When my friend Jason Vitug asked me to speak for the Road to Financial Wellness, more than anything I wanted to say “No.”

I was full of excuses.

I don’t have experience as a speaker.

I’m too busy.

I’ve worked behind the scenes on the road, not in the spotlight.

Saying Yes

But I also didn’t want to be lame, so I said “Yes” instead. And I am so glad I worked through my fear and did it! I now want to pursue more speaking opportunities to share my story and inspire others to get out of debt.

Though I have a theatre background, I haven’t been in the spotlight with just me up there for more than a few minutes at a time, so this was definitely a bit out of my comfort zone.

But it was a great way to connect with others and tell my story in a new way. Also, it was like a homecoming.

Some of you may know that I’ve helped out with the Road to Financial Wellness for the past two years. I’ve been inspired by the mission and love helping Jason make this project happen. I helped organize the NYC event, the Chicago event and am planning the San Diego finale this week.

So it was a nice change to be on the other side of the stage. I am so grateful for this opportunity.

My friend Patrice Washington recorded me. It’s funny, I told her not to record it, because I was too scared. But since she knew it was my first public speaking gig she thought it would be good so I could get feedback. It’s nice when friends do what is best for you, even when you’re scared and just want to say no.

So, I’m getting out of my comfort zone even more and posted this on YouTube. We all have to start somewhere right? I hope you enjoy the video and it inspires you to get out of debt.

P.S. I’ll be in San Diego this week at FinCon. If you see me, say hi!


Melanie is a freelance writer currently living in Portland, Oregon. She is passionate about education, financial literacy, and empowering people to take control of their finances. She writes about breaking up with debt, freelancing, and side hustle adventures at DearDebt.com.

Currently she puts more than 50% of her income towards debt, while living a frugal, fun life. In addition to her love of personal finance, art and music, she is also a karaoke master. Follow the adventure @DearDebtBlog.

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9 responses to “My Talk at the Road to Financial Wellness LA Event”

  1. Nice job Melanie!
    Tonya@Budget and the Beach recently posted…Is Fear the Ultimate Motivator?My Profile

  2. Penny says:

    Thank you for posting this video. You had no need to be nervous because you were fantastic!
    Although I had personal debts instead of a student loan – and I was much older than you were – I followed the same mental path you did: ignore, accepts, and finally fight back.

    You are completely right. It is hard, very hard, but with determination it is possible.

    I did it.

    It took me several years but now the only debt I have have is my mortgage which I am over paying every month in order to get rid of it as soon as possible.

    Well done on your inspiring speech. I just wish I could actually come and see you in person but I live in the UK so it’s not possible.

  3. Michelle says:

    Absolutely love this. I’m terrified of public speaking so I completely understand how you feel. I just need to throw myself out there and get the first one done with!
    Michelle recently posted…How To Quit Your Job And Become A Full-Time BloggerMy Profile

  4. Erin says:

    I can’t watch the video right now as I’m in the airport, but it doesn’t surprise me at all that you were awesome up there! You’re great on podcasts and speaking is most of the battle. I think it suits you, and doing what it takes to get your message out there is great. See you soon!
    Erin recently posted…A Long Overdue (Major) Life UpdateMy Profile

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