About Tana

Tana-HeadshotTana is a financial planner and writer who is on a mission to help others avoid some of the money mistakes she made in her 20’s and 30’s by providing basic financial information and a focused approach to managing money and financial matters.

Her journey to financial planning and writing started later in her career and took a long and winding path, so she can appreciate that “you don’t know what you don’t know” especially about money.

As the mother to 4 young adults, her goal was to pour her knowledge and experience about money and personal finance into her kids’ heads. (Ok, it was to get her kids off her payroll.) When the funnel didn’t work, she wrote a book.

She lives outside of Atlanta with her husband, Tom, and some or all of her 4 children – depending on the college calendar. Although the kids are in and out, her dog-pal, Poppy, is always under foot. You can check in with her on the blog to see what she’s up to today.

Let’s Ask Tana:

So why “Graduate’s Guide”?


  • My kids are getting close to college graduation,
  • I want them to know the things that I know after 20+ years of real life experience and 10+ years as a financial planner but didn’t necessarily know when I was graduating from college,
  • I want them to be financially independent (and soon!)
  • I want to help them avoid all of the financial mistakes I have made (lots and lots of mistakes!) And,
  • I figured, if my kids don’t know this stuff, then most of their peers probably don’t either.

So why a Guide to Money?

  • Money is a tricky subject in this country – people really don’t like to talk much about the specifics of it like how much they make or how much they have and that tends to pervade into the more common logistics of money – getting it, saving it, investing it, and protecting it.
  • Most people are pretty much self-taught on common logistics like insurance and picking 401k investments and how banking works.  The downside of that is that most are never really confident in what they are doing or why so they don’t want to get into a discussion about it lest their vulnerability and lack of knowledge be exposed.
  • Parents, friends or family members may give no advice for fear of giving wrong advice, or worse, may give horrible advice just because that’s all they know or have done.  It is easier to make something up than to say, “I don’t know” and admit that you have been bumbling along all these years.
  • Life, especially the financial part of life, is getting more and more complicated. I’d like to be the one who helps to explain it, tells you what you most need to know, and keeps you focused on the really important stuff.

So who the heck are you – voice of the blog?

  • I am a mom, first and foremost, and that role also makes me a teacher, trainer, coach, cheerleader, and worrier who is constantly trying to help my kids and make sure they are ready to take on life and be successful.  As I’m sure you know, if they aren’t happy and successful, it’s the mother’s fault….
  • I am, more recently, a financial planner, so I really get the money stuff now from a professional, “this is what is best for you” sort of way, and I have worked with a lot of different clients and understand their worries and fears around money.
  • But I have also been “a grown-up” for quite a while now and have stumbled and bumbled my way through much of my financial learning about how things work – like banking and buying a house and debt and investments and having your car break down and your rent is due, and it’s time to go to the dentist, and I found this really cool thing that I really, really want to buy.
  • I completely get the tug-of-war between this is what is best for you and real life, and I think that the best way to avoid that sort of thing is to get yourself set-up from the very beginning with a great plan and system for implementing your plan so that you start your journey with your car pointed in the right direction.
  • I am concerned about the money situation and attitudes in our country and the best way to deal with that is to educate each upcoming generation to be smarter about money, to spend it with integrity, and use it in ways that are important to them.

It doesn’t really matter if you are officially “graduating” from something; what matters is that you want to know more about money, how financial “stuff” works, and how to make better financial decisions.  Not everybody wants to be rich but most people want to be financially solid and secure.  Some make it there by chance or good luck; some make it there through “one big idea;” but everyone can make it there with a good plan and the determination to do the things that it takes to accumulate, grow, and protect wealth.