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Natural Awakenings Charlotte

Developing Money Consciousness: Meadlock Financial helps people take control of their finances

May 02, 2014 12:43PM
money falling in the sky and green grass background

by Lisa Moore

Meadlock Financial helps people  take control of their finances

When Ashley Meadows set out to get some professional assistance with managing her finances, she found out that traditional financial planners wanted a minimum investment of few thousand dollars to give her advice. Later, after studying financial mathematics and acquiring an MBA, she knew wanted to start a business that spoke to her passion of educating people to take control of their finances. She wanted to take her own financial struggles and achievements to empower others to make informed decisions for their futures.

As founder and owner of Meadlock Financial, her mission is to change the landscape of fee-based financial planning in Charlotte by providing affordable, personalized planning and consulting for middle class families. She explores her clients’ emotions and personal relationships to money so they can stick to a plan and play an active role in the management of it. Natural Awakenings spoke to Meadows about how people can have a stronger relationship with their money.

What types of services does Meadlock Financial offer?

Our goal is to get people financially fit. We offer private financial counseling/advising and financial education classes to individuals and families as well as business management consulting for those wanting to start or who have started their own business. Starting a business requires a lot of business skills (marketing, websites, taxes, networking, and cash flow management) that many owners do not have. Meadlock Financial believes in small business because it’s another pathway for financial health. Meadlock Financial is customized and affordable.

What led you to start offering these services?

As a child, I came from a family of humble beginnings - the working poor. Education was certainly my escape and my saving grace. As I became more educated, I grew professionally (as a Quality Manager for chemical companies) and financially. Then, I realized that I had no idea what was going on with my money. I knew to pay bills on time, but that was it. I started searching the internet for a financial advisor when I realized that I was “too poor” to get financial advice. Who has $3000 to $10,000 just to get someone to talk to you about whether to pay off your student loans or set up an emergency fund? So I wanted to meet the need for middle-class financial planning as well as share and empower people with financial education. It’s not hard, but it is unique to each person. The current financial planning industry is not meeting the needs of the average middle-class family – especially in this economy.

Is there a particular client you wish to reach?

I want to help people that want the knowledge and empowerment to manage their own money, and understand that money is only a tool for achieving your goals in life. That’s where my slogan came from: “It’s not your money; It’s your life.” You offer something called financial therapy. What is that?

Financial therapy is a relatively new branch of financial planning. People make a lot of financial decisions based on how they were raised, the values they were taught (even indirectly) about money, and many times out of pure emotion. Financial therapy allows people to work through those topics so they can discover why they spend money and how that is contrary or supports their life purpose and goals.

What experience or training do you have in your field?

Aside from my personal financial struggles and growth, I have an MBA from Wingate University and eight years of business management experience including budgets, marketing, supply chain and process improvement. I’ve also studied Mathematical Finance at UNCC.

What are some strategies for people to reach their personal financial goals?

The first thing people need to understand is where they are spending their money. It’s surprising when those little expenses add up to big budget items. And most people aren’t even aware. Once they know where the money is going, they need to figure out why. We lend money to family out of guilt, spend money on clothes and shoes out of insecurity, or avoid it all out of shame. It’s not healthy emotionally and spiritually. It’s certainly not healthy financially. Look at it. Balance yourself. Justify it. If you can’t, that’s a problem. And finally, I tell people to put their money where their heart is. Invest in what’s important – whether that’s more family vacations or a gym membership for your health. Your money is only a tool to live the life that’s true to you.

What goes into how people think about money and their relationship with their finances?

It all stems from how you were raised in childhood. What values were you taught? Did your parents make you afraid of credit cards? Did they inform you of what it truly costs to live at the standard you dream? We are taught our values about money from a very early age through experience and role models. That’s why I encourage people to work with their children on finances. How do you work with women in particular?

Today’s woman has more money and opportunity than any time in our history. What’s sad is that women struggle with the balance of being the breadwinner, paying the bills, and taking care of the family. Women tend to be calmer, more patient investors, but they also have a much higher emotional stake in the outcome. In working with women, you really need to be able to relate to those internal conflicts and find reasonable solutions that allow them to be more effective with their money rather than simply have more. Men, on the other hand, have much less emotional baggage about their finances, and it’s much easier for them to be content with their money.

What advice do you have for business people and what support services do you provide?

I’ve found that business people just want to do their craft. Unfortunately, it’s not enough to just offer a good product or service. Cash flow management, marketing, and pricing are key to any business and the small business owner has to do it all.

I would offer two pieces of advice. For new owners, recognize your strengths and weaknesses. Use your strength and don’t be afraid to seek advice or pay someone to help you with your weaknesses. For more seasoned business owners – stay current on your education. You never know when even unrelated trends and technologies can affect your market.

For startups, Meadlock Financial offers everything from business plan revisions and finding seed money to website designs and managing social media content, all customized to meet the client’s need. More seasoned businesses may be interested in affordable management consulting which might include implementing a new marketing plan, designing new metrics and processes to measure the cost effectiveness of a particular piece of the business, or even blogging to drive more traffic to their web media.

Do you have any personal financial heroes or mentors?

My personal financial hero is my father, Dwayne Meadows. He kept education on the forefront and raised two children as a single father. Everything I learned about how to survive when you don’t have enough money, I learned from him.

Info: visit MeadlockFinancial.com or call 980-237-7755.

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