Uchechi Kalu, CFP®

Financial Advisor
Uchechi Kalu professional headshot

My Story

I moved to China to find my American Dream. If you think that sounds absurd, so did my mother. She’s Nigerian and when I told her I was moving to Beijing, she replied in a very Nigerian way. “Chai Chineke! So you think you’ve grown wings, eh?”

In American terms, she was saying: “This wasn’t our dream for you.” 

During my first six months in Beijing, I was so homesick that I ate Snickers bars every day. So many, I still can’t stand the taste. 

What if my mom was right all along? I was still wondering that question the day I decided to hike the Great Wall. 

A nearby voice broke my concentration. “Can I take a picture with you?” I looked up to see a woman with her arm already outstretched in selfie mode. How could I not say yes?

I was probably the only Black woman for another 1,000 miles, and possibly the first Black woman she’d ever met. After the photo, she invited me to her house for a traditional Chinese meal. We got along so well that the homestyle dinner led to a job opportunity, which then led to four more years of living and thriving in Beijing.

During my last month in China, my mother visited. We climbed the thousand-year-old stones of the Great Wall, and she shocked me, saying, “Aghsala m. Uchechi, I get it now.”

Years later when I told my mom I was making the switch from education to financial planning, I thought she’d say, “Chai, here we go again.” Instead, it was clear I had her full support.

How I’m expanding what’s possible with money

Daily, I try to practice what I preach. I center my personal money habits around my deepest values, beliefs, and dreams. I’ve named my personal budget “A Budget of Love” because I always want my purchases, saving, and investment goals to represent money decisions that make me love my life more and more.

Outside of work, my passions include

You’ll usually find me doing something related to Levantine Arabic – watching my latest favorite show, translating a novel, or helping others learn the language. Also, I explore new parts of L.A. every weekend (something I gleefully call “local travel” because the term makes the traffic feel worthwhile). And I absolutely love inviting friends and neighbors over for a good ole home-cooked meal.

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