Emily Gowen, AFC®
My professional life has varied considerably over the years- from teaching math to urban gardening to bodywork- yet the common thread is that I love holding space for people and being a helpful and empowering resource.
I'm a financial coach because I know what it feels like to be burdened by finances, and I want to help as many people as I can turn that stress and trapped feeling into hope and positivity about their financial future.
A decade ago I had consumer debt, student loans, and had just started my own business with a near-empty bank account- and had no idea how I was going to make it work. For years I had chosen to do work that I loved, knowing that it didn't pay well, and was facing the consequences. I constantly had to think about money just to make sure I would be able to pay my bills. My background in math probably helped me set goals for my business and follow a plan each month, though it was my determination that eventually led me out of financial anxiety and into a place where I was saving money.
Fast forward a few years and I had paid off all of my debt, saved an emergency fund, and opened a small but exciting retirement account. However, I didn't do that alone. As a first-generation college student who was financially self-sufficient at a young age, I could always 'make it work' but lacked financial literacy. I sought out help from local non-profits to learn the language and healthy habits of money management. Once I had accomplished my initial goals, I started volunteering as a Financial Coach for a non-profit whose services I had benefitted from. I helped close friends pay off thousands of dollars of their own consumer debt, creating spreadsheets with them and checking in on a regular basis.
Excited but not knowing what to do next with my money, I cold-called a financial advisor. I told her that I was just starting to 'get my sh*t together,' and asked, 'What now? What should I prioritize?' She told me there was basically no one for me to talk to, as I could not afford a Financial Advisor (and had no substantial wealth to be managed). However, she would soon be offering trainings for Money Coaches so she offered to meet with me and see if it was a good fit.
I believe that naming what we want and seeking help to get there is one of the most powerful things we can do. Since that call I made and all the trainings that followed, I have further transformed my relationship with money and managed to buy my dream home and rental property in a west coast city – all while earning less than the median area income. I know what it's like to struggle with, and break, your glass ceiling.
I believe Financial Coaches are the missing link for creating a financially educated and empowered culture. What so many of us need is a money-cheerleader and educator to get us to where we are saving and creating wealth, as most of us don't yet have wealth to manage. I know that our system does not set our youth up for financial success, and on the contrary, offers a confusing and often predatory array of options to get us, and keep us, in debt.
I love helping people break out of the paycheck-to-paycheck cycle, live with a cushion that eases their anxiety and stress, and save for a future that will more than meet their basic survival needs.
If you don't feel that you are ready for my services, please check out my Resources Page for helpful tools, books, and free non-profit services to help you on your journey.
Some services and courses that helped me on my path:
Accredited Financial Counselor (AFC) Coursework
Certified Financial Planner Course 1
Volunteer Financial Coach, Innovative Changes
Innovative Changes Financial Coach Volunteer Training
Lunaria Financial; Money Coaching Course
Lunaria Financial: Business Money Coaching Course
Lunaria Financial; Wild Money 10-week Course
MESO PDX Business & Financial Planning Courses
MESO PDX Business IDA Program
Metropolitan Family Services Financial Coaching
SCORE business Coaching