Friday Feature (Christmas Edition): Tana Gildea, Author of "The Graduate's Guide to Money," Speaker, and Financial Planner with Compass Financial Consulting
Author of "The Graduate's Guide to Money"
Speaker and Blogger
Financial Planner with Compass Financial Consulting
Merry Christmas!! I hope you are enjoying this time with family. Today I want to introduce you to Tana Gildea. She is truly a "superwoman"--mother of 4 children in their late teens and early 20's, award winning author, and partner at her financial planning firm. She also manages to find time to speak and blog about financial topics and has a passion for educating teens and young adults. She works with teens to understand their "money story" and how their view of money impacts their decision making. I LOVE her candid advice for teens in the last question segment: "Make your money work for your deepest desires and your biggest goals rather than having it slip through your fingers doing what everyone else is doing." Since it's Christmas day, Tana is offering a gift to my readers--$10 off her book if you decide to invest in it for your children or students (instructions below).
Q: How do you serve the youth of our community?
I am a financial planner but did not get into that arena until I was in my 40’s so I spent my 20’s and 30’s making a lot of mistakes with money. Since I have 4 children who are in their late teens and early 20’s, I know that the financial education that they get is no better than what I got. I really wanted to pour everything out of my head and into theirs and the only way I knew to do that was to write a book. So, in 2014, I published The Graduate’s Guide to Money. Now, using the book, I have a blog to give my readers financial tips and tricks and I speak to young adult groups about starting their financial lives on the right foot. (The book has won 2 Gold awards and is a 5-time finalist so someone besides my mom thought the book was good!)
In so many ways, people just leap into action when they graduate without stopping to think of the kind of life they really want to lead. Through my speaking engagements and workshops, I try to get them to stop and consider what is truly important to them so they can structure their life to include those things rather than just spending their money doing what all of their friends are doing.
Money is a very emotional topic and we pick up a lot of emotional messages about it from our parents, the media and our every interaction with money. One of the most revealing topics that I cover is Money Story, and I help the participants learn a process for delving into their own money story, understanding it, and looking at the way those emotional messages impact their decisions now. It is really a powerful approach to handling an emotional topic that is often not addressed or discussed.
Q: What advice do you have for parents of teenagers?
Be patient, show them by example, be willing to listen first, and know that they are going to screw up. It is all part of learning and growing. Every teen is different in how they approach problems, respond to change, and find their way. There are just those who have to learn the hard way, and try as we might as parents, we can’t (and shouldn’t) save them from the consequences of their actions. I just try to trust that it is going to work out, they will mature, they will get motivated, and they will come out the other side of the teen years appreciating that you were there for them.
The more we as parents can expose our kids to new opportunities, the more we can help them find “their thing.” I am also a big believer that college is not for everyone and trying to force that round peg into the college square hole is an expensive exercise in frustration. There are lots of great professions in the skilled trades and the arts that we don’t expose our kids to. When you find that great hair dresser or skilled handy man or honest mechanic, they are worth their weight in gold! We have to let our kids know that those are awesome professions and it’s ok to find your life’s work outside the hallowed halls of a college.
Q: What is one thing that you would like every teen to know?
You can create your life to be anything that you want it to be but to do that, you have to be deliberate in your choices around money. It is so easy to spend money in our society and we are so focused on the latest, greatest shiny object but those things never bring lasting happiness. We squander our money on expensive coffee and the newest phones and eating out when what would probably make us happier is having some financial security (money in the bank) and creating great experiences. Those don’t take much money – it is about being deliberate and putting in some time and thought into what we do instead of just eating out at another joint on Friday night. I promise you that eating PBJs at the top of Stone Mountain after a hike will be the best food you ever ate. Going to a cheesy free festival in the park will bring lots more laughs and better stories than seeing another movie. Challenge your friends to come up with free or cheap things to do – Atlanta is packed with them! Challenge one another to save up $1,000. Plan a really cool adventure like rafting or zip lining or taking a trip and save up so you can do it. Make your money work for your deepest desires and your biggest goals rather than having it slip through your fingers doing what everyone else is doing.
Q: How can readers find you?
My website is www.graduatesguidetomoney.com and they can find my blog there as well as purchase the book. For anyone interested in the book, in the “special instructions” part of the order form, put “Boortz” and I will refund you $5 plus the shipping. (PayPal doesn’t take it off the price right then, but I will send back $10 with the book.) It is also available on Kindle so they can find it on Amazon. For those signing up for my (infrequent) newsletter, I will send them Avoiding Money Mistakes – I reveal all of my money foibles and missteps!
I write another blog on Mondays called Money Matters for Working On Your Now. (www.workingonyournow.com). That blog is more geared toward adults and I often write about teaching your kids about money.
My firm is Compass Financial Consulting, LLC and you can find out about it at www.financialdirection.com.
I am also a contributor to Building a Business, Building a Life: Incredible Stories of Women Entrepreneurs. That website is http://buildingabusinessbuildingalife.com/. There are a lot of great blog posts on that site for working women and business owners. That book is also available on my website.
If you are looking for a speaker for a women’s group, young adult group, or conference, contact me at email@example.com and I can provide you with my speaking topics.
Twitter - @Grad_Guide
Linked In and Facebook – Graduates Guide to Money
Linked In – Tana Gildea
Kathryn Boortz has a passion for working with youth and their families. She is the founder of Boortz Law, a law firm that focuses on juvenile defense.