Getting Financially Naked: How My Biggest Fear Changed My Life
Jennifer Dane is a U.S. Air Force veteran, the Director of Education and Programs for the Modern Military Association of America, and a kindergarten teacher. She has been a Financial Gym client for over 3 years and has an immense passion for finance and loves to talk about money!
I remember my first call to The Financial Gym like it was yesterday. In 2016, I had just moved to Dayton, OH to start my doctoral degree at The Ohio State University. My bi-weekly two-hour round trip commute was comprised of listening non-stop to every single episode of the Martini’s and Your Money Podcast. Shannon, Melanie, Tonya, Liz and I were, of course, best friends...or at least I wished we were. Listening to Shannon’s podcasts was more than eye-opening. I had read all the books that most people read about financial well-being, but none of their advice ever stuck. I needed something more and The Financial Gym was where my life changed.
My parents never talked about money and shortly after finishing high school, I went into credit card debt. I never knew that there were consequences for not paying off debt, oh how wrong I was. Before venturing to graduate school, I had spent the previous six year serving in the United States Air Force where I always had a steady salary and plenty of money to spend. I say that because of course, I spent all of it. Looking back, I have no idea what I bought during those six years of my life. As I started on this new trajectory of life, graduate school, I knew it was time to better myself and my relationship with money.
One afternoon after driving to class, I emailed Shannon and asked her if there was a way to be a part of The Financial Gym. I consistently live by the idea that you should always ask. The worst thing that can happen, is for someone to say no. Although I did not live in New York, nor did I even know if I could afford it, I nervously emailed THE Shannon McLay. To my shock, she responded and we set up a warm-up call. It was during the earlier days of The Financial Gym when Shannon was one of the only people to do warm-up calls. I know I emailed her over and over about what spreadsheets to bring to the meeting and what things I should have prepared. I know she still tells my story to others who are overly anxious about the process or new trainers who have clients that are like me. It was in that 15 minute warm-up phone call that I felt heard, welcomed, and wanted. It was a magical experience and shortly after, I was introduced to my trainer, Bridget Todd.
There are not enough words to describe how remarkable and wonderful Bridget is. I was one of her first clients and I am sure she thought I was a total mess. I asked questions, emailed and texted her excessively, and was overly obsessed with the process. What I found in my mess was openness, love, and acceptance. She was never there to judge how much money I had or the money I spent. She was there to guide me to be a better person and a better citizen. I was able to get “financially naked” with her when I had never done that with my own partner.
After getting “financially naked,” it was not as revolutionary as I had hoped. I am sure that people have different processes during this coming out period, but I questioned myself, my worth, and who I was. I decided that the best decision for my life was to seek out a therapist to understand why money had such a strong bind over my life. It took years for me to see money as an acceptable topic of conversation. The process, however, changed my life. I see money in ways that I never have before.
On October 17th, I will celebrate my three year “Gym-iversary!” I wish I could show you the love and growth that The Financial Gym has brought into my life. I now am close friends with Shannon and I can never imagine life without The Gym and it is all because one woman chose to dare greatly, follow her heart, and build this dream we all know and love - The Financial Gym.