Michelle Waymire, CFA is Young + Scrappy
photos courtesy of Michelle Waymire
Unlike many of us, Michelle Waymire grew up in a household where talking about money wasn’t taboo. Her dad was an accounting professor and always tried to ingrain in her the basics of money: “don’t spend more than you bring in, be careful with debt, build your credit early, and be sure to save for retirement.”
Michelle’s journey, however, before leading her down the path of a financial advisor, started when she graduated with a bachelors in International Studies and taught theatre in an inner charter school. That’s when she first began to understand her father’s words of wisdom when it came to money.
“For the first time, I was living on a constrained salary, which required me to make my first real budget. Graduate school shortly thereafter brought a similar lifestyle, but the real turning point for me was again, last January when I left my job as a consultant,” says Michelle.
Google ‘millennials and money’ and you’ll see the media driving the hype behind whether they’re good or bad with money, depending on the day. Nobody is perfect. Despite having a solid foundation of financial literacy, Michelle felt the lure of the lifestyle creep when she transitioned from teacher to financial consultant after earning her MBA.
“I’d go a week or so tracking my expenses, then inevitably forget to log things. I was too lazy to check Mint (a budgeting app) and generally had no desire to constantly update a spreadsheet. On the bright side, this forced me to get really creative about how I approached budgeting, as well as led me to develop a system that anyone could follow,” says Michelle.
That deep understanding of human behavior and giving room to give ourselves some grace for forgetting to update our budgeting app because life happens is why Michelle is the best person to “help people get their financial shit together.”
“My experiences have not only taught me about personal finance, though—they’ve given me the firsthand experience needed to better serve my peers.”
In January 2017, after “helping a bunch of old, white men sell investment products felt awful,” she quit the corporate life and founded Young + Scrappy, a more approachable financial advisement firm for those of us who need non-condescending advice about money and help grow our wealth.
It made sense. Her friends and strangers, knowing her background, would come up to her at parties asking follow up questions to her short-lived video series Drunk Finance. They would open up about their financial situations, from spending habits to retirement plans and debt. “It seemed as though we young people had such a thirst for this knowledge, and a need for a safe space in which to have productive conversations about this Very Scary Topic,” says Michelle.
As CEO of Young + Scrappy, Michelle focuses in serving millennial professional women, LGBTQ+/polyamorous folx, and entrepreneurs, as she’s seen the most need within those groups.
She offers investment management for beginners and job transitioning adults, a holistic approach to financial planning that covers budget coaching, 401(k) and student debt analysis while skipping the judgement, and financial coaching to make sure her clients have the right financial literacy education.
“If fear of your finances is holding you back from making a change, do some soul searching around that. What exactly are you afraid of? Afraid of understanding and owning your own negative behaviors? Afraid you’ll have all the info and no idea where to begin?”
“Dig into those thoughts and really understand them. Acknowledge those fears, and then make a list of everything you’re trying to accomplish—and everything you’d need to learn about to get there. The biggest mistake people make is using that fear as an excuse to put off getting started,” says Michelle.
While building her business in the past year has had many big accomplishments, including a shout-out on Glamour Mag this past March, Michelle shares that she struggles with fears as well, more specifically imposter syndrome.
“It didn’t matter how long I had been in the industry, the fact that I had a Master’s degree and impressive creds, when I first started I was terrified to ask people for money in exchange for my advice,” says Michelle. It was only once I started to really have faith in my own value that I became more open to the concept of abundance.”
“Now, my goal is to believe in the value I put into the world, give freely as much as I can, and understand that my good work will lead to good business results down the line.”
Understanding her value and helping others understand theirs has helped her build a strong community through her Facebook group and provide a safe space to facilitate often overwhelming conversations about money and the triggers that may come with it.
“I believe that financial advice should be for everyone, not just people with buttloads of money to invest. Nobody ever teaches us this stuff,” says Michelle.
“I’m fortunate to have so many friends and clients who are comfortable referring me to their loved ones. I continue to expand my circles, make connections, and help new people daily—what an immense honor.”