I'm always excited to discover my millennial peers doing what they love while scrolling through my Instagram or Twitter feeds. Today's "Millennial on a Mission" is passionate about personal finance, and empowering her generation to make smart decisions with their money now so that they'll be comfortable in the future. In one of her recent blog posts, she TRIPLE dog dares you not to touch your tax refund, and provides a number of great tips on how you can save and invest such a nice chunk of change. Ladies and gentlemen, meet Alyssa Windell.
Born in California, and raised in Pennsylvania, Alyssa now resides in Oregon. Originally, she started her college career at the University of San Diego, and then transferred to Oregon State University where she received her Bachelor's degree in Speech Communication with a minor in Business and Entrepreneurship. "Throughout my undergraduate experience, I was inspired by many fields of study and it was incredibly difficult for me to settle upon one pathway," Alyssa recalls. "Thankfully, college was a wonderful time to experience many avenues and to gain exposure to everything." Currently, she works for a mid-sized, family-owned company in the city of Eugene called PakTech. "I absolutely love my role and value working for company that supports each of it's employees through their career and professional development."
CC: Who/what inspired you to launch Generation YRA? How do you hope to inspire your millennial peers to become much more savvy about their financial planning?
AW: After graduating, I became fairly adamant about getting in tune with my personal finances, so most of my mornings were spent reading about money related topics. I'm going to be honest, it became pretty disheartening to seek out sources of information for the Millennial generation. It seemed as if every article was fairly dismal, that the Millennial generation doesn't know how to save, or the terrible spending habits we all have will not change. I finally stumbled upon an article on Forbes titled “The Recession Generation: How Millennials Are Changing Money Management Forever” written by Samantha Sharf and Janet Novack. Bingo! In comes in the story of Alexa Von Tobel and her wonderful website, LearnVest. I was utterly inspired. With copious amounts of student debt and the fear of another recession, I wanted to create a source where Millennials can come and grow their knowledge of personal finance. From there, the Generation YRA blog was born: A Millennial's Guide to Securing a Strong Financial Present and Future.
My goal is to allow for Millennials to feel empowered and recognize that money is a tool, and not something that should abuse us. I hope to inspire my Millennial peers by being transparent in the fact that I am in no way a certified financial planner, or hold a degree in a financial field. I hope to offer insight, research, and perspective from a recent college graduate who has a goal of reaching her definition of financial freedom – while encouraging other Millennials to reach their financial freedom as well!
CC: What inspires and drives you? Who are some role models that you admire, specifically any women #WhoRunTheWorld?
AW: My family and loved ones inspire me and give me incredible drive. I feel beyond grateful to have grown up with such a loving family who has supported me with each and every endeavor I have chosen to take on. Five years ago, my family lost my father to pancreatic cancer. His loving memory and spirit continue to envelop me each day and inspire me to keep pursuing my passions. Whenever I am in doubt, I feel renewed by his loving memory. My wonderful fiancé also inspires me each day. He has been my biggest fan with unwavering support by physically being there cheering me on, and allowing me to mentally find peace of mind. There are a number of women role models in my life #WhoRunTheWorld in my mind, but my mom, former dance teachers and college professors, and of course my career mentors are just a few that continue to inspire and support me always.
I have been blessed to have encountered many role models in life to look up to. There are a many more people I could thank and recognize as women #WhoRunTheWorld. Just know, that if you are out there pursuing what you love – I look up to you, too!
To Alyssa, being a "Millennial on a Mission" means recognizing recognizing and encouraging your peers as they take on their multiple pathways of success. "The competition element in society is eradicated and we reach out to discover ways for each and every one of us to obtain success – in whichever form that may be," Alyssa exclaims. "Our generation is difficult to pinpoint because we are discovering new walks of life that stray away from the “traditional” sense." On a daily basis, Alyssa strives to live and achieve her dreams by always learning and taking in new perspectives. She recognizes that learning does not just stop at the institution level, and that we each wonderfully have the ability (whether through books, or people) to continue developing our intelligence. The one piece of advice she has for young entrepreneurs? Take on life with insatiable curiosity! "I guarantee that each learning experience, albeit positive or negative will allow you an opportunity to grow," Alyssa says. "I want you to know that you always have the potential in you, it is just a matter of having the willingness to try. You've got this!"