#FridayFollow: Celebrating Asian American + Pacific Islander Heritage Month with Grace Kim, AFC®

Grace Kim, DVM, AFC® is a financial coach and educator for veterinarians who want to stress less and find more joy with their money without feeling overwhelmed in the process. Her own journey from six-figure student loan debt as a veterinarian to becoming more financially literate and purposeful with money led to the founding of Richer Life DVM as a platform to educate and encourage others along their own financial journeys.

AFCPE: What does Asian American + Pacific Islander Heritage Month mean to you?

Grace: AAPI Heritage Month is a time to recognize individuals, groups, and organizations who are a part of the AAPI community. Highlighting those in the AAPI community brings more awareness and understanding to the general public, in addition to bringing this very diverse community together. 

AFCPE: How has your identity influenced or informed your work in personal finance or financial counseling?

Grace: As a second-generation immigrant, I have personally seen the immigrant story unfold in my own family, first with my grandmother who came to this country speaking very little English and having almost no financial resources, to now see how my children have benefitted from these seeds that were planted generations ago. This is why I strive to show compassion, empathy, and hope to those who are struggling with their finances. 

AFCPE: The AAPI community is extremely culturally diverse and the financial challenges they face vary by ethnicity. What are some unique financial barriers faced by this community that you want financial professionals to know about?

Grace: It is so true that the AAPI community is incredibly diverse, and I think it’s important for financial professionals to remember that the “model minority” myth can be harmful if you’re assuming that those who identify as AAPI are a monolithic group. As a group, AAPI’s have a higher median income, but that completely discounts certain groups who are often overlooked. Even within those higher income communities, there will be so much variability. Also, the concept of financially caring for your parents is a topic that gets brought up more frequently, so to understand that there are some cultural differences that need to be addressed. 

AFCPE: Do you have any resources & tools that you would like to share with the larger AFCPE community and public that can make an impact in the work they do with their AAPI clients?

Grace: AAPI’s tend to shy away from seeking any help regarding their mental health, which can play a factor in their financial wellness. NAMI has a directory of mental health specialists who work with those in the APPI community.

AFCPE: You have recently earned your AFC. How did you learn about the certification and why did you decide to pursue the AFC?

Grace: There was a point where I knew I wanted to work with individuals 1:1 with their finances, and after doing some research, it was clear that the AFC was the gold standard in terms of the type of work I wanted to do.  From that point, I signed up for the program and never looked back! 

AFCPE: What advice would you give someone who is thinking about working in personal finance and/or earning their AFC?

Grace: There are so many different ways you can help others with their finances- such as 1:1 work, financial education, or working within an organization. You will naturally be drawn to fulfill a certain role, but be open to other ways in which you can help people. You may just find yourself finding your true “sweet spot” in an area that you would have never predicted! 

AFCPE: Are there any other projects or initiatives that you are working on?

Grace: I am currently offering 1:1 coaching, in addition to partnering with organizations and schools to provide financial education. 

AFCPE: How did you learn about AFCPE & AFCPE Membership? How has your AFCPE Membership impacted, or how can it impact, the work you do within your community?

Grace: I don’t quite remember how I learned about it. However, I am so grateful to be a part of the AFCPE community, as AFCPE members are so passionate about helping a diverse group of people with their financial health and wellbeing. Being with like-minded individuals who truly want the best for those they’re serving feels like I’ve found the right place. By continuing to support and learn from one another, we can give back so much more effectively. 

AFCPE: What is the best way to connect with you (social links, etc.)?
Richer Life DVM website

Social: @richerlifedvm

E-mail: grace@richerlifedvm.com

Grace answers the Friday 5:

My Why: Being a private practitioner allows me to utilize my unique skill set to help others find less stress and overwhelm with their finances while also giving me the flexibility to focus on my personal life.  

My Favorite Quote: “If you live for having it all, what you have is never enough.” -Vicki Robin

My Hero: My grandmother and parents

My Favorite Resource: “The Simple Path to Wealth” is a great, quick read if you’re just getting comfortable with the idea of investing

My Best Advice:

  • For someone starting the journey to financial well-being: Automate your savings! 
  • For a new professional: Don’t be afraid to ask for help, and don’t be too hard on yourself if you feel like you’re struggling. 

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