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My name is Tom Graneau, a veteran, author, and financial management coach. Some of my other professional labels include family crisis manager and financial counselor.
Today, I’m a self-improvement advocate for financial independence. This is partly because of my personal struggle with excessive debt, and its consequences, as well as those of my clients.
It is my belief that despite our unfortunate past (excessive debt, little or no savings, etc.) and present circumstances, we can become financially successful, even on a small income.
This is especially true for young people…those who are willing to listen and follow the counsel of older and wiser adults.
I was born in Dominica, a small island in the Caribbean with a population of roughly 70,000 people. While growing up, I had little or no time for school because of family complications. From twelve years old, I had to provide for siblings and my chronically ill mother.
At seventeen, my mother and I moved to the United States. Two years later, I became acutely aware of my need for an education and began seeking ways to attend school.
About the same time, I started a long, learning journey in a private school with the help of two concerned friends.
Being unable to read or write and the oldest among all the students, I was placed in a private room to study at the second-grade level. I was nineteen. After two years, I earned a Ninth-grade certificate.
When I was twenty-four, I got married and started a family. After my first child was born, I decided to join the U.S. Navy and spent fourteen years in the service.
Shortly after being honorably discharged from the military, I enrolled at the University of Phoenix to pursue a bachelor’s degree in business administration. Roughly six months after graduating, I enrolled in a master’s program to further my education.
After graduation, I spent roughly ten years working as a Financial Management Specialist. During that time, I conducted numerous workshops, presentations, and private consultations with members of the military, government employees, and others in the community.
I enjoyed my work. The whole experience was emotionally rewarding as I watched people struggle to overcome their financial challenges.
At the same time, I struggled with mine. Debt (mortgage, car loans, and high credit card balances) kept me concerned about my personal financial condition. With a stagnated salary, I had difficulty making ends meet.
In the early part of 2000, I became more determined to solve my financial challenges and those of my clients. I began to investigate what appeared to be a big problem in our country. Seemingly, millions of people were experiencing financial difficulty, but the problem was well-hidden.
The situation compelled me to do more than simply thinking about it. I began to research the problem. In the process, I discovered various surveys showing roughly 90 percent of working adults living paycheck to paycheck, even some who make six-figure incomes.
In most cases, the problem related directly to financial misconceptions, poor training, and lack of knowledge. It was then that I wrote my first book: Are You Financially Checkmate, which was recently redone and released as Pennies to Power — written especially for younger generations.
As an author and financial management coach, my aim is to help young people avoid some of the financial problems that I and thousands of my clients have experienced. Indeed, young people can become financially independent, starting with the income they make. And a good place to begin is understanding the basic financial concepts that are outlined in Pennies to Power … an invaluable guide on the journey to success.