“If money is your hope for independence, you will never have it. The only real security that a man will have in this world is a reserve of knowledge, experience, and ability.” Henry Ford

Hello! I am Latoria Williams, and I’d be glad to join you on a quest for financial freedom. Having a good financial sense is part of money management, and it takes learning and effort. Over many years, I was trying to understand how the mechanisms of financial and personal fulfillment work, how the money personality types relate to people’s potential, and what are the keys to financial freedom and unlimited success and happiness.

My goal

One of my primary goals is to help others to rewire their brains to master money by better understanding of our human behaviors towards money, and I believe that my background in the lending and finance industry helped me a lot to make sense of everyday money obstacles in a world where personal finance faces behavioral science and technology.

My education

Going back to where it all began, in Las Vegas, I studied Quantitative Finance at the University of Nevada (UNLV), where I started building my knowledge in financial analysis. Here I’ve learned how to develop and implement complex mathematical models that are used by financial companies for making decisions about risk management, investments, and pricing and how to reduce risk and generate profits.

My working experience

After graduating from UNLV, I spent five years as an employee in the lending sector, where I’ve deepened my knowledge of finance, and I saw how this works in practice, in everyday life, with real people and stories. I’ve also learned that getting your debt paid off, save money, and make progress towards your financial goals isn’t (or doesn’t have to be) a difficult experience.

Thus, at the beginning of my career, I served as a Client Service Associate at Ameriquest Mortgage Company. This assignment gave me a great experience of communication with clients. I learned to understand their needs, directly interacted with customers to help explain loan products and connect them with solutions that were suited to their financial needs and goals. During that time, I built on my theoretical knowledge from the university by helping borrowers work through a diverse range of real-world financing scenarios.

Thus, I developed a deep understanding of the psychological dynamics which drive borrowing decisions as well as the obstacles faced by consumers who do not qualify for prime lending services.

Already back then, I could clearly see that approaching financial decisions rationally is remarkably difficult to do for a lot of people (just look around you, and you’ll find evidence yourself that human beings, not every time are rational when it comes to finances). However, a little mindfulness, namely trying to figure out what your motivation is each time and what money choices you make, could be a good guardian and a solution for combating irrational decisions.

Later I’ve joined Wachovia, where I was quickly promoted to the position of Administrative Manager. While this removed me from my customer-facing role, it gave me a chance to grow my supervisory skills and take on the leadership role which I craved.

Here I realized that my background in behavioral economics, combined with my experience in the lending industry, could help me serve under-banked customers who are unable to successfully apply for a loan through regular banks or credit unions because of their bad credit history. Even if every day I witnessed people getting more and more into debt, losing control of their personal finance, I could say for sure that investing in yourself and your financial future – you won’t ever need to worry about your finances again. Still, I didn’t know how I could help them. I wished that one day, with my behavioral knowledge, I’ll be able to reach borrowers, building a bridge of empathy that borrowers can cross to achieve better financial experience and perspective.

Finally, in 2011 I have joined 1FirstCashAdvance Financial Help, and it’s an honor for me to lead this team of professionals until the present time. The CEO position gave me the possibility to change the business model of this company, improving its concepts. Finally, I got the opportunity to make decisions and to influence all the processes that years in a row I was only watching from the sidelines, but I could not change anything.

We care about our clients, so we’re not only helping people to face their unexpected financial needs and emergencies but also to transform them into responsible borrowers with a good credit record. In other words, we’re trying to educate those with limited access to mainstream financial resources on responsible lending and borrowing practices, at the same time, connecting them with affordable financial services.

My dream

One of my dreams is to grow financial literacy in the subprime community, helping consumers to strengthen their long-term credit profiles. Unlike the other job posts I had, now I have the opportunity to contribute to the financial education of borrowers not only in the local area but throughout the US.

My knowledge in personal finance management and my professional experience in the lending sector make me a full-blown personal finance consultant, helping my clients make informed financial decisions and get over their economic issues (and I have to confess that I am a little bit obsessed with making sure they get results).

There’s nothing I’m more passionate about than inspiring and mentoring people to pursue their dreams and create the exact life they’ve been too busy to imagine. I’m a big believer that we’ll build a wave of increasing financial literacy, which ultimately will gradually reduce the need for short-term loans.