Linda Jacob was an inaugural recipient of the FINRA Foundation Military Spouse Fellowship back in 2006. After years working in various banking positions, she recognized that her true passion was helping people get control of their money and their debt. Now she is living her passion and providing the education and guidance to get individuals and families back on track.
Tell us a little about your journey and what inspired you to become a Financial Counselor?
I started in banking when I was in high school. I worked as a teller. (It seems I’ve always worked with money.) After marrying my Army husband, we decided I would stay home and raise our boys. Once they were back in school, I took a job working for Mike Wood in Wiesbaden, Germany. I was one of the Financial Readiness Program Managers and Mike was the Director of ACS. It was Mike who suggested I apply for one of the FINRA Foundation Military Spouse scholarships to become an AFC®.
My husband retired and we ended up in Colorado (via Michigan) where I went to work at another bank. I also would take assignments for MHN on the weekends doing financial counseling work. I decided to go full time with MHN and covered the state of Colorado.
The bank offered me a nice position to come back and work for the Trust dept. I took it and returned. This is when I decided to get my CFP® certification. After three years of growing assets for my clients, I knew that my true passion was working with what I call the other 99%. Trust departments normally only work with the wealthier 1%, and I was not passionate about that work.
I left the trust department and began working for Zeiders, taking assignments all over the country and even Italy. While I loved the work, it was hard being away from my family. So when we moved to Des Moines, IA, someone suggested I talk to Tom Coates of Consumer Credit Des Moines. We met and he hired me on the spot! I now work in my dream job – helping people get control of their money and their debt, and helping them get back on track.
You are dual certified as both an AFC® and CFP® – how has this combination of experience and education been most beneficial to you?
I am proud to hold both the AFC® and CFP® certifications. My experience and education allows me to look at the entire picture. I am able to understand the cause and effect of the actions the client is taking today. What it means for their financial future, etc. Not to mention, my boys like to brag that their mom has 6 letters after her name. I’m glad I can be a good example for them.
You’ve also been a longtime member of AFCPE®. What do you find most beneficial about being an AFCPE member?
Being a part of AFCPE is extremely valuable to me. I find it invigorating to be around others who have the same passion. The educational focus of the group keeps me up-to-date on trending topics and continues to give me more and more tools I can use when working with clients. Of all the events I attend in my profession, the AFCPE Symposium is my favorite. This year I am really looking forward to being an exhibitor. I want to share the Debt Management Plan tool with my fellow AFC professionals so that they can help their clients get out of debt faster.
You recently wrote a book which launched this month. Tell us more about this endeavor.
My new book, No More Paycheck to Paycheck – Stop Living in Debt and Start Living the Dream, was written the year my husband was in Afghanistan. He always wanted me to write a book and I finally had the time. He left January 12th, came home December 10th, and I finished the book December 18th. It was the perfect time to have a project – giving me something to concentrate on while he was away.
I wrote the book by imagining what I would tell a client if they sat in my office for a series of appointments. I share a lot about my life since I have “been there, and done that”. It’s a way to connect with more people, not just those who can physically come to my office. My goal in writing the book was to help as many people as I can become successful money managers.
I learned how to write and publish a book by watching my friend (and mentor) Dr. Mary Kelly. She wrote a book (which I edited for her), so I knew I could ask her any questions I had during the process. She was invaluable!
On your blog, you talk about the 12 Traditions. Tell us a little about this approach in relation to money.
The 12 Traditions are used by recovery groups. They are considered the steps to getting along with others. On my blog, I use these traditions in a similar way – as useful tools to help families get along with one another and be successful when it comes to money. I just put my own twist on them.
And the question we ask in every Member Spotlight: if you had to choose, what is your favorite personal finance advice?
My favorite piece of personal financial advice? Spend less than you make!
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