When I became pregnant at 18, people made it quite clear that my life was about to change forever. These people were close to me and offered the best advice they could. Advice like, “Don’t go to college. Get on welfare” or “Your life is pretty much going to revolve around the kid. Don’t go back to school.” I considered taking their advice. After all, statistics showed that teen pregnancy resulted in a lack of continuing education, and multiple pregnancies. So I went to my local public assistance office and applied for whatever benefits I could get. It took almost 4 hours for them to deny me benefits and explain that because of my age my mother should still be supporting me. I will never forget the face of the lady that was helping me and her demeanor, as if being in my presence was a disgrace. What statistics didn’t discuss were the ones who had a teen pregnancy and still accomplished their goals. I set out to prove the world wrong. I decided to continue my education and not stop learning until I made it.
What I didn’t know was that education came at a high price. I eventually graduated with my master’s degree with close to $60,000 in debt. This was a mix of student loans, credit cards, and personal loans. I did not learn about applying for scholarships or payment plans until my last year. By then I was making a decent income and raising two kids in NYC. Then, everything changed when I gave my life to Lord. One of the many things I learned was that God gave his life for me. Not so that I can live in the cycle of paycheck to paycheck. Instead, he gave to give me an abundant life.
I started learning everything I could about living a healthy financial life. I set out to change my negative financial behaviors not only for me, but for my two boys. Along the way I started sharing what I had learned with others. I found that encouraging others through their financial renovation was what I was called to do. I am so thankful to have found AFCPE®. They provided the tools and education to help me get started. This past February, I completed my certification as an Accredited Financial Counselor®. Now, I am officially opening my business, Breaking Cycles, to help others obtain financial health and live the life they were created to live.
Nashira Lynton, AFC®