Growing up was just my mom and me. My dad passed just after I was born, and the only items of his I saw growing up were in a box of his old office items, stored in our garage. I remember going through them when I was seven or eight—a few binders, note pads, and a… calculator? It was a strange calculator, though. It had the usual zero through nine buttons, but the rest were confusing…symbols and letters I couldn’t decipher. I remember thinking “Wow, my dad must have been a genius!” I idolized him with a purity I could only assign to someone I had never met.
Over the next decades, I followed in many of my dad’s footsteps both in breadth and nuance. My family always tells me that my mannerisms and perspective are exactly like my dad’s, uncanny sometimes. My dad was an aerospace engineer. I graduated with a degree in chemical engineering. After work, my dad would teach computer science classes at the local community college. After college, I taught high school Chemistry and Math. We both shared an affinity for Eastern philosophy and meditation. Feeling my dad’s presence, I always kept that calculator with me—in my backpack, in my dorm, and with me as I moved cross country to New Jersey to teach.
As with most big transitions in life, as I shifted careers into financial planning I wondered if such a drastic change was the right decision. In so many ways, this seemed like the perfect role for me—I love the ability to connect with people deeply, as with teaching, but could also put my nerdy side to use (preferably with as many spreadsheets as possible). I felt like my values would be in line with my work, and most importantly that I’d be pushed to grow—pushed hard.
My hesitation and anticipation of finding out if my leap of faith was well-founded followed me into my financial planning training. I walked into my first classes at UCLA with nervousness and excitement. As my teacher began to frame our course, he pulled out a financial planning calculator from his bag. With ragged, worn leather binding, I pulled out the exact calculator from my backpack that had followed me through every phase of life, my dad’s calculator. I smiled, knowing that life has a funny way of subtly communicating when we are exactly where we’re supposed to be.
How I’m expanding what’s possible with money
I’m saving for a trip to Puerto Rico (with some clases de español in the interim)! I’m also paying down student loan debt and saving for a condo in the longer-term future.
Outside of work, my passions include
Reading, podcasting, and exploring LA! I recently realized I’ve lived most of my life in Los Angeles and have never really gotten to know it. So, I try to spend at least 2 to 3 days per month being a tourist (which means hiking/museum/attraction recommendations are very welcome!).