I have found that completely transforming people’s financial lives changes everything else in their lives. Money is interconnected with all aspects of life and so when that’s taken care of, you will reap benefits you never thought of.
For people who I taught in the past, many of them deepened their connections to their friends and family as they started worrying less about money. Some fixed their marriage problems. Rather than spending an exorbitant amount on entertainment, some people found ways to spend their free time on low-cost but fulfilling activities. Others used the discipline they learned and applied it to other challenges, like losing weight, writing daily, or starting an online business. One person used budgeting as a way to save up money to travel long term. Everyone got something different out of learning to manage their money, but they all started living life in alignment with what truly brought them contentment.
“I started working with Annie after I read her story on how saving money helped her develop freedom and self-confidence. That article touched me, especially because of the state of life I was in at that time. I was an international student living on my savings and was still supported by my father. My job paid for my tuition, but my personal finances were messed up. Saving money seemed like a far-fetched impossible goal.
I felt desperate to become financially independent and get off my father’s back. In our initial meeting, I told her my income, what I thought my monthly expenses were, my potential earning capacity in the next few months, saving potential, my student loans, car loans, etc. Annie was no stranger to me—she was already my friend before I met her that day. Our conversation about my finances was informal, and Annie was her warm self as usual. However, the difference that day was Annie wasn’t just my friend who was there to listen to me; she was in financial coach mode. She had her laptop and notepad and kept taking notes meticulously as I spoke.
At the end of our meeting, she pulled out a customized financial worksheet that exactly showed me what my budget was for the coming month. With my nil income, saving money was out of the question. So, in the beginning, Annie wanted me to focus only on ensuring I document every expense. Her worksheet is very specific to the cent, with categories that show the estimated expenses and the actual expenses. I thought that was a pretty easy goal since all I had to do was document my expenses. It was tougher and scarier than I thought! At the end of the month, I realized I had spent so much money on coffee. Almost $50 was on coffee that I enjoyed with my colleagues from work.
From that month onward, I walked with my colleagues to the coffee shop across my work but ordered nothing. Annie monitored my worksheet every night. If I missed a day of updating my expense, I would get a reminder message from her. Annie was passionate and non-judgmental, qualities that make Annie a great coach. A financial coach is someone who has information to one of our most personal part of life, i.e., our expenses. Annie never questioned what I spent my money on; rather her focus was to streamline my spending habit.
Month after month, Annie helped me fix my spending habit. First, it was coffee, then it was eating lunch outside every day. I had to meal prep to cut down on my eating out expense. I developed a healthy financial habit of tracking my expenses and saving money, even if it was only a dollar.
Six months of working with Annie has taught me two important lessons: First, to value of my consumption. Spend money on what really (I mean really!) gives you happiness and value. Annie did a session with me especially on this topic, helping me realize what my main five values are in life. I have those values written in a piece of paper inside my wallet to remind myself to evaluate the value of what I am going to buy. Second, always budget your monthly expense. I do it before the start of every month using the worksheets Annie has given me. It helps me be prepared for the month ahead!
Annie, thank you for helping me realize the value of saving money!”
—Janani Srinivasan, Attorney in Lubbock
“Agreeing to meet up with Annie has definitely been one of the most rewarding decisions I’ve made. She’s truly a person that changes/saves lives. I went from being totally unconscious about my budget and my financial issues to finally knowing what what was going on, how to solve it and start a healthy financial life. She listens, advices, opens your eyes, builds a budget for you and list could go on. I went from paying $168/month for my mobile phone to pay $19/month, and that’s not all, I could literally stay here the whole night telling you how she made realize I spend the money I don’t have on things that I don’t really need. I’m just so grateful I found her and wish everyone would have a moment to meet up with her and see her potential that again will save lives.”
—Ana María Herrera, Banker in Boston
“Annie Yang is enthusiastic when it comes to living on a dime! She has a passion to help those struggling with their finances. Annie has created a thorough budgeting system which makes sense and is easy to follow. Her techniques include figuring out how many hours one spends working to purchase that much-wanted item. Annie shares her own story of financial success openly and is easy to talk to. Her teaching style is very organized and time well spent. I highly recommend Annie Yang’s Financial Integrity money management program.”
—SallyJo Jackson, School Counselor in Lubbock
“Annie Yang’s Financial Workshop was instrumental in securing a stable future for me and my future family. She had done all the legwork in amassing the vital information and materials needed to take charge of one’s finances. It provided me with a roadmap and simple steps to follow so that I could begin my journey to a financially stable future. She organized the workshop into four easy steps, provided clear directions, and graciously answered all of my questions.
After the workshop, my eyes were truly open to all the necessary details that I had been neglecting. I was hit with the cold realization that my fiancé and I had not been completely honest with how much money was actually coming in and going out. Although this realization was difficult, I now had the tools to address the situation. Her workshop further opened the lines of communication between me and my partner, as well as assisted us to have control over our financial future!
