As part of Women's History Month, Alpha Rising is highlighting women that #AlphaInspire, so read on.
Ashley M. Fox is the founder and financial education specialist of EMPIFY. She teaches grade-school students how to build wealth in Philadelphia, Pa. and The Bronx, NY. She also shares how to avoid the money mistakes she made as she built her business.
Fox admits she was spending more than she was making. Within months of starting EMPIFY, she had depleted her $30,000 in savings and investment accounts, and ended up moving back home with her parents -- she simply could not pay her bills. That was four years ago.
Now 29, Fox has a beautiful two bedroom, two bathroom apartment, and can look back at the setback with humbling gratitude. It was at her lowest that she learned life's biggest lessons.
"My financial advisory business was new, and I still had a mindset as if I still worked on Wall Street. This caused me to get behind on bills. Essentially when all came down to it, I had set aside about $30,000 that I ended up depleting due to not allocating money properly," Fox said.
Although she has helping 200 clients invest more than $1.5 million, the money she lost was not theirs, it was her own. She was living beyond her means. While maintaining her business, but cutting her expenses, the Wall Street money manager, from a middle-class background, found her true calling. After she could not pay her bills for the first time in life, she began to understand the struggles of the less fortunate. Now, rather than helping millionaires become billionaires, she focuses her energy on building wealth in the low-income communities.
"When I left my job, I had about $30,000 set aside. This was money held in my savings accounts and my investment accounts. I ended up selling out one of my highest performing mutual funds, shares from some of my best performing stocks that I had held for 5+ years. I also emptied my savings accounts."
Fox now earns more than she earned before, thanks to a powerful, compassionate support system and her desire to give back.
"To recover, I kept fighting. I moved in with my parents, so I had no rent. They even fed me, so I had no real food expenses. My car was paid for by my father back in college, so I had didn't have a note. I cut back on everything, and essentially started over. Everyday I would meet with my clients and work as an independent financial adviser. After my second year as a financial adviser, I was making more than what Wall Street was paying me. So, I wouldn't equate my recovery with just one thing. I just kept pushing.
"Everyday, I focused on becoming a better Ashley. More reading, finding more mentors, finding better ways to serve my community. I never lost sight of who I wanted to be. What was in my heart never changed even though my money and surroundings did. I knew that I was in a temporary place that I needed to grow from," Fox said.
And grow she did. She has a great business, a large social-media following, has become an international money adviser, and plans to write a book.
Check out her video with TheStreet for more insightful lessons on how to save and spend wisely.