. Give me a spreadsheet and I smile. But just because I was tracking my money, it didn’t mean I was doing anything with that information.

While I was in college, I created a budget with, a free app that connects to your bank account, credit cards, loans, etc.

Did I have budget? Yes. Was I managing my money well? No.

So, after graduating with my accounting degree and obtaining my Certified public accountant license after school, I still had absolutely no idea how to manage my money. They don’t teach you that in accounting class… weird huh?

Now, at the time, I wasn’t struggling with money. I wasn’t living from paycheck to paycheck. But just because you have enough to meet your needs, doesn’t mean you are doing well with your money. I didn’t know where my money was going. I didn’t have any financial goals and wasn’t using my money in the best way that I could. I would spend without a limit. No plan. No goals. Nothing.

As I’ve come to learn, a budget is way more than numbers on a page. It’s about planning, discipline, commitment, and knowledge.

So, continuing with my story, I got my first credit card right out of college. I bought a car with a car loan, and of course I also had my student loans following me around.

Then I married my husband and all the debt just doubled. There was more income to go around, but also more expenses. I finally realized I couldn’t keep doing what I was doing. At this point my husband and I realized something needed to change.

Thankfully, I was introduced to Dave Ramsey’s program through my corporate job. If you haven’t heard of Dave, Google him. He’s awesome. I started listening to his YouTube videos and started getting motivated to get rid of our debt, actual follow a budget, and change our relationship with money.

It wasn’t easy, but we were both on board and were able to focus our efforts and work toward our goals using Dave Ramsey’s Baby Steps method. After moving to KCMO in 2017, we sold our house and finally paid off our last bit of debt. Now we were debt free, new state, new everything, and ready to start our next season.

However, the story doesn’t end there. Without the goal of being debt-free in front of us anymore, some old, bad habits came back. I found that using the “Everydollar” approach worked really well when you had a specific goal that you were working toward. But for us, after we became debt-free, we found it harder to stay on budget. We knew we had extra, so we would freely spend again, and our miscellaneous budget every month was way more than we budgeted for. Why? Because I wasn’t constantly looking at the budget. I wasn’t checking it because it wasn’t urgent anymore, and we didn’t stick to it. We didn’t keep ourselves accountable anymore. And with that, though we were meeting our needs, the lack of goals kept us from moving forward financially.

Sound familiar?

During this time, I realized a passion I didn’t know I had - helping people out of the struggle we once had and working as a financial coach. So, that’s when I began working toward building my business as a financial coach. I completed Dave Ramsey’s Financial Coach Master Training program. I also completed Kelsa Dickey’s Financial Coaching Academy program. It was during the latter training, that I learned a new method for budgeting, and I loved it! I planned on using it for my clients, so of course I tried it on myself. And do you know what? It works!

After all my years of school, being a corporate accountant, and getting out of debt myself, I finally found a system that works at any point in your financial life. The “Plan Ahead Method” that Kelsa teaches, and that I now teach my clients, is sustainable, effective, and life changing. I’ve experienced it myself.

One thing I’ll point out is that, though this might be the best method that I’ve seen, like most things, if you don’t stick with it, it won’t work. As a financial coach, I now have my own financial coach (keeping my clients accountable is a reminder to keep myself accountable too). If I didn’t have this, this method would just be another program that I tried, but then gave up on again. Accountability and commitment are what you need to make things happen with your money. I finally realized that, and I am not looking back. I’m moving forward, working toward a better future for my own family as well as my clients. So, let’s do this journey together!

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