The following blog post is part of The Road to Financial Wellness Blog Tour. Over a period of 30 days, the Phroogal team will go to 30 locations to raise awareness about financial empowerment. Today they will be in Portland! Our goal is to help people learn about money by starting the conversation. We understand that local conversations can help bring about national awareness.

If there is one thing I have learned in the past few years, it is that mastering your money is a journey.

You are never quite in the same place you used to be, usually not quite where you want to be.

For a long time, when I was younger, I never really thought of the importance of money. I wanted to believe that I was a creative type that could be beyond this thing called money.

In my mind, money meant greed, capitalism, power, and class. It meant difference. In some ways, it still means those things to me, but I realized the power money had as I got older. And that it wasn’t all evil.

My Journey Into Debt

As soon as I became an adult, I took on student loans to go to college. I didn’t think twice about it, because it’s what I had to do. I worked all throughout college, but spent nearly all of my money because I was so young and had “forever” to save.

Now I find myself in even more student loan debt than I was back then, with practically no retirement savings at the age of 30. Sometimes I’m scared shitless about this.

But the one thing that keeps me going is seeing my progress on this journey. I can now look behind me and see how far I’ve come. I’m close to the finish line. In less than one year, I will be debt free.

At that time, I plan to use the $2,000 I am putting towards debt each month and really invest in my future. I was scared of investing before, but now I am excited. I’m excited to have my money work for me. I’m excited to pursue this idea of financial independence — a term I had never heard before I entered the personal finance community — and hope to have enough money where I can quite literally do whatever I want.

Journey to Financial Wellness

My relationship to money has completely changed and in large part, it’s because my mindset has changed too. I take responsibility for my mistakes and I have a clear vision of what I want.

I want travel, adventure, and creativity. I want to work on things I love, not because I need to get paid. Most importantly, I want to give. No, really. I want to give back and help others get out of debt. I want to give back to underserved communities, now that I no longer work with them face-to-face.

My journey to financial wellness has taken a lot of twists and turns. It hasn’t been perfect (and no one’s journey is), but I’ve learned a lot.

I’ve learned about the importance of saving, investing, paying off debt, and having a clear goal for what you want. Without a clear goal, those other things don’t mean a damn thing.

Today, I would like to encourage you to continue on your road to financial wellness. Take one step forward. Start by saving five more dollars. Open a brokerage account. Pay $10 more to debt. Read a book about money. Start a conversation with your partner about money. Take one little step towards financial wellness.

What does financial wellness and empowerment mean to you?

p.s. The lovely folks at Payoff are the national sponsor for #TheRoad to Financial Wellness. They have this super rad Financial Personality quiz. Try it out!

p.p.s If you are in the Portland area, we are meeting at TaborSpace in SE at 9am today! Come join us. If you are in Corvallis, join the meetup here.


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

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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18 responses to “#TheRoad to Financial Wellness and Why It’s Important”

  1. That’s so awesome you’ll be debt-free in less than a year!! I used to have a similar mindset about money–that it wasn’t really something I wanted to ever think about because I was a creative person not driven by greed. But I’ve come to realize that it has nothing to do with greed and everything to do with managing my life on my own terms.

    For whatever reason, our culture has so many myths and taboos around money, when in reality, it’s just numbers. Getting to that place was a process for me too and I think you’re absolutely right that it’s an ongoing journey.
    Mrs. Frugalwoods recently posted…Frugal Hound’s 10 Tips For A Simpler, Happier, More Frugal LifeMy Profile

  2. What a great story! Not so different from ours ($52k in debt to $20k in savings).

    Don’t give up and push forward!

    Here’s some encouragement. Let’s say you pay off all your debt in the next year and start investing your $2000/month into an average retirement return (10% per year).

    By 65 you’ll have $6.5M!!!

    Live off the conservative interest and you’re still making six figures. (In other words, you’ll be fine!)

    Let me know if you need any help along the way 😀
    Kevin Shryock recently posted…Make Double the Minimum Wage (With No Experience)My Profile

  3. SavvyJames says:

    For me, financial wellness and empowerment means that I am not a slave to my job or debt and that I am sufficiently fiscally fit to have choices – those that are not fit are often devoid of choices – and provide guidance and assistance to loved ones.
    SavvyJames recently posted…Open Your Mouth, Learn to SpeakMy Profile

  4. So important that we continue to spread the word on financial wellness/ literacy because there are still so many people that don’t understand money. Like you, my relationship with money has changed over the years. As first I didn’t have a plan for it and abused it, falling into a lot of debt, but educated myself having learned to budget, save, and invest. No I want to help others.
    Brian @DebtDiscipline recently posted…Week End Round Up #87My Profile

    • Melanie says:

      It’s so true! It’s still the last taboo. Because we don’t talk about money, it’s hard to understand it. Let’s keep this mission going!

  5. I like that you mention taking any steps, even baby steps towards a better financial future. Too often people think they need to be perfect, and it’s sort of like trying to lose weight..there probably won’t be a perfect, so many people give up trying. But every positive steps count towards a better financial future.
    Tonya@Budget and the Beach recently posted…Friday Five Mashup & Giveaway!My Profile

  6. Financial wellness and empowerment mean to me that 1) I’m debt free, and 2) I have enough passive income to live off without working (although I will always work because that’s what I enjoy)!
    Natalie @ Financegirl recently posted…Six Strategies to Help You Successfully Negotiate a Pay RaiseMy Profile

  7. I can’t wait to be debt free by next year! You’re such a truly inspiration guys and thanks a lot for sharing your story!
    Kate @ Money Propeller recently posted…Some Quick Notes on How Healthcare Works in CanadaMy Profile

  8. I love that you shared the visual of the road trip because I imagine that most people’s road trip to financial wellness looks a lot like this. It’s not a straight shot from point A to point B, but it takes time and you will make twists and turns. The important thing is to make the journey and stay on the journey no matter where it takes you.
    Shannon @ Financially Blonde recently posted…Get Paid to Write for BlogsMy Profile

    • Melanie says:

      I love that analogy! You are so right — it’s not straight, but with lots of twists and turns. The key is to stay focused on the road ahead.

  9. Congrats on your progress, and for having a plan after the debt is gone.

    I know I was really excited when everything was finally paid off and we could start putting the money into savings.
    Abigail @ipickuppennies recently posted…The economics of a Playstation 4My Profile

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