Scott Henderson is a Texas-based AFC® working full-time at a financial planning firm while pursuing his Master’s Degree and running a business and website called Simplifinances. Scott’s vision is to help young people and middle-class Americans simplify their finances so they can start living a life of financial independence.
AFCPE: What inspired you to enter this field and do this work?
Scott: When I was eight years old my father walked out of my life. He left me and my four siblings. He also left a mountain of debt. After the divorce, my mom discovered a half a million dollars in unpaid debts with a lot of it being in her name. Of course, she couldn’t make the payments and was forced to file bankruptcy. We stayed in our house for 18 months before the bank knocked on our door and kicked us out. We were homeless living on food stamps and my mom did everything she could to get off of government support. I didn’t realize it at the time but we had nothing. We moved from place to place for years. My mom worked two jobs and tried to keep our expenses as low as possible.
My mom is one of my greatest examples and mentors to me. There were times she wanted to give up, but she never did. She could have blamed others for what happened but she took responsibility and was determined to get us out. She pulled us out of poverty, climbing the economic ladder and helped us become independent and self-reliant. She took it upon herself to learn about personal finance and teach her kids. I learned from a young age I was in charge of my financial future and committed to doing things differently throughout my life. I know what it’s like to have nothing and I want to help as many people as I can avoid money problems and live a life of meaning and independence.
AFCPE: What an inspiring story! It’s easy to see what drives your passion and commitment to this work. Speaking of your work, you also started a blog and business, Simplifinances. Tell us more about it and the impact you are hoping to make.
Scott: After becoming an Accredited Financial Counselor®, I had a few people reach out to me for help. I had always planned to start a business at some point but I officially started it in January, 2018. When I first started, I only planned to do financial coaching. But it has also grown into a blog as well as speaking. The impact that I’m hoping to have is to help as many people as I can get the most out of their personal finances.
AFCPE: What advice do you have for any other professionals looking to start their own business or blog?
Scott: It’s better to do something imperfectly than nothing flawlessly. Just start.
AFCPE: You were previously a Director at the PMMC (Personal Money Management Center) at the University of Utah. How important is it to have these resources and tools at colleges and universities?
Scott: It’s extremely important! I think that every college and university should have a resource where students can go for help with their personal finances.
AFCPE: We couldn’t agree with you more! What’s next for you? What has you most excited?
Scott: I plan to finish my Master’s degree next year (if I can pass my classes) and a lot of other exciting things are coming up in the near future. Perhaps a book, maybe a podcast? I guess we’ll wait and see.
Scott answers the Friday 5:
My Why: I want people to remember me at my funeral because of what I did not what I said I was going to do.
My Favorite Quote: “The pursuit of easy things makes men weak.”
My Hero: My mom
My Favorite Personal Finance Resource: Podcasts – I discovered podcasts last year and they have been my number one resource for personal finances.
My best advice:
- For someone starting their journey to financial wellness: No one is going to care for your money more than you. It’s important to take responsibility for your situation and educate yourself when it comes to personal finance.
- For a new professional entering this field: You have to believe in what you are doing and truly do what is best for the client. You wouldn’t think that doing the right thing for ALL your clients would be such a hard thing but apparently, with the way the financial services industry is set up, it’s easy for financial professional to forget about their clients and only focus on the bottom line. People need your help and you have to find a way to truly serve them. Not just sell them products or manage their assets, people need so much more than that.
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