What led me to Advisory Services?

Managing money has always been fun for me. Saving money came easy.

At the young age of five, I had saved every birthday and Christmas dollar I had received since I was old enough to know what money was, so my parents took me to Columbia County Bank (now Millennium Bank), and I opened my first savings account with about $300. That trend continued well into my teens until I started “wanting”stuff. However, instead of taking money out of savings, I got a part-time job so I would have a little spending money. I still prioritized saving though. I considered it a bill that had to be paid, along with my 10% tithe. When I went to college, scholarships paid for the majority of my education, but my parents covered the rest of school, rent, and needs. I didn’t work much during the last two years of college, so if I wanted something that my parents weren’t covering, I would have to take money out of savings, and it was terrible. I hated it. Most of the time, I would just rather go without. When I graduated with my Bachelors Degree, I knew I wanted to get my Master’s Degree. I also knew that I would need to pay for it myself as my parents had three younger children who also needed to go to college, so I moved back home, landed my first real job in banking, and started saving.

Fast forward to the age of 25 when my fiancé and I bought a house. I was still working at the bank, but I had just graduated with my Master’s Degree, and with a few promotions, that job in the bank had turned into my career, and I was earning significantly more money. However, as most people know, when you buy a house, you don’t just have a house payment. You have utilities, upkeep, groceries, etc. I had created budgets before, but it was time to get serious. I began budgeting. All of those things mentioned before were bills, but I continued to list savings as a bill. I was also dumping a lot of money into my 401k and Roth (which I also consider bills), but that discussion is for a different day. Anything left over after my bills were paid was disposable income, and I felt no guilt for spending it because I knew that I had already saved my budgeted amount.

Every Financial Decision I Have Made Since That Time Has Been Based Upon The Numbers On My Budget, And I Recreate That Budget Every Single Month.

Can I afford the extra payment if I buy this new car? Will we have the money to take that weekend trip? How much disposable income will we have left when we start paying for childcare. I never make a blind decision about any expenditure. I know whether or not each purchase is within my means. I spend money at Christmas without the extra stress because I have saved for it all year. We place enough money in savings for travel, big purchases, etc.

I love this stuff. I love recreating a budget at the beginning of every month. I love seeing my savings balance increase. I love analyzing my spending to see if I can cut a bill in one spot to spend more elsewhere. I am blessed to be naturally good at it, but I know it is not a skill that everyone has. After spending almost 19 years in the banking industry, I know that most people don’t balance a checkbook. They only know how much money they can spend after looking at an ATM receipt or checking their bank app. Balancing a checkbook, learning to budget and save are not skills that are taught in elementary or middle school, and only in the last 10-15 years has banking been offered as an elective in high school. While I did take accounting and finance in college, not once did I have to create a balance sheet and income statement for my own fictitious household.

We go to school, we enter the workforce, and each one of us has something to offer.

Business Owners Have A Trade That They Love, That They Are Good At, And They Want To Offer It To The World. However, They Soon Learn That Being A Business Owner Involves Looking At Numbers In Order To Be Successful.

Maybe you need a loan, maybe you want to grow but don’t know if you have enough retained earnings or (savings) and capital to financially support the growth, maybe you need to hire two extra employees but you don’t know how it will affect your bottom line. These tasks are the role of a Chief Financial Officer (CFO), but what if you don’t know if you can afford to pay for an internal CFO or you just don’t feel there is enough work to have a full-time CFO on staff?

That’s Where I Come In.

I spent most of the last 19 years as a CFO, Controller, or Financial Strategy Officer for the bank, looking at, creating, and analyzing financials. Let me help you and your business by doing the things that I love, which gives you more time to do the things that you love. Together, we can work together to help you make better, informed decisions about the future of your company.

Tax Strategy & Planning + CFO Advisory Services
= Perfect Alignment

Cessie Cothran, MBA

Connect with me on LinkedIn