Willa J. Williams, AFC®
From a teenager I knew that I needed to plan for my retirement and to structure my finances so that when I was ready to leave the workplace I could do so comfortably. This mindset caused me to always be aware of how and where I gave, saved and spent my money. I never expected nor wanted to work until I was of social security age so I serious about money management. Along my journey I met and married my husband. Together we made careful decisions about our finances early in our marriage. Our efforts paid off and I was able to leave the workplace positioned to help meet the goals we set together.
I prepared myself academically making sure that I completed my college education without student loans. I had seen how student loan debt could hinder the growth and financial stability of a household and didn’t want it to happen to us nor the stress that comes along with it.
Facing a layoff at work turned out to be the boost we needed to move forward on our goal of establishing a business. We both wanted to be entrepreneurs but had put that on the back burner. We knew that the loss of a job could disrupt our financial goals so this was the time to explore entrepreneurship. We launched our business and continue with it today. It has proven itself to be rewarding in many ways but also challenging. I recognize that without our business responsibilities I would not have established some of the money management behaviors that I share today nor would we be as prepared for our future as we are.
My desire now is to walk along side of those who face the concerns I did on my journey through career building, establishing a family, education and wealth building. As an AFCPE Accredited Financial Counselor and Financial Coach, I am able to successfully counsel and coach others through these concerns, as well as instruct on behaviors which enhance their personal financial management activities. Working with clients allow me to share what I’ve learned and demonstrate that with contentment, behavior change and diligence they can enjoy life now as they build wealth for the future. It takes time and effort to build your house on a firm foundation but when you do, it will stand forever.
Weslia S. Echols, AFC®, CCA
While in college I worked full-time and attended school full-time. I succumbed to the temptation of instant gratification that credit cards provided for my needs, wants and desires. I did not account for my income not being able to meet the demands of the credit card bills, rent, utilities, student loans etc. I lived paycheck to paycheck. While in school, I fell in love, graduated, got married and started the cycle all over again with my husband.
After college, I worked for several years as a Collections Manager for a local greeting card company and everyday I would hear the stress and anxiety from the people who owed money to my employer. That's when I decided, I wanted to use my knowledge of accounting and finance to help my family and others succeed financially.
After making that decision, I had the fortunate opportunity to become a financial advisor at a major brokerage firm. It was now my job to help others learn about financial management and engage them in the process of building wealth and at this time, my husband became an entrepreneur.
During this time, I also began seeking scriptures for a biblical perspective about managing finances. This is when I realized that we are purposed to be good stewards or managers of the resources that God provides and live abundantly. With this revelation, my husband and I began our journey to financial wellness.
We started maximizing our money, embraced healthy financial behaviors and became diligent to define and pursue financial success for our family. We have worked very hard and sacrificed to break the cycle of living paycheck to paycheck, first by making a commitment to tithing, being disciplined in saving, eliminating our debt, being conscious of our spending, and building wealth.
As an Accredited Financial Counselor and Financial Coach, my vision and belief is everyone can be free from the bondage of debt and live abundantly today while building wealth for the future.