Meet Jacent Wamala. A licensed marriage and family therapist turned money mindset coach, and host of the Self podcast. Jacent uses her expertise in counseling to have real conversations about money with guests from diverse backgrounds. Follow along to hear more about her story and her experience hosting our first ever podcast series.
100% the best part of hosting the Self podcast was connecting with such amazing down to earth people from all over the country. Our conversations were enriching for me so I knew they were going to be helpful for others listening
The biggest theme I can recall is overcoming. Each guest had a story that included sometimes devastating experiences, but each one of them despite the obstacles and challenges of their childhood, shared the theme of overcoming. Not once but as an ongoing process of unfolding as they continue to grow as people, parents, partners and professionals.
I see the Self podcast helping people see their story being told even if it’s one element. Whether it’s about not growing up with financial literacy, financial mistakes, healing from difficult life circumstances or being first generation. These are the stories about money that need to be told more.
I don’t think I learned anything new per say. I do feel I received confirmation that I am on the right path. I think we all have vivid visions of our dream lives. Most people unfortunately don’t realize theirs. I am so grateful to have had one of my dreams come true in hosting the Self podcast and checking something off my bucket list. It reminded me that I am headed in the right direction and as long as I don’t give up, my “success” is inevitable. Success (for me) is being committed to the journey and sharing inspiring stories of triumph in personal finance for people of color.
I always had trouble with money. I just didn’t know it until it was too late. I think that has happened to many people. I didn’t grow up with a foundation or financial literacy so when I got divorced and lost my father months later, it was a perfect storm for my personal finances. That’s when I went into the most debt and didn’t handle my finances well.
For me the intersection of mental health and money created my money mess. Thankfully, a few years later I started my journey to clean up that mess. I went from making $17,800 in 2016 to paying off over $90,000 of student loans and credit cards in 3 years before turning 30. I ended 2020 with almost $30,000 cash in the bank.
I realized I had to manage my money better, but I also needed to earn more money which I did. I worked as a part time instructor at UNLV, part time private practice and full time working at the county in the juvenile detention center. Then I had to be committed to the long term vision and not to allow distractions to pull me away from my end goal. I created a unique monthly budget that always evolved through the month. It was not perfect, but I stayed encouraged by immersing myself in personal development and personal finance podcasts and books.
I grew up first generation and third culture, so it was a must that I go to school. My family always emphasized the importance of education. I went to college locally at UNLV, and went back for graduate school. While my family probably would have preferred I become a doctor or a lawyer, I studied psychology, minored in theater and marriage and family therapy. I got my master's degree in marriage and family therapy because I wanted to open a private practice and have a flexible schedule.
After some years as a therapist between my own personal finance journey of paying off over $90,000 in student loans and credit cards, I heard practically every woman I work with bring money up as a major stressor. This realization led to my work as a money mindset coach. People started asking me questions because I shared my journey online. I started using my psychology background to help women make longer term progress in their money journey. Last year, I closed my therapy practice before having my son so I could focus on my family and help women work towards financial freedom.
Start small. The journey is life long so pacing yourself will serve you well. Write your goals down and get support. Join a community or create one amongst your family and friends that can help keep you encouraged along the way. There will be times when life happens and you don’t feel like doing what’s necessary and that’s when your community can serve as your safety net.
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