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Breaking Free: My Journey from Burnout to Financial Freedom

inspiration investing personal travel Jan 17, 2024
An inspiring transformation of a burned out engineer who achieved financial independence

Money was my nemesis – a constant source of stress and worry. Little did I know, it would become my passion and purpose. Today, I want to share my journey from drowning in debt to becoming a successful financial coach, hoping to inspire others who might be facing similar struggles. 


The Illusion of Financial Success

I was never taught about money management growing up. Money was a stressful topic in my family, likely because we had very little. It wasn't until I became an engineer that I started facing the consequences of my naivety. Making up for all the things I never had growing up and presenting to the world what I thought it looked like to be “successful” ate up a huge portion of my paycheck. And living beyond my means and relying heavily on consumer credit cards brought me into a vicious cycle of debt. 

I couldn't understand how some of my colleagues were thriving, while I was barely surviving.

Side note: In hindsight, it’s clear that I was making regrettable financial choices. For example, I was leasing a luxury car worth my entire year's salary while living in my parents’ basement!


 A Financial Wake-Up Call

As the financial stress mounted, it began to take a toll on my health. I started suffering from constant headaches, sleepless nights, and unexplained fatigue. A sedentary lifestyle, sleep deprivation, and poor diet while digging myself into debt led me to the lowest point in my life. The doctor put it very bluntly:

You will have a heart attack by the time you’re 40 if you do not make changes.


Me, at rock bottom.

Turning Things Around

I decided to take control of my health and finances. I realized I was literally killing myself for a job that saw me as just a cog in their system. I was working extremely hard to enrich someone else and I was left with very little to show for it myself. I decided that it was time to take control of my health and my finances, and I started with the basics. 

I began with what would be considered a bold move at my company; Taking walks during my lunch break. With most people working while eating lunch at their desks, it was unheard of to stand up and walk out of the building.

But I found a greenspace and I walked while listening to personal finance podcasts. I educated myself on everything personal finance, budgeting, debt payoff, saving, you name it. I read books and blogs and even attended seminars. It wasn't long before I started to see the effects of my newfound knowledge. I found what worked best and motivated me and I built a system that helped me get out of debt and start saving for my goals. 

Along the way, I realized that mentoring others was the best part of my job and I started helping my engineering team with their money questions. Money was no longer taboo for me. It was easy to start a conversation about money when I showed up lighter (literally) and happier, and people started asking, “What’s changed, Joe? Why don’t you seem so stressed?”  I realized that I had a passion for helping others achieve financial freedom and decided to pursue it as my #1 goal.


What’s changed, Joe? Why don’t you seem so stressed?

My Aha Moment

The joy I found helping others overcome their financial challenges eclipsed the satisfaction I'd ever felt in my engineering career. Even developing life-saving medical devices couldn’t compare to the light in someone's eyes when we crafted a plan together to eliminate their money stress and boost their financial confidence. But to make this my new career, I needed the right tools. That’s when I discovered FI/RE (Financial Independence / Retire Early), The Minimalists, and Essentialism and the path became clear.


The Path to Financial Clarity

By focusing on what mattered most in my life, I gained clarity on the things holding me back. Deciding on my core values and making tough choices about what was important to me – including letting go of relationships that didn’t align with my vision – brought me a peace I hadn't felt in years. Unfortunately, this even meant the end of my marriage.


Overcoming Personal Challenges

Despite the emotional upheaval and financial strain of my divorce, I had a clear plan to reach my goals. I used my automated money system to channel all the funds I had used each month to aggressively pay off my debts into investments that would fuel my future. I saw money as a tool – a means to take complete control of my life.

I expanded my knowledge even more by completing financial coaching certifications and learning everything i could find about the mindset and psychology around money. I watched my investments grow exponentially while I finalized my plans for financial independence and before long, I realized that I had enough money to quit my 9-5 job forever and do what I loved most. It was a major leap of faith, but I knew I could make a meaningful impact on the lives of others.


Taking time to enjoy life and travel!

My Coaching Philosophy

My experience has taught me that financial wellness leads to overall well-being. My story is a cautionary tale about how much can go awry when living a lifestyle out of alignment with your values. That's why my coaching philosophy aims to empower clients to take control of their finances to improve their lives fully. 

Financial confidence and security often come as a side-effect of intentional living. I believe that a purposeful approach is far more powerful than deprivation, so my clients never give up anything that truly brings them happiness. Life is too short to cut out the things that matter most. When you take time to uncover and prioritize these things, your financial stresses begin to fade.

Everyone’s end goal is a little bit different, but I believe anyone can learn these skills, regardless of their financial background, and it's never too late to start. Whatever “financial freedom” looks like to you, it is possible to achieve.


My Approach

I coach everyone with kindness, empathy, and inclusivity. I don’t believe in using shame as a sustainable motivator. And you’ll never encounter judgment or pressure from me.

Working together, we'll create a plan for your money that never feels restrictive, pay off any debt (including student loans), and save for your goals in a supportive environment. I know that mistakes are part of the learning journey and will be there to support you every step of the way.

There’s no one-size-fits-all approach to personal finance. That’s why I work alongside my clients to create a customized approach to their goals that includes the perfect blend of cheerleading, challenging, and accountability. All delivered in a safe space that is empowering and lighthearted.


Coaching sessions are empowering and fun!


Values that guide my business:

  • Accessibility - my coaching is available to all, regardless of net worth
  • Empathy - I meet my clients where they are, with compassion
  • Transparency - I promise to provide honest, straightforward guidance backed by research
  • Partnership - I walk alongside clients and I will never dictate solutions
  • Progress over perfection - small steps lead to big changes over time


Your Next Steps

My journey from financial struggles to financial freedom has been an enlightening one. I've learned that with the right education and a dash of passion, anyone can achieve their financial goals. I didn't come from money and made plenty of financial blunders in my early years due to not having a financial mentor.

However, I was able to teach myself the necessary skills and tools to create a do-it-yourself comprehensive money system. This wasn't an easy path and certainly not one I'd recommend to others, but it led me from being significantly in debt to retiring as a millionaire at the age of 36.

Now, my mission is to do meaningful work that helps others navigate their financial journey with less stress and more success.

I am eager to empower those on the brink of burnout to seize control of their finances. I want you to know that you too can accomplish great things. By learning to use money as a tool, you can unlock the best version of your life and create a straightforward, actionable plan to make it a reality.

Through our coaching relationship, you'll have the accountability to succeed and the support to ensure your financial goals never get sidelined.

You are capable of so much more than you may currently believe, and I would be honored to support you on your journey. If you're ready to make tangible, lasting progress towards financial freedom, I invite you to reach out today. Let's turn your financial dreams into your everyday reality!


Ready to take the first step towards financial freedom?

I invite you to schedule a free, no-pressure call with me. Together, we can start crafting your personalized journey to financial independence and a life of purpose. No judgment, just guidance and support.


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