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Monday, June 17, 2024

My Wealth & Wellness: Changing lives through financial education

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For many Americans, talking about money is taboo or feels overwhelming to deal with. However, it impacts everyday life, making it extremely risky to leave finances up to trial and error. Seeing the lack of knowledge and awareness around personal finance inspired Janessa Siegel to create the My Wealth & Wellness app to give people the power and resources to improve their financial future.

“We are all impacted by money in one way or another, yet money is something rarely discussed or taught to young children or adults,” said Siegel. “This lack of education contributes to the misuse of resources, discrimination, and unequal opportunities. I knew there needed to be a place to combat these issues, and the best way I could help was to do it myself.”

The app provides modules, videos, and worksheets on six key topics: budgeting, saving, retirement, investing, credit, and college access. A chat feature also allows members to work directly with a financial professional. Using the information the user provides through an intake form, My Wealth & Wellness will pair individuals with the right financial support to remove the roadblocks and reach their goals.

When she worked with students in the college and university system, Siegel saw the challenges of lack of financial education first-hand. She witnessed how the lack of financial wellness knowledge negatively impacted students, from over-borrowing to missing deadlines.

“As a Black woman in education raised by a middle school teacher, I was able to work from a lens that showed discrepancies in our systems that others missed,” said Siegel. “I created My Wealth & Wellness to solve the problem of low financial literacy, lack of access to adequate financial resources, and closing the wealth gap. I believe everyone deserves a chance to live the life they always wanted, and improving one’s financial wellness can help them accomplish just that.”

After working in financial aid for three years, Siegel transitioned to financial wellness at Indiana University, where she taught finance to students, faculty, and staff. Through her role at the university, she focused on educating individuals on financial wellness and reducing financial stress through counseling and support. Siegel now brings that holistic wellness approach as the Founder and CEO of My Wealthy Wellness LLC. She developed workbooks and workshops addressing these key financial topics, which expanded into the My Wealth & Wellness app.

She continues her dedication to empowering students with a special college access section in the app. It provides students with strategies to help them understand admissions, financial aid, FAFSA applications, and even selecting a major.

“Everyone deserves a quality education, and money shouldn’t prevent that access,” said Siegel. “Whether someone wants to go to college or vocational school, being prepared for the financial responsibility of post-secondary education can be the difference between attending and finishing school and not going at all.”

The My Wealth & Wellness app is available on both Apple and Android app stores. A basic subscription includes access to all the education materials, a private chat with financial professionals, and a directory of professionals. The college access subscription includes all resources on the app and a monthly planning meeting with a financial professional to address questions, create financial plans and offer accountability.

Siegel’s goal is to empower people in their personal finances and give them peace of mind in financial planning. It can be a difficult journey, but as Siegel expresses in her mantra, “Consistency is key, and change takes time. Stay smart, stay healthy and stay financially well.”

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