Michelle Alexander, Personal Finance Instructor
We are pleased to have Michelle Alexander share a “First” childhood money memory with us.
Michelle Alexander is the founder of AJM Financial and a Financial Literacy instructor whose mission is to empower individuals with sound financial advice so that they can become skilled at living comfortably within their means.
She has conducted financial literacy seminars at DeKalb County libraries, local chapters of professional organizations such as IAAP (International Association of Administrative Professionals) and ABWA (American Business Women’s Association), churches in Georgia and Chicago, non-profit organizations that assist residents with homelessness and financial subsidies, and hosted 6-Week Financial Bootcamps.
Michelle has volunteered at local non-profit organizations teaching personal finance. She currently volunteers at Neighborhood Cooperative Ministries, an organization providing emergency assistance to its local residents.
Michelle has been featured on various radio stations and podcasts and has written freelance articles for The DeKalb Free Press and The Atlanta Voice newspapers in Georgia.
Michelle holds an Associate’s Degree in Business Management as well as a Bachelor’s Degree in Finance.
In Her Own Words
My first formal paying job was right after high school as a summer day camp senior counselor. The job lasted only one-month, but I was determined to make my $90 a week work for me.
My first goal in managing my funds was to prove that it is not how much you earn, but what you do with those earnings.
I learned quickly we have to pay for more than the luxuries we want in life. My mom stated that; “you can’t stay any place for free”.
So, right off the top of my first paycheck, I had to pay $10 for rent each and every week thereafter.
With the remainder of my paycheck, I ensured I allocated funds for my needs such as transportation and lunch money. Even at 17, I knew these things were needs and should be taken care of before any other monies were spent.
I wanted to do the opposite of what I had seen growing up and to prove my point about how managing funds is more important than how much you earn. This is one of the main reasons why I believe personal finance should be taught in schools so that all children get to learn this no matter their background.
With the discretionary income from my first paycheck, I gave my room a refresh. I purchased paint and flooring. Yes, flooring. It was vinyl flooring back then and I was happy to be able to do this on my own. It was a small room.
With the second check, I purchased a few new outfits to prepare for my first full-time workforce job.
The third, I purchased toiletry items and the fourth, I held on to for dear life, since it would be the last until further notice.
I had a month off before entering the grown-up workforce and continued to manage my new earnings the same way. Doing so, allowed me to save enough money in a year to get my first place where I paid real rent.
When I look back on that time, I realized the smart money choice I made as a teen, was not to spend every cent I earned. I did not get this type of education in school so I am grateful I was able to learn on my own.
Unfortunately, not everyone gets this lesson early on in life.
So, if I could teach a child only one money habit, it would be to save.
No matter how much you save, just save and do not touch those savings for any instant gratification thing that comes along. Those savings should only be used for rainy days and emergencies. If you end up not having many of these types of days in your life, then consider yourself blessed and still continue to save.
When we are young, we believe life is going to be this long voyage cruise. We do not foresee there will be rough seas ahead and the cruise could quickly turn into a river raft ride.
However; when you learn the necessary financial habits and tools early in life, those lessons could be your lifeline later on and allow you to have a better chance of surviving the rough times.
Discover more about Michelle Alexander. Visit and connect with her at AJMFinancial.com.
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