Our Money Matters is thrilled that LaRese Purnell has joined our team as brand ambassador. LaRese is a financial professional with both an MBA and a Master's Degree in accounting and corporate taxation. He is the Co-Founder and Managing Partner of CLE Consulting Firm in Cleveland, Ohio, as well as a nationally recognized motivational speaker who has been teaching financial literacy for over a decade.
We wanted to learn how LaRese first became interested in the field of accounting and finance and share some of his financial wellness advice for others.
Q: You recently joined Our Money Matters as a brand ambassador. When and how did you first become interested in the field of finance?
LP: Growing up in poverty, I became determined to break that cycle as an adult. When I went away to college, I decided the best way to achieve economic success was through education. I began equipping myself with the necessary tools to positively impact the financial well-being of myself and my family. As I started seeing results during that process, I wanted to teach others how to accomplish their financial goals as well.
Q: What appealed to you most about becoming a brand ambassador for Our Money Matters?
LP: I have been teaching Financial Literacy for over a decade. When I became engaged with Our Money Matters, I finally felt as though I was reconnected with my family because they had similar goals focused on impacting students and families financially. I was impressed with the Our Money Matters technology and how it enables students and community residents to participate in free financial education and wealth-building.
Q: Why do you think increasing financial literacy is so important?
LP: Financial literacy is essential for anyone attempting to achieve their financial goals. Whether saving for a down payment on a house, planning for retirement, or paying for college, financially savvy individuals are better equipped to reach their individual and family goals. Education helps them to build generational wealth and leave a legacy.
Q. What is the one piece of financial advice you wish you had followed when you were younger?
LP: To start saving and investing early. The power of compounding interest can work wonders over time, and starting to save sooner allows you to take advantage of it. Also, it's essential to live within your means, avoid unnecessary debt, and have an emergency fund to cover unexpected expenses. Developing good financial habits early on can set you on the path toward long-term financial security and success.
Q. What is the biggest financial mistake you ever made?
LP: One of the biggest financial mistakes I made was living beyond my means and accumulating too much debt at a young age. I didn't have a budget, and I spent money impulsively on things I didn't need. As a result, I had high credit card balances, car loans, payday loans, and student loans that I struggled for years to pay off, leading to financial stress, missed bill payments, and damaged credit scores. It's important to create a budget, track expenses, and prioritize saving money to avoid falling into this same trap.
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