For Ashley, Instagram Was Her Entry Point To Becoming A Money Coach
Experian’s 2020 State of Credit Report shows that Millennials have an average of $27,251 in non-mortgage debt, across credit cards, auto loans, personal loans and student loans.

The average Gen Z consumer has about $10,942 worth of debt, not including mortgages.

In a time when debt is a true contender with our mental health and still a topic of taboo, Ashley Kabongo (aka The Broke Ambitionist) is a Money Coach who helps young adults build a healthy relationship with their money to be financially independent, without giving up what they enjoy.

I set up a Q&A with Ashley to dive deeper into her personal relationship with money, and how learning from past mistakes helped shape the content that she writes about today.

Money is just a tool that grants you access to create the life you want.

Q: Where did you get the idea to start a blog about money?

A: Well, I've always been interested in the topic of personal finance, even though mine personally wasn't pretty. I have a minor in Economics and can remember enjoying that program a little more than my actual major, shockingly. But I've always liked advising others about managing money- how to save it, put it to good use, and everything in between. Last year was the first time in a while where I wasn't working. So I used this time to work on areas in my life- one of them being my financial situation and doing what makes me happy. When I noticed changes and the progress I was making, I couldn't think of a better time to start helping others achieve their goals.

Q: How did you come up with the name “The Broke Ambitionist”?

A: It's pretty funny. So when I decided to start my blog, I had a different list of names on my phone. One thing I did know was that I want to have the word ambitious in the title. My brand needed a name that described my traits, what I value, and a past version of myself. So one night, I asked my brother for help (he's a writer). I brain-dumped many ideas. After minutes of thinking, he finally blurted out, 

"Broke Ambitions- no wait, The Broke Ambitionist because even though you're not where you want to be currently, your ambition will lead you there." 

I thought it was a fantastic explanation, and I knew I couldn't think of anything better even if I tried. 

I think society has placed this stigma that finance should be private, and if you have debt, you’re irresponsible.

Q: It seems like talking about money Ie. Someone’s salary is taboo, and people don’t like sharing this information with others. Even more so—people don’t want to talk about their debts, and feel shameful to have them. However, you are super transparent, and you even list out your individual credit card debts. Why do you think it’s important to talk about this topic?

A: I think society has placed this stigma that finance should be private, and if you have debt, you’re irresponsible. And credit card debts are usually the top concerns, especially for young adults. I decided to share my finances to show my audience that I was once in their situation. Just because I’m a Money coach doesn’t mean I have a super perfect portfolio. I educated myself to become financially responsible to make smart decisions. Believe it or not, most of the finance community on Instagram are: 

Paying off debt, have high student loans, and even negative net worths but are still helping hundreds of people. 

Q: What has been the most fulfilling part about running your blog and social media?

A: The engagement. When people reach out to me with their thoughts, questions, or general appreciation of what I'm doing, it makes me feel good to know that I'm helping others and teaching them something new. 

Q: What has been difficult about it?

A: Content and growth. Even though I get engagement, there have been weeks where it’s straight crickets. It can get discouraging cause you want to provide valuable information. I never had social media before my business, so this all still feels very brand new. Content planning has also been challenging. I can write down so many ideas- but I always get stuck on the actual body/captions. Copywriting is a skill I’m trying to get better at. 

I had the mentality that as long as I kept working, more money would come. True, but there's additional steps to that process.

Q: You mention that you wish you learned the basic financial topics in high school. How do you think this could have impacted your financial decisions in adulthood?

A: It would have had a significant impact. I had economics my senior year. All I remembered was that we talked about a lot of politics & briefly touched on stocks. I was working my first job, so I made some income, but I only used it to buy things that my parents couldn't. I had the mentality that as long as I kept working, more money would come. True, but there's additional steps to that process. I think learning the basics of financial literacy such as budgeting, credit cards, taxes (to name a few) would have been so helpful. But you can't change the past, and the best thing about mistakes is that you can always learn from them. 

Q: What is a myth about money that people assume, which you’ve learned is totally untrue?

A: There are so many myths to choose from! But I’m going to have to go with the value of money. Most people think that it differs. For instance, $50 might mean a lot to one person and nothing to another. But the truth is the value is the same, and money is just a tool that grants you access to create the life you want. 

Q: What can people expect to learn in your money goals intensive?

A: The Money Goals Intensive is a fantastic transformation for those ready to take action and kickstart their goals. In this intensive, I provide clients with clarity and a game plan to achieve their goals. This session is more than an advisor telling you to save money or open an emergency fund. I get to know my client on a deeper level & understand their situation so I can provide them with the tools needed for success. Clients will learn the proper way to set and execute their goals, budgeting strategies they can use, and what type of accounts they should have. I also do a monthly check-in to monitor their progress. 

Q: What are your future goals for The Broke Ambitionist?

A: I’m looking forward to building my coaching business. Currently, I only offer 1:1 services, but I plan on introducing courses and programs. I also plan to make The Broke Ambitionist a growing community of young adults who can continuously educate themselves in personal finance and strive to live an independent lifestyle. 

Q: Anything else you’d like to add?

A: Thanks for having me be a part of this! And something important  to remember is that anyone can still enjoy life & become financially responsible!

Written by Lauryn Lee
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