Nathan and I enjoyed our wedding so much more, knowing that we paid for it in cash and wouldn’t be bringing extra debt into our marriage. Currently, we are debt-free besides our mortgage, but we are well on our way to paying off our home in the next 5-8 years after purchasing it in August of 2019.
I was born and raised in Richmond, Virginia and moved back to Richmond after graduating from James Madison University with my Bachelors degree in Communication Studies. While at JMU, I ran the largest fundraiser on campus, Relay For Life of JMU, which raised over $235,000 in one year for the American Cancer Society.
After graduating from college, I got my first real job working in nonprofit fundraising, where I made $34,000 a year and thought I was rich! (At least, I acted like it by the way I spent money!) Unused to having a steady income, I quickly got sucked into unhealthy consumer spending habits, purchasing a brand-new car for $18,300 (over HALF of my annual salary!) and going on regular shopping trips on the way home from work to “build my professional wardrobe.” I exclusively spent money on credit cards and had no idea how to budget. Thankfully, my parents had taught me to always live within my means, so I luckily never spent more than I made, and I paid my credit card off in full every month. Still, I was a slave to my credit card “rewards,” trained to think that by spending more that I could earn more. (I kick myself thinking of how much money I could've saved in those first two years, had I been disciplined with my money!)
After realizing that my nonprofit salary and my spending habits wouldn’t allow me to move out of my parents’ house, I decided on a career change and started working for a staffing firm in recruiting, where I made a low salary but had unlimited commission potential based on my effort. Thankfully, my parents had instilled in me a very strong work ethic, so it was the perfect job for me, and I did very well financially. I got promoted into an outside sales role quickly and busted my tail for 7 years, always exceeding my base salary from commissions and bonuses. During my sales career, I had the opportunity to manage a multi-million dollar staffing budget for one of my clients, allowing me to practice intentional budgeting on a large scale.
In 2017, I got engaged and was personally debt-free, since my parents had paid cash for my college education, but my fiancé had over $70K in student loan debt that absolutely terrified me. He was what you would call “normal.” I had just discovered Dave Ramsey and advised my fiancé on the debt snowball, and he got to hustling, working six (yes, six!) jobs to aggressively start paying off his student loans. We also had the intimidating task of paying for our wedding almost entirely by ourselves. We were determined not to start our marriage with a mountain of debt, so we turned to Dave Ramsey’s proven program as a roadmap. Over the course of the next 18 months, we cash-flowed and paid off over $97,000 worth of debt and expenses, including a new-to-us car for my husband, our wedding, our honeymoon, and his student loans.
After paying off all of our debt and expenses, I was inspired to help other people achieve the same financial independence that we achieved, so I went through Dave Ramsey’s Master Coach Financial Training program. We live in a society in which debt is marketed to us in almost every aspect of our lives, and I am passionate about teaching people some foundational behavior changes that can make a long-lasting positive impact on their lives and help them accomplish both short-term and long-term goals.
Why Hire Me?
I know how intimidating it can be to entrust a total stranger with something as personal as your money, and you might be asking yourself, “Why Toni? How do I know she can help me?”
Put simply, I practice what I teach. My husband and I are 31 and 32 in baby step 6. We are completely consumer debt-free with 6 months of living expenses in our emergency fund. We purchased our first home a year and a half ago and have already paid off 42% of the mortgage. We are on track to retire by age 50-55 and have almost finished funding our 6 month old’s college education. We give money to our church every month and sponsor two children in developing countries. We even were prepared financially for me to quit my six-figure commission-based job to be home with our son after having our first baby in June of 2020.
I say all of this not to show off, but to tell you that it is completely possible to achieve incredible results in a short time if you have a plan and are disciplined to stick to it! We achieved these results in 3 short years, and I can help you accomplish similar results! I can help you create your plan and put you on the path to financial freedom for the rest of your life!