Hi Friends! I'm Kathryn and I love money.
I believe that money can help you to create a life you love.
I believe that money can provide freedom, security, and peace in your life.
I believe that money, in a way, can buy happiness.
If you’re looking to change your money mindset, organize your finances and create a complete financial plan to reach all of your audacious goals, you’re in the right place.
But, we’re not just talking about money. Instead, my goal is to provide you with the TOOLS that you need to TAKE ACTION. You can read all about personal finance all day long, but you won’t get anywhere if you don’t actually use that knowledge.
So, be prepared to learn about everything from tracking expenses and taxes (I’m a CPA/nerd!) to how to reach complete financial independence.
Growing up in rural Colorado, my family lived faithfully by the rule familiar to those without a lot of financial means: “Use it up, wear it out, make it do, or do without.” However, we did still go without a lot of things despite our resourcefulness.
I distinctly remember as a child being mesmerized by a picture of the Taj Mahal. I didn’t even dare dream that I would be able to travel somewhere so amazing. My life circumstances simply didn’t allow me to dream that big.
I longed for a life where I didn’t have to meticulously add up groceries while putting them in the cart to make sure I had enough money to pay for them, where I could turn up the thermostat to the point of being warm in my own home in the winter, and where a broken refrigerator wouldn’t result in a financial crisis.
Fast forward 15 years.
If the Taj Mahal is picturesque in a magazine, it’s a hundred times more magnificent in person. I know, because I’ve been there.
I’ve had it all. I’ve lived in a multi-million dollar homes with gardeners, a private car and driver, and full-time nanny and housekeeper. I’ve experienced what it’s like to be the upper 1%.
And, I learned a lot about money–and myself–along the way.
My husband’s career in automotive engineering brought us to Asia, where we were living this life of luxury, but it was a team effort to get to this point in our lives.
I always had the drive to succeed and loved learning new things in school. After some time figuring out what I wanted to be when I grew up, I discovered that I had a knack for numbers and that perfectly balanced journal entries made me giddy. I graduated summa cum laude with my Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Accounting.
I worked in various roles in the public and private accounting sector, specializing in corporate and individual taxation and received by CPA designation. I loved my job and I even loved tax season. We had our first two children and I was fortunate to have a job where I could work flexible schedules to accommodate my family priorities as well.
Throughout this time, we followed the path laid out by our society: we bought a starter home, a sports car (pre-kid of course), then a nicer home in the suburbs and every time our salaries grew, so did our spending. We didn’t have significant lifestyle debt, but we didn’t save a lot either.
We certainly didn’t feel “rich” even though we didn’t have the struggles that I faced in my childhood. But, we were too focused on what we didn’t have yet to be grateful.
When we were presented with the opportunity to move to Shanghai, China, we took it without really knowing what we were getting into. We both were committed and our kids were at ages where they were still very adaptable (3 and 1). I got my very first passport and we promptly moved halfway across the world.
It seemed like an entirely different planet at first. I couldn’t speak a word of Chinese, was totally illiterate, and the cultural differences were immense. However, we soon settles into our lives where China felt like home to us. We spent over a year there and another three years in Seoul, South Korea, where our third child was born. After a few years back in the US, we again returned to China.
We’ve been given amazing opportunities to see the world throughout this time and we’ve taken advantage of as many as possible.
In many of our travels, we were faced with the stark contrast from the wealthy expat communities where we lived to countries like India, Cambodia and the Philippines.
Here we were, spending more on a week-long trip than most of these people made in years of back-breaking work. Despite growing up in a household that would be considered fairly poor by US standards, this was a whole different level of poor. This was sleeping-on-the-dirt-floors-barely-having-enough-to-eat poor.
And yet, at the same time, there was a feeling of happiness and a contentment that we simply don’t see as much in America. In the contrast of every aspect of our lives, there also existed a sameness when our kids were playing together in the dirt. We had the same priorities: shelter, food, family and finding our purpose in the world.
It changed me to my core. I realized so many things:
- That money doesn’t buy happiness, but money can decrease unhappiness
- That the most important things in life are family, relationships, and your health. You can’t buy any of these things, but money can positively impact all of them.
- That perspective is everything. These people were grateful to have enough to eat, somewhere to sleep, and safety. It wasn’t a lot, but many of them had seen worse times and were simply grateful to live in peace with their families.
It was this realization that empowered me to look at things differently. I recognized my own privilege and the circumstances given to me simply from being born in the “right” place and the “right” time, to craft a life where money wasn’t the center, but instead simply a tool to help me achieve my goals.
Since then, we’ve grown our net worth significantly, but more importantly, we’ve created a life of meaning and purpose, replacing money stress with freedom and the ability to give back to others.
I’ve been on a mission ever since to create a life I love, one dollar at a time and to empower others to do the same.
I’ve been sharing my own journey and helping educate others more about the same aspects of personal finance through my blog since 2016. I’m so glad you’re here to join me!