I am truly thankful to have experienced such a clear, concise, and thorough financial workshop!! The steps, tools, material, and examples that Annie provided were vital in order to completely understand what it takes to gain financial control! This workshop was time and energy well spent! Thank you, Annie, for your patience, honesty, and knowledge.”
—Shoshana N., Occupational Therapist in New York City
“Before I met Annie, managing my personal finances was a chore that I avoided. I tried to keep everything automatic—my paycheck went straight to my checking account, my student loan was paid through automatic payment, etc. This mindset towards my finances wasn’t working. Like an unattended garden, my financial situation was a mess that I was not proud of.
Things changed after I started working with Annie. She taught me how to keep track of every penny I spent, and earned. Then, I learned how to budget that money. Now, I am taking control. Finally, I am saving for retirement, and paying off my debt.
I learned an invaluable skill when Annie thought me personal finance. And with Annie, I had fun learning it. Think of your favorite teacher—that’s Annie. She is the type of person who could make eating your vegetables fun. I always hated numbers and keeping things organized, but those are the type to things Annie enjoys. Her enthusiasm for paying off debt, and her hatred of credit cards are unnatural. This is why I encourage you to work with her. Her personality is infectious, and after working with her, you too will learn to joys of budgeting, saving, and paying off your debt.”
—Brian Rapsey, Hospital Clerk in New York City
“Before taking this class, I felt very hopeless about saving money. I knew that to spend more wisely, I had to keep track of everything I purchased, but without an organized plan I feared and made an effort to avoid making monthly budgets. I would spend all of my pay check until my bank balance showed single digits, and sometimes overspent and had to pay for overdraft fees. I was unhappy with the way I spent my money, because I would spend using my emotions rather than spending based on need.
Right before I took this class I felt it was impossible to save any money because my pay was irregular but today I feel much happier. I’m still in the baby step of building my emergency fund. The program’s budgeting forms are so simple it makes learning how to save pleasurable. I used to not making saving a priority because I held myself back with lots of false beliefs. I thought that because I just got into my twenties, I could spend all I want and enjoy life and not save. I had assumed that if I saved, I couldn’t be able to enjoy life. I thought that I was just a poor spender, and would forever stay that way.
Financial Peace University taught me about all the potential monetary issues I would run into later in life and taught me how to save money and prevent being in debt. Now, no matter how irregular my pay checks are, I can find ways to save money and make my dollars stretch farther.”
—Ailsa Wu, College Student in New York City
“To know her is to love her. From the moment I first met Annie I was impressed. She is intelligent, hardworking, and down to earth. She cares about people and is passionate about living a debt free life. She comes well prepared for each class and goes above and beyond. Annie will call between classes to check up on your progress. She also contacts ‘experts’ and does ‘research’ to give sound answers to questions. Annie has great career potential as a personal finance coach. She walks the walk as well as talking the talk! Love,”
—Colleen O’Dea, Former Dietitian in New York City
“Annie Yang demonstrated poise and ability to begin and end meetings on time. She would relate her own personal experiences on each aspect of the program. Most impressive was that Annie began to lead me to financial freedom on her 21st birthday.”
—Anne Marie Coffey, Retired in New York City
“Annie Yang displayed a culture of concern when she called me on the weekends to check my progress and answer any questions. During the classes she had the ability to make me feel comfortable in sharing my needs, problems, and successes. In this way, Annie encouraged me to move forward.”
—John Coffey, Retired in New York City
“Our main victories at this point are largely our change in mindset. We now have a sense of discipline toward money and understand the fact that there were many misconceptions that we bought into such as ‘debt is a part of life.’ At this point we have paid off $1,000 of our debt and in the next four weeks will pay off about $10,000 more. We are excited to see how our lives will change when we no longer have to make these monthly payments. Additionally, this “discipline” has spilled over into other aspects of our lives, including healthier diets, more time in the gym, and more time volunteering.”
—Liz and Nick DeMarco, Hotel Manager and Automotive Service Advisor in New York City
“Annie did some very impressive work in my case. We went through my expenses from all categories and wrote out a budget. Not only did Annie show me what I should eliminate and change about my spending behavior, she also gave me some very helpful tips on alternatives I can use in a variety of categories. She impressively thought of the box during our sit down, thanks to Annie’s tips and recommendations I went from paying over $145 monthly for cell service to now paying only $20. There are many areas in our life where we can change our spending behavior and improve our financial status. Annie does amazing job of putting it together on paper and teaching you exactly how.”
—Andrew Vega, SkyDeck Photographer in Chicago
“I met Annie late summer of 2015, we had a fruitful decision on Money Management and her tips were incredible. Step by step methodology on debt reduction, savings and spending. She set me towards a mindset I inculcated into my life and just a few weeks later, results are coming in… Thanks again Annie☆☆”
—Offordile Kanu, Self-Employed in New Jersey