In this interview with Angela Duncan, we delve into the world of financial empowerment and transformation. Angela, the founder of Empower HER Money, shares her remarkable journey from overcoming a challenging upbringing to becoming a beacon of financial wisdom. Throughout the interview, Angela emphasizes the power of reshaping one’s financial mindset, dispelling common misconceptions, and setting ambitious long-term goals. She also sheds light on the barriers that often deter people from seeking financial help and offers valuable insights on how to navigate the complex landscape of financial coaching. Join us as we explore Angela’s mission to empower individuals, particularly women, to harness the potential of money to create the lives they desire.
[Q] Can you tell us about Empower Her Money and how you’re helping clients?
Absolutely, let me share a bit about my journey first. I’ve overcome a challenging background, having grown up in an environment of abuse and poverty. My mother battled alcoholism, and I faced abuse from my stepfather. At 18, I made the decision to break free from that situation. I had a natural love for numbers and was determined never to return to poverty, so I pursued higher education.
I worked tirelessly through college, juggling multiple jobs seven days a week. Initially, I aimed to be a stockbroker, even diving into stock market investments working at Bank of America. However, my stock-picking skills weren’t great, especially during the tech bubble era. So, I pivoted to the real estate industry right before the housing market crash. Talk about timing.
For around 15 years, I co-owned and operated a successful top 10 in the country RE/MAX office. But when that partnership ended, I moved to Miami and started an insurance company. Despite its success, I realized it wasn’t my true calling, so I sold the company and founded Empower HER Money.
My journey equipped me with extensive financial knowledge, and I realized that everyone has a unique financial story to tell. Empower HER Money was born from the idea of creating a platform for people to teach financial literacy through personal experiences. I have a special focus on Empowering women, driven by the belief that better financial education might have helped my mother escape her abusive situation.
With Empower HER Money, my goal is to provide a safe and accessible space for people to learn about finances. Money isn’t something we’re often taught about in childhood or schools, and it can be overwhelming. I aim to simplify finance through storytelling, inviting others to share their money-related experiences. Money is just a tool, regardless of your background, gender, or race. I want to help individuals shift their mindset toward abundance and Empower them to use money to achieve their desired lifestyle, whether that’s buying a home, living in a particular area, or giving back to their community. Ultimately, I want to help people harness the power of money to improve their lives.
[Q] What’s the most common mindset challenge people bring to you?
A fascinating exercise I recently conducted at an event shed light on a common mindset challenge. I asked the audience to reflect on their earliest thoughts about money and what they learned as children. Research suggests that our foundational beliefs about money are formed by the age of seven. So, imagine your seven-year-old self managing your business today – what would that look like, and what beliefs would that young version of you hold? Many of our money beliefs are deeply rooted in childhood experiences and persist into adulthood.
The key challenge I often observe is the difficulty people face in altering these deeply ingrained beliefs. I encourage individuals to revisit their early lessons and consider how they can rewrite the narrative. How can we create a new story that welcomes abundance into our lives instead of approaching money from a scarcity mindset? Frequently, these initial beliefs are inherited from our parents, making them tough to change, but possible.
[Q] Could you provide a specific example?
Certainly, let’s talk about a common mindset challenge involving saving for unexpected expenses. Many people tend to stash money into a savings account and hesitate to touch it because they see it as a safety net for unforeseen circumstances. However, when those unexpected situations do occur, they often shy away from dipping into those savings.
The shift in mindset here is to reframe the purpose of a savings account. Instead of locking it away indefinitely, think of it as a resource reserved for genuine needs. It’s entirely okay to use the money when necessary, with the understanding that you’ll replenish it afterward. The point of a savings account is not just to amass money endlessly; it’s there to be utilized for future needs. By allowing yourself to tap into those funds when needed and setting a plan to replenish them, you can better align your savings habits with your actual financial requirements. In essence, the savings account serves its purpose when it’s used for the right reasons, not merely saved indefinitely.
[Q] What are the major outcomes your clients achieve after working with you?
The most remarkable outcomes my clients experience are the realization of goals they once deemed unattainable, often in a much shorter time frame than expected. I used to teach Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University courses, and what I found most fulfilling about it was our emphasis on setting ambitious long-term goals, not just short-term ones.
When you set a clear goal, something magical happens. Your mind actively searches for information and opportunities related to that goal in your surroundings. It’s like your mind is on a mission to find the resources needed to reach it. Consequently, income opportunities and favorable circumstances tend to surface. My clients discover that they can achieve their financial goals faster than they initially thought because they become intentional with their money. They start directing their money, create budgets, eliminate unnecessary expenses, and pay attention to details like credit card statements that they might have avoided out of fear.
For instance, they might uncover unused subscriptions or realize they’ve never negotiated better rates for services like cell phones or the Internet. By cutting out unnecessary expenses, they regain control over their finances. When you’re intentional and focused on a goal, your mind continually seeks information to fulfill that objective, leading to opportunities aligning more quickly than expected. Personally, I’m a strong advocate for visualizing goals. I prominently display them in my office and review them daily. The more attention I give to these goals, the more my brain actively seeks ways to accomplish them, resulting in greater success.
[Q] Are there any misconceptions about financial goal setting?
Yes, there’s a common misconception I often encounter, and it’s the belief that there isn’t enough time to achieve one’s financial goals. I know it may seem contradictory to what I mentioned earlier, but addressing this misconception is crucial because it can be a significant barrier to even starting the journey toward financial empowerment.
To tackle this misconception, it’s vital to dedicate time to sit down, review bank statements, and analyze credit card statements. This process helps us understand where the perception of not having enough time originates and reveals areas where we might be allowing time-consuming distractions or what I like to call “time vampires” into our lives.
