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I remember it like it was yesterday.
I was sitting at a coffee shop, and my mind wandered to its familiar place: anxiety around money. My heart became heavy and everything started to feel like it was closing in on me. How did I always end up here? I was at the end of my rope. I had to make a change.
I looked down at the napkin in front of me, grabbed a pen, and decided to make a resolution. I wrote down the biggest financial goal I could think of:
“I will be debt free in five years.”
I only half believed it as I wrote. As a recent college grad and newlywed, my $30,000 debt balance—plus my memories of a financially stressful childhood—made this napkin goal feel way out of reach.
But at that moment, six years ago, I was tired of trying to keep my financial goals “realistic.” Tired of spending the first year of my married life arguing about student loans on the phone during my lunch breaks. Tired of bursting into tears at every financial inconvenience, like my health insurance deductible increasing or a cashier rejecting my ice cream coupon.
Becoming debt free was the biggest thing I could dream to do with my money.
It turns out that my napkin goal was more within my reach than I realized.
And in reality, many financial goals are—we just have to make a few shifts in our life to start seeing progress.
Keeping my resolution at the forefront of my mind, I decided to take control of my financial journey by enrolling in an inexpensive online course, reading books, and gathering whatever free information I could find on the internet.
Nicole Stanley, a mother of two, went from debt and stress to a net worth of $250,000+ on an average annual salary of $56,000.
Although it was more painful than glamorous, things began to change for me after that napkin moment. I started hitting small financial goals and then moved onto much bigger ones, gaining financial confidence along the way. In the midst of this process, I bought a home to flip and sold it for a profit, gave birth to two beautiful babies, started a business during a global pandemic, and built our retirement accounts past the six-figure …….