I’m a nationally recognized personal finance expert and author of multiple books and audiobooks, including Money Girl’s Smart Moves to Grow Rich (St. Martin’s Press). I wrote this fun, comprehensive guide to personal finance in plain language to help readers understand the terminology, tactics, and attitudes that lay a foundation for smart financial decisions.
The book won the prestigious 2011 Excellence in Financial Literacy Education (EIFLE) Award from the Institute for Financial Literacy, which was one of the biggest honors of my career. It was a springboard into doing media work and reaching a global audience.
My newest book, Debt-Free Blueprint: How to Get Out of Debt and Build a Financial Life You Love, launches this year with detailed tips, strategies, helpful examples, and overlooked programs to eliminate debt and the stress that comes along with it. But you might be surprised that I didn’t set out to become a personal finance writer.
I’ve always enjoyed managing money and couldn’t wait to get my own checking account as a young high school kid. But as I got older and went out on my own, I discovered that I had a lot to learn about money.
I grew up in South Carolina, raised by entrepreneurial parents with deep roots in the South. They sent me to the college of my choice, The University of the South, a small, liberal arts school in Sewanee, Tennessee.
After graduation, I fell into the trap that so many people do: living above my means. I rented apartments that I couldn’t afford, spent too much on vacations, and became a shopaholic.
Later on, I brought my credit card debt into my marriage. As we unpacked big cardboard boxes and started to fill our only bedroom closet, my husband asked, “So exactly how many pairs of shoes do you have?” It was obvious that my shopping habit would put a squeeze not just on our closet space but on our finances as well.
After getting extremely anxious about our growing credit card balance, we made a commitment to cut way back and slowly pay off the card. I’ll never forget the feeling of accomplishment we had after making the final payment.
Since then, my passion for spending has turned into a passion for saving, investing, planning, and every aspect of personal finance. Over the years I became a serious student of finance through many books, gurus, advisers, and eventually graduate school. I received my MBA from the University of Florida in Gainesville.
I accrued so much financial knowledge that I wanted to share it–but in everyday language that the average person could understand. Around that time, I discovered and fell in love with podcasts, and started my own show in 2007. The following year, I was invited to join the Quick and Dirty Tips Network (QDT) as the host of the Money Girl Podcast and blog.
As Money Girl, I get all kinds of questions from people who want to take control of their finances but just don’t know how. The show has been downloaded more than 40 million times. All those loyal listeners have given me the inspiration to create more than 550 weekly episodes.
My career has been diverse. I’ve worked in accounting and real estate, owned my own floor- covering business, consulted and trained for a Fortune 100 company, and been a COO for a small company. Podcasting has been a springboard to new opportunities such as book deals with leading publishers, blogging, coaching, and speaking.
I’m passionate about working as a spokesperson, analyst, and consumer advocate to promote important financial topics in the national media. Since 2013, I’ve completed more than 2,000 live and taped interviews with national TV and radio show hosts, news reporters, and print and online journalists.
My specialty is partnering with brands as a media personality and finance expert to amplify their messages through satellite media tours (SMTs), video news releases (VNRs), audio news releases (ANRs), events, influencer marketing, and content creation.
My mission is to help over 100 million consumers and students live richer lives through my podcasting, speaking, writing, spokesperson, and advocacy work. As our financial landscape changes, I’ll continue to break it down and explain it in plain language, so making smart decisions and taking action is easy.
Above all, my goal is to inspire you to create personal freedom. When you have knowledge, choice, and independence, you’re truly in a position to Live Rich and Love the Journey!