Financially Capable: A Friendly Guide to Building Whole-Health Wealth
Vernon Street Publishing, 2023
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Confront your financial stress head-on with a guide that will change the way you think about money! A financial education specialist offers tips for creating a realistic budget, growing your savings, managing debt, and more — so you can enjoy a prosperous future.
Matt Paradise, a renowned financial education specialist, has empowered more than 100,000 people to pay their debts, improve their credit, and save money so they can achieve their goals.
Have you ever felt financial stress? If so, you’re not alone. In fact, you’re very much like me, your neighbors, and many others who have experienced challenges while just trying to get through life. A new study from Capital One found that 77% of Americans feel anxious about their financial situation. Under the effects of stress, people struggle to save and budget, feel less in control and are more impulsive in how they spend their paycheck.
Adulting is challenging. Financial education is useful, but knowledge is only one piece of the pie. Psychological aspects of personal finance still plague most of us. My computer is full of development courses I bought and never went through; unread books are collecting dust on shelves; and items here and there, which seemed like “must haves”, but end up donated or thrown away. Let’s not get started on barely used gym memberships, subscriptions for never-watched TV, and forgotten food wasting away in the fridge behind the milk.
Not so fun fact: the average American family wastes one-third of the food we buy, equaling 133 billion pounds and an estimated value of $161.6 billion. To address the problem, the US government created the 2030 Food Loss and Waste Reduction Goal. The goal seeks to cut food loss and waste in half by the year 2030.
That’s a lot of money being thrown away. You might be one of the few who never wastes food. Please share your secrets. The rest of us had good intentions before the spinach became slimy and the zucchini inedible. I know my discipline needs improving.
Maybe you’re like Jennifer who tried to ignore stress in order to maintain her sanity. Every bill she received in the mail went straight into the trash because, as she said, “It was just more bad news.”
Zheng was a young college student who struggled to understand the US economic system. It stressed him out because he heard employers consider credit reports when hiring and he didn’t have any credit.
John, a high school sophomore, helped his family pay rent. Despite not knowing how to budget, John wanted to spend time with friends, and had difficulty balancing school and life.
Maybe you can relate to Kevin and Julisa, who wanted to move into a stable home and neighborhood with their newborn baby. The bank denied their loan because their debt-to-income ratio was too high. Kevin was freelancing and unable to show enough steady income for the mortgage. It devastated them.
Katie was a single mom, stressed over how to give her son the best life possible. Every time she tried to save money, she turned around to find that Travis had grown out of his clothes. There was always something to buy. More food. Sports fees and uniforms. New hobbies. The expenses seemed endless. It felt impossible to save.
Alicia was a master’s degree graduate working in a homeless shelter. Student loan debt, a low social services wage, and the high cost of living burdened her. She shared about the emotional roller coaster of entering a career to help people while being a paycheck away from needing the same help she provided.
For military service members, a negative credit history can be career-ending. I’ve seen financial worries terrify teenage recruits and also Stephen, a high-ranking officer, needed help to manage his debt and household expenses.
The government considers financial capability essential to national security. According to National Security Guidelines, “Failure to live within one’s means, satisfy debts, and meet financial obligations may indicate poor self-control, lack of judgment, or unwillingness to abide by rules and regulations, all of which can raise questions about an individual’s reliability, trustworthiness and ability to protect classified or sensitive information.”
The ability to manage money helps people function in society, survive in a world of challenges, and even build dream lives. Here is an unfortunate truth: personal abilities do not always determine outcomes.
The gap between the rich and poor has increased significantly over the last few decades. The Statista Research Department reported in 2023 that 68% of the total wealth in the United States was owned by the top 10 percent of earners. In comparison, the lowest 50% of earners combined only owned 3.3% of the total wealth. . Many strive to build wealth, but income inequality makes it difficult.
While knowledge alone won’t eliminate disparities, the facts and examples in this book can improve understanding about economic history and the world of personal finance. By utilizing the “each one teach one” practice we can improve our finances, share information to help loved ones, and build powerful thriving communities.
I’ve had the pleasure of helping the people in the examples above, and many more. I’ve wiped their tears and calmed their anxieties. We worked together, found solutions, and they reached seemingly impossible goals. I can help you too. Guaranteed. That’s why I wrote this book.
Stress affects all of us. It’s not confined to a race, background, or socioeconomic status. We all want financial security. We work hard. But when stress becomes overwhelming, our situation can seem hopeless. Sometimes we all need help to determine the next best step toward a more hopeful life.
Stick with me, and I’ll show you how you can reduce money-related stress and reach financial goals you never thought were possible.
I can help you learn:
- How values, mindset, and behaviors affect your finances
- How to develop a budget that works for you
- How to grow your savings
- How to avoid predatory loans, scams, fraud, and identity theft
- Strategies for building wealth and living a rich life
- Practical tips to help you manage debt and improve your credit score
This book is filled with the collective knowledge and wisdom from my own life and from the many people who taught me—mentors and clients alike. The wisdom written on these pages is from decades of teaching hundreds of workshops and coaching, counseling, and educating over 100,000 wonderful people.
The Latin phrase Docendo discimus applies to personal finance. It translates to “we learn from teaching.”
I’ve had the benefit and joy of speaking with people from all stages in life. I’m always fascinated by the curious minds of young children and the humility of the elderly. My expertise isn’t because of personal brilliance. My understanding of the financial world has come to life through listening to the knowledge, wisdom, and experiences of others.
Becoming financially capable is an ever-evolving journey. As Michelle Obama herself said in her bestselling memoir Becoming, “I see it instead as forward motion, a means of evolving, a way to reach continuously toward a better self. The journey doesn’t end.”
Thank you for joining me on this learning adventure.