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A little bit about my financial journey and how I decided to become a Financial Coach...












Against my mother's wishes, I had begun saving up to buy a motorcycle for my 30th birthday.  At 27, I had three years to do it.  Shortly after turning 28, the company that I worked for closed and I was jobless and had been living paycheck to paycheck.  Saving up for that motorcycle turned out to be such a blessing because I ended up paying bills and buying groceries with that money.  That was my first of many times reaping the benefits of an emergency fund and it started me on the path of learning how to get out of living paycheck to paycheck.


I still got the motorcycle for my 30th.  In addition to buying the motorcycle, turning 30 brought two other events that ended up being life-altering. 


The first was by happenstance.  At a party, a friend of a friend of a friend mentioned the book Rich Dad, Poor Dad by Robert Kiyosaki.  I read it and a seed was planted.  I became reflective about what I'd accomplished so far as well as forward-thinking about what I wanted from life.  I knew that I wanted to achieve financial security and that led to a desire to know more about homeownership.  The very first thing that I learned was that mortgages were 30 years long and a downpayment was necessary.  Adding 30 years to my current age of 30 meant I would be 60 years old when I would finish paying the mortgage off, so 60 was looking hella bleak given that I didn't even have a penny of downpayment.  I know now that there are many mortgage options (although a lot of them are not advisable).


The second thing that happened was a break-up.  My ex-girlfriend and I split up the credit card debt.  I took half and she took the other half.  She got the car and I got my motorcycle.  I moved out and sublet a room while I got my stuff together.  Did I mention that I had absolutely no idea what we/I bought on those credit cards and that paying interest on B.S. is heart-wrenching?  I had no savings and I needed to make a decision about saving money vs paying off debt.  I decided to create a debt elimination plan and it was easy to decide which debt to pay off first. 


  • Here's what I did for the next 6 months 

    • Lived in a sublet with strangers from Craigslist 

    • Worked a second job

    • Read personal finance books from the library to learn how not to be broke

    • Rode my motorcycle as my only transportation - rain or shine

    • Ate nutritionally dense cheap food because everything had to fit into my backpack - NO POTATO CHIPS! I was definitely saving money on food.

    • Packed lunches for work 

  • This was my payday routine

    • Paid all non-credit card bills 

    • Went grocery shopping on the motorcycle

    • Filled my gas tank 

    • Left $10 in my account (as an emergency fund)

    • Paid down credit card debt

    • Rinsed and repeated 2 weeks later


It didn't take long at all before I began to see the benefits of being financially responsible.  Instead of beating myself up for my past money mistakes, I was hopeful for a future of living debt free.  At some point, I realized that if I could be so disciplined to pay off stupid debt then I could be even more diligent when the script was flipped and I began saving for myself.  As my career in Operations, Supply Chain and Logistics progressed, I remained focused on my dreams of debt free living. Once that milestone was reached, I directed any new money from raises, bonuses and tax refunds towards investing in order to create multiple streams of income. 

















I really enjoyed what I was learning and I started to share with my close friends how to start saving money.  In fact, in 2004 my new girlfriend and I began a true partnership in terms of money and became budget buddies to hold each other accountable.  In 2013, we married and continued our journey of building towards a financially free future. Not only did we buy our first home, but we now own multiple properties. In addition to real estate, we also invest in and trade stocks. 


The more that I learned, the more I shared with my friends and became an unofficial financial coach to many of them.  With encouragement from my friends, I am following my passion in a bigger way and I launched my business. 


Looking back and knowing what I know now, I would not recommend such a strict spending plan to any of my clients although I would support them if they chose that path.  Like many people, I was doing the best with what I knew and I knew next to nothing.  I've since learned that a budget does not have to be so restrictive and it is really a spending plan that is a reflection of one's values and goals.  My budget has basically become part of my inner journey of discerning my needs from my wants.  One of the things that I discovered is that I need to purchase appreciating assets waaaaay more than I want to buy depreciating liabilities. That mindset led that 30-year old to the current me who is on track to have the option to retire early. In 2019, I turned 47 and I have a job that I will never want to retire from. 






I hope the way you spend your money is in line with the truth of who you are and what you care about.  I hope that your money brings joy to you and the ones you love. And I hope you use it as a powerful force for good to fulfill your best intentions."

- Oprah Winfrey


Terry Banks Financial Coach
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This was my last ride in 2016 before I sold my 2001 Kawasaki w650.

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