Ellie Kay is an author and speaker who has spent more than 20 years working in the financial space. She is also the founder of Heroes at Home, a non-profit company dedicated to providing free financial education to service members and their families. In 2019, Ellie joined the AFCPE Board of Directors. She is excited to use her media background to get the word out about AFCPE and the AFC® certification program!
AFCPE: What inspires you to do this work?
Ellie: When I married my husband, we had $40K in consumer debt and at one point, we didn’t have enough money for groceries. That was my watershed moment—we weren’t going to live like that. We dug out of debt, by using money saving methods in only 2.5 years.
I’m inspired to help other families become overcomers when it comes to money matters. As a mom of 7, my children and 7 grandchildren continue to inspire me every day. Three of my sons currently serve in the military and as I travel, speaking to our young military members, I think of them as my own family and their service and sacrifice inspire me daily.
AFCPE: As a military spouse who speaks about financial literacy to military service members, how important is it to make sure that we bridge the knowledge gap between service members and financial resources?
Ellie: I love that question! It’s critical that we help service members understand their options when it comes to financial resources. The base usually has a Family Readiness Center, no matter which branch of service. There are AFC® professionals at almost every military base and this is a fantastic resource that many military members do not realize is there to help them. Military members who have excessive financial problems can lose security clearances, which can keep them from doing their jobs. If they cannot hold their security clearance, they can be asked to leave the military. Financial readiness is tied to military readiness and military readiness is what keeps our nation free. It’s kind of a big deal. 🙂
AFCPE: You are currently pursuing your AFC® Certification. What attracted you to the AFC® certification program?
Ellie: I’ve known about the AFC® certification program for a dozen years and I’ve encouraged military spouses to pursue this certification in conjunction with FINRA Foundation. I’ve wanted to do the work to get the certification, but I was raising 7 kids, moving 11 times in 13 years, launching a company, and founding a non-profit. Some tour seasons, I was on 80% travel. It never seemed to be a convenient time to go through the training. But now seems to be the right time to make that lifelong dream a reality. I love the community of AFCPE members and the way they support each other in a common purpose.
AFCPE: As a new AFCPE Board Member, what has you most excited about serving on the board?
Ellie: I’m excited to serve amongst such an accomplished and diverse group of people who are committed to helping others in the area of financial education and readiness. I’m also looking forward to using my media background to get the word out about AFCPE and the AFC certification program and I’m eager to help the Diversity and Inclusion Task Force in their goals for AFCPE.
Ellie answers the Friday 5:
- My Why: I want to help people live in financial freedom, so they can be blessed with less stress.
- My Favorite Quote: “My love for you is unconditional, but my money is conditional.” —Ellie Kay. My own quote that my children were raised hearing me say ad nauseam. But something must have worked because all of the Kay kids graduated college debt free and had at least a 700 FICO score when they were presented with their diplomas. Here’s my philosophy on Fox News https://youtu.be/r3KLiKxGXI8
- My Hero: Antiope. She was the Amazonian leader/general who trained Wonder Woman. She was a warrior with a purpose, equipping generations of strong women to be smart, powerful, and kind.
- My Favorite Personal Finance Resource: May I just say that I really love The Money Millhouse financial podcast? I co-host this upbeat show with my millennial (and somewhat snarky) daughter, Bethany. We have so much fun, d and laugh a lot, but we’re always learning more about multigenerational finance. We have the coolest guests on the show, and they make us a lot smarter, just by interviewing them. Plus, we get to have coffee at my kitchen table while we do it.
- My Best Advice:
- For someone starting the journey to financial well-being: Little steps can add up to big results if you are consistent. Start one thing on your financial journey today—begin to pay down debt, build up a savings account, or start an IRA. Just start small, start early, and stay committed.
- For a new professional entering the field: Listen to the people you are serving. Listen to their stories, their dreams, their setbacks. Look them in the eye, show compassion, and share your own story with authenticity and transparency. Then, you’ll be in a position to share your own knowledge and truly make a positive impact to help change lives for the better.
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