The Financial Gypsy
Eileen St. Pierre, The Everyday Financial Planner
There are some very important events taking place in my life right now, so I am taking this week off. I decided to update and re-release this column since this financial gypsy will be roaming. The car has changed. I finally convinced my husband to sell the ’94 Chevy Blazer and we replaced it with a new ’14 Chevy Cruze.
Most people like going to the same office from 9 to 5 every day. I’ve never been one of those people. Perhaps that’s why I became a truck driver’s wife. Since we’ve been married, my husband and I have lived in five different states in three time zones.
I enjoy bringing financial education to people. I’m never sure what I’m going to find when I get there. That’s what makes the job challenging. I’ve worked as a college professor, Extension specialist, military financial counselor, and an independent consultant. Here are my four most memorable teaching venues:
1. The Ultimate Man Cave in Gate, OK
In case you are wondering, Gate is the dot on the map where the Oklahoma Panhandle meets the rest of the state. In the back of a crop insurance agency is the ultimate man cave (the owner lives next door). There are tables that can be set up to hold community meetings, as well as my estate planning class.
There is a full kitchen (with a FULL bar), along with a pool table. Of course, one corner houses the power tools. On the grill out back, my hosts cooked us all a steak dinner.
I had about a dozen people attend my class, but I left with a story I will tell for the rest of my life.
2. Fort Bliss in El Paso, TX
I spent a month at Fort Bliss providing financial counseling services for soldiers returning from deployment in Afghanistan. It was one of the most professionally rewarding experiences of my life. El Paso is such a welcoming community. It was nice working with other counselors who also have the desire to roam the country.
3. John Deere Corporation in Waterloo, IA
While on the Finance faculty at the University of Northern Iowa, I volunteered to teach the Financial Management class in the John Deere MBA program. Class was held one night a week on-site at the John Deere Waterloo Works facility. The students were great – always prepared and asked lots of questions. That impressed me because they had already put in a full workday. They always helped set up the classroom for me (something my traditional students never did). It was an honor and a pleasure to supervise four of these students’ MBA research projects.
4. Public Library in Mustang, OK
The library director in Mustang had seen an estate planning lesson I developed for the Oklahoma Cooperative Extension Service and asked me to present a program on a Saturday morning in January 2013. The class booked up quickly – perhaps due to advertisement on the huge electronic sign the City had just installed. I have returned several times to repeat the class.
I enjoy writing this blog and conducting financial education webinars, but nothing beats teaching face-to-face. Seeing that I have made an immediate impact on someone is the best feeling in the world. I’m not sure if the desire to keep traveling to my students will ever go away. I am a financial gypsy.