Annette Harris is a financial coach and owner of Harris Financial Coaching where she helps clients enhance their financial skills and achieve their debt reduction and savings goals. With her background in human resources, she also helps clients figure out ways to advance their careers while maximizing their income and benefits.
AFCPE: What does Black History Month mean to you?
Annette: Black History Month means that the sacrifices and contributions that the African American community has made throughout history have significantly impacted society. It’s also a time for me to honor the contributions made by black pioneers in African American history. The recognition and celebration of their achievements during Black History Month strengthens the purpose and impact I want to make within the Black community.
AFCPE: How has your identity influenced or informed your work in personal finance or financial counseling?
Annette: My identity has influenced my work in personal finance because I can connect with individuals who would otherwise not reach out to someone regarding their financial situation. Growing up, talking about money was not a subject in my household. I learned about money by watching my frugal mother, making my own mistakes, and through formal education. When I share financial information, many have said that it encourages them when they see a Black female sharing financial information. This knowledge has helped me gear my mission towards people who may not receive financial information otherwise.
AFCPE: What do you want financial professionals to know about working with the Black Community? Do you have any resources & tools that you would like to share with the larger AFCPE community and public?
Annette: I want financial professionals to know that the Black Community is interested in building their wealth, but lacks access to information or resources. They face obstacles to saving and increasing their financial knowledge due to systemic racism, trouble with integrating back into society, and the inability of family members to help them with their financial needs.
A great resource to help those in need is findhelp.org. This website provides helpful nationwide resources for those in need for free or at a low cost. If individuals need help finding food, housing, childcare, transportation, or even employment assistance, many resources are available on this website.
Spent is another excellent resource that can help the AFCPE community and the public develop empathy and have a brief look at poverty. Spent is an online poverty simulator where players attempt to survive with a monthly income of $1,000. It’s not as easy as some may think.
AFCPE: You are the owner of Harris Financial Coaching. Tell us more about your business.
Annette: The mission of Harris Financial Coaching is to educate and empower individuals, through education and goal setting, to reduce debt, build wealth and achieve financial stability. I help guide clients in understanding the reasons behind why they spend money, the emotions they attach to money, how to budget their income, and ways to maximize their wealth. I accomplish this through individualized and group coaching sessions. Topics can range from understanding how to budget to enhancing their career opportunities.
With my background in human resources, I possess the ability to mentor clients on various financial topics that affect them in the workplace and provide them with guidance that they can review with their employer. In addition, my military background enables me to work with current and transitioning military veterans. Understanding military benefit offerings, military life, and the VA benefits have helped me guide veterans and their family members through their new normal. This can include demilitarizing a resume, explaining employer benefit offerings, and the impact of their transition on their personal finances.
AFCPE: Are there any other projects or initiatives that you are working on?
Annette: My goal is to create an online course for transitioning military veterans. I volunteer monthly with Onward To Opportunity to present employment information to military veterans and their families. Creating a course will enable me to provide this information to individuals on a larger scale.
AFCPE: You are currently an AFC® candidate. How did you learn about the certification and why did you decide to pursue the AFC?
Annette: I went through the Financial Fitness Coaching certification program in 2021 and received an email about applying for the AFCPE Strategic Impact Fund Scholarship. I applied and obtained the scholarship! My purpose in pursuing the AFC certification is to enhance my credibility with my clients and within the AFCPE community.
AFCPE: What have you enjoyed most about the program so far and/or what would you say to someone from your community that was thinking about pursuing the AFC?
Annette: I’ve enjoyed the AFC Candidate community the most. We can ask each other questions about any material we need to understand better. Everyone is very willing to respond and provide helpful answers throughout our journey to certification. I would encourage all to pursue the AFC certification. Not only does it enhance your credibility within your community, but it also provides you with additional knowledge of financial calculations and the proficiency to help clients make better financial decisions.
AFCPE: What is the best way to connect with you (social links, etc.)?
Facebook: Annette Harris Financial Coaching
LinkedIn: Annette Harris
Annette answers the Friday 5:
My Why: To be of service to others. My journey from the military to human resources and now financial coaching has always been to support those in need.
My Favorite Quote: “You is kind. You is smart. You is important”. – Aibileen Clark. This quote is from the movie The Help.
My Hero: My mother.
My Favorite Resource: The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. They have many resources for practitioners and clients.
My Best Advice:
- For someone starting the journey to financial well-being: Be patient because achieving goals takes time. Also, share your money goals with someone you trust and who can help keep you on track.
- For a new professional: Talk to your clients and help them understand their why. Work with them to explore all available options for achieving their goals and let them choose their path. Letting clients find the solution helps them feel more confident in their future decision-making.