I immigrated here to the United States when I was only 20 years old from the Philippines, along with my mom and 2 younger brothers.
My dad passed away when I was only 16 years old.
I am a second-generation Chinese born and raised in the Philippines.
We all moved in with my single aunt. I got kicked out a few months later due to not following a 10 pm curfew, which will be another story to write for another day.
I have been on my own mostly since then and had to work full time to support myself.
My first job was doing data entry making about $10 an hour.
I worked between 20 to 40 hours of overtime every week so I could start saving money.
Tuition for an immigrant before I became a California resident was $100 per unit at the time. And here was a 20-year-old who got kicked out from her home with almost no money in her bank account that definitely couldn't afford that.
So, I worked those long hours and put my education on hold for a year. The data entry job probably made me almost a thousand US dollars net a week. This was a lot for a 20-year-old with no money.
Working those long hours was also how I became a speed typer. I did this until I became a California resident and became qualified for the $20 per unit fee to continue my college education.
Moving forward, I kept working full time and going to school at night part-time or sometimes even full time.
I did this for many years until I finally graduated five years later with my bachelor in Computer Science. It took me longer because I was also working at the same time.
I didn’t really have a life all those years. It was a lonely, depressed life filled with just working, going to school at night and doing homework and studying in between.
My hard work did pay off because eventually, I got a good job in the Data Analytics field when I graduated.
I stayed in the Analytics field for 12 years before I made the switch to Corporate Finance when I was at Visa and realized Analytics wasn’t my passion.
Finance or money has always been my love for a long time, and I was also just naturally good at it. I didn’t decide to pursue doing financial coaching until I started working with a life coach who encouraged me to do so.
That’s when I started my coaching business part-time in 2016. Since I wasn’t quite ready to quit my corporate job, I decided I also wanted to move internally to the finance department and see how it went working in the finance field.
But after working for corporate finance for a year, I realized my passion is really working with a person's individual finance, not at the corporate level.
So I decided to take the leap and pursue my dreams of being an entrepreneur in May of this year.
It definitely was one of the best decisions of my life.
I even wrote a blog about how my first month being on my own went.
And that, my friends, is my story.
I didn’t come from a background where I suffered financially and had a lot of debt.
I have always been interested in money and how it works, and I just find myself naturally good at it.
I also get such a high after each coaching session that I just know this is what I am meant to do.
I really love learning new things related to money and just helping my clients navigate their financial life.
I get a lot of questions about taxes as well, which is why I am currently pursuing the IRS Enrolled Agent designation.
I don't necessarily love tax but I do enjoy learning about it.
I also follow the philosophy, if you can't run away from it, why not make them your friends? 😉
I hope you find what you love to do as well. I think life is just too short to not be happy to continue in a career you don't love.
About the author: Christine Teh is a personal finance money coach who helps people attain financial freedom and transform their relationship with money to create lasting changes. You can learn more about her by checking her About page and how to work with her. She is currently accepting new clients. If you are interested in a chat, you can schedule a complimentary call.