Maintaining a positive mindset is key for me, and it’s something I encourage others to do as well. When you have a positive outlook, you’re better equipped to deflect negativity, especially when embarking on a financial journey. Some people in your life might be naysayers, believing that achieving financial stability is impossible due to their own family history or lack of financial education. I urge individuals to tune out this negative noise and focus on more positive sources of information. Investing in oneself and seeking out additional knowledge can be powerful steps toward reaching financial goals.
[Q] What do you believe prevents more people from seeking the help you offer?
One significant obstacle, I believe, is the adage that goes, “You are the average of the five people you surround yourself with.” If none of the people in your immediate circle share your goal or desire to embark on a financial journey, taking that first step can be tough. Without a support system or mentors to guide you, it can feel like a lonely endeavor. Moreover, many individuals struggle to find reliable information and resources. The world of financial coaching is vast, with various coaches offering different perspectives and approaches, making it daunting to determine what’s right for you. This information overload can sadly deter people from even beginning their journey.
I often liken this situation to dining at a restaurant with a vast menu, like Cheesecake Factory. The menu is so extensive, with pages upon pages of options, that it can overwhelm you. Faced with this abundance of choices, it’s tempting to simply close the menu and ask the waiter for a recommendation because the sheer volume of options can paralyze decision-making. Our brains naturally seek simplicity, and we thrive on straightforward processes to follow. When information bombards us in a complex and overwhelming manner, our instinct is to step back, avoid it, and move on to something else. This can hinder people from seeking the help they need to enhance their financial well-being.
[Q] Any general tips or strategies about money management for those reading this article?
Absolutely, here are some general tips and strategies for effective money management:
- Start with Awareness: The first step is to gain awareness of your financial situation. Take stock of your income and expenses. Identify areas where you can cut back or eliminate unnecessary spending. This initial assessment provides a clear picture of your financial landscape.
- Simplify Your Approach: Just as in a diet where you avoid foods that aren’t good for your health, in financial management, you should stop activities that hinder your financial goals. Don’t let the fear of not knowing where to start hold you back. Keep it simple and personalized to your unique circumstances.
- Seek Guidance: Don’t hesitate to ask for help. Find a financial coach or advisor who resonates with you and shares similar belief systems. Having someone who understands your background and fears can make a significant difference in your financial journey.
- Shift Your Focus: Rather than dwelling on your fears or obstacles, focus on what you can do. Many people have more of a debt problem than an income problem. Explore activities that you enjoy and consider how you can make them more cost-effective. Look for passion projects or side hustles that align with your interests and can generate additional income.
- Mindset Matters: While it’s essential to address mindset issues, avoid getting stuck in negative thought patterns. Shift your perspective toward what you can do differently instead of fixating on what you’re not doing. Positive thinking can be a powerful catalyst for change.
Remember that effective money management is a journey, and it’s okay to start small. By increasing your awareness, simplifying your approach, seeking guidance, shifting your focus, and cultivating a positive mindset, you can make significant progress toward your financial goals.
[Q] What criteria would you recommend people consider before hiring someone for financial coaching?
When seeking a financial coach, it’s crucial to consider the following criteria:
- Investment in Their Field: Look for coaches who are actively investing in the same areas they teach. For example, if you’re interested in real estate investing, ensure that your coach is actively involved in real estate investments themselves. It’s like visiting a car dealership; if the salesperson doesn’t drive the same car they’re selling, it raises questions about their expertise.
- Experience and Expertise: Assess the coach’s experience and expertise in their field. Have they lived through and gained practical experience in what they’re teaching? Practical experience often carries more weight than theoretical knowledge alone.
- Portfolio and Results: If your interest is in stock market investing, ask the coach if you can see their investment portfolio and results. A genuine coach will be transparent and willing to share their real-world examples and outcomes. It’s a way to verify their credibility.
- Client Testimonials: While not the sole criteria, client testimonials can provide insights into a coach’s effectiveness. However, don’t rely solely on testimonials; consider them in conjunction with other factors.
- Transparency: A trustworthy financial coach should be open and transparent about their methods, experiences, and results. If someone is hesitant to show you their real-world examples or share their knowledge openly, it may be a red flag.
- Qualifications: Check the coach’s qualifications and certifications, if applicable. While certifications aren’t everything, they can provide some assurance of their knowledge and commitment to their field.
- Alignment with Goals: Ensure that the coach’s expertise aligns with your financial goals. If you have specific objectives, seek out a coach who specializes in that area and can help you achieve your desired outcomes.
When choosing a financial coach, it’s crucial to select someone who not only talks the talk but also walks the walk by actively participating in the areas they teach. Look for transparency, real-world examples, and alignment with your financial objectives. A reputable coach will be willing to prove their expertise and provide guidance based on practical experience.
[Q] What would be the next step for someone that is looking for more help?
If you’re seeking more guidance and support, here are the next steps you can take:
- Explore My Podcast: I no longer offer one-on-one coaching, but I do have a podcast called “Empower HER Money.” In this podcast, I interview female entrepreneurs and CEOs from diverse backgrounds, allowing them to share their stories about money and business. Listening to these stories can provide valuable insights and inspiration with action items.
- Connect on Social Media: Follow me on social media platforms where I go live almost every day. During these live sessions, I share tips and insights on various financial topics. If you have specific questions or want to delve deeper into a particular topic, feel free to send me a message. I’m more than happy to do follow-up videos or answer your questions through direct messages. Rest assured, I personally check and respond to my messages, so it’s still me providing the guidance and support.
By exploring my podcast and connecting on social media, you can access a wealth of information and engage directly with me for additional assistance and clarification on any financial matters you’d like to explore further.