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Kimberly Hamilton of Beworth Finance on how she tackled debt in D.C.

This is an interview with Kimberly Hamilton founder of Beworth Finance.

Where are you from? Long Island, NY
Where do you live now? Washington D.C.
What do you do for work? I work for an international development consulting firm
Do you have any side hustles? I am the founder of Beworth Finance. I run online courses and workshops to educate women, millennials and gen-z on making strategic financial decisions.
Salary (if comfortable sharing): Over six figures
How much student debt are you tackling (or have tackled)? I paid off about 45K plus interest, glad to have tackled that!
How did you start your early career? I learned about international development as a field when I studied abroad and took a trip to a village in India. No one in my family worked in it and I had never heard of it before, my dad sells garbage trucks, he wasn’t part of that world at all. There was a group teaching a group of women about financial literacy. I thought they were all volunteers, but I found out they were paid. I changed majors and went to grad school for international affairs, and then made my way to D.C., where most of the international development work is focused.

What are some money habits you’ve adopted?

First, on the subject of debt repayment, learn and choose a strategy, whether that’s the avalanche method or snowball method. Having a plan was a big piece of helping me to implement the plan. So pick a strategy and stick to it.

Second, automate your finances as much as possible. That can be anything from how you’re structuring and monitoring a budget to how you’re paying off debt, automating savings or investments. For me, the point where I had the most anxiety around finances was 1000% when I was in that debt pay back period, especially those first two years. But, automating my finances took a lot of that stress off and that broadened my mind to think about my next money goals after my debts would be paid, can I start an emergency fund, how do I save for my house, etc.

Automating finances can take the daily anxiety away from those decisions.

What is your money advice–particularly during the holidays?

We’re cutting it close, something I always recommend long term is setting up a sinking fund. Determining in advance how much you think you will spend on big-buckets of expenses throughout the year and setting up a dedicated account for that. Whether that’s gifts for holiday shopping or a vacation. Setting up a specific fund that you contribute throughout the year so that when the holidays roll around, you can pay yourself back from that account.

Because we’re only a month or two away from holiday season, if you aren’t currently using a budget or a tool to help you budget, whether that is an excel spreadsheet or a money app. In absence of having the run time of setting up a sinking fund, take a look at your budget so that you are realistically thinking about what is appropriate to spend based on what your incoming expenses will be in the next two months.

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