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Daily Inspiration: Meet Hersh Chopra

Today we’d like to introduce you to Hersh Chopra.

Hi Hersh, thanks for sharing your story with us. To start, maybe you can tell our readers some of your backstory.
I come from an average immigrant family who moved here from India with very little but worked hard to achieve what we may consider an upper middle-class status. I grew up learning to value money mostly because I saw how hard my parents worked to give us a comfortable life even with not so lavish salaries. And so, I never asked my parents for money as soon as I started working. My first ever job was at the student store in middle school where I earned a few bucks (less than what most kids at that age get in the form of an allowance from their parents), but my first real job was in college as an assistant for an Astronomy professor at UCLA. Since then, I learned to save money and use it towards any college expenses I had – tuition, rent, food, etc. I interned at a couple of different companies during college summers and continued to use my earnings towards the same. Once I got a full-time job after college, I started paying off my student loans from undergrad and investing into a 401k.

Honestly, I never thought I was ever at the bottom of the bottom financially, but I also wasn’t at a great place when my real financial test started. While I had paid most of my undergrad student loans by the time I applied for grad school, I was all of a sudden $125K deep in student debt as soon as I completed grad school, and ironically without any teachings of how to pay it down. This is where my real business journey started.

I decided to aggressively pay down my debt within five years. I had made up my mind that I was not going to have this debt over my head for the ten years I was given to pay it back. This required a plan, which led me to look into budgeting and take a deeper interest into my personal finances. I buckled down, moved back home so I could save on rent and utilities, limited going out with friends, pushed myself harder to find a better job or work toward promotions, and put every additional money earned (bonuses, salary increases, tax refunds) towards my student debt. In short, a budget and my mindset played a major role in eliminating my student debt, that too in a little over three years versus my five years goal. Honestly, I was proud of myself and it was definitely something to celebrate, which I did and still do.

This achievement quickly turned into an idea and a passion to help others in achieving similar results to become debt-free and start building wealth for their future. So, I took a financial coaching course to build a better foundation to help my clients and started an Instagram account to promote financial literacy through insightful posts, educational content, and some fun Dance with Finance videos. I started providing free extensive budget templates, goal planning trackers, and more tools to help my followers take action towards their own journeys. I’ve been blessed with a lot of support and encouragement along the way from friends and family and have collaborated via podcasts and live sessions with other financial advocates on social media to spread more awareness of this much-needed subject. I have been fortunate to pass on my learnings via 1-on-1 coaching sessions to many individuals over the last three years.

We all face challenges, but looking back would you describe it as a relatively smooth road?
Starting a business is never a smooth road and takes a lot of busy evenings/nights (in my case after a 9-5 job, which is never really 9-5). I’ve met a lot of financial literacy advocates like myself who spend hours creating content to make a difference in other people’s lives and give them a better fighting chance against the consumerism culture that leads to a paycheck-to-paycheck lifestyle. However, most people would rather rack up debt on material purchases and depreciating assets than to invest in financial education. While some clients come with a winning mindset, wanting to turn their financial circumstances around and start on a path of financial wellness and success, most others will dabble into the initial consultation at most and go back to what makes them comfortable in the short run. Convincing people to follow a path towards becoming debt-free sometimes feels like an impossible task as a financial coach, which surprises me every single time and honestly makes me a little sad.

We live in a world of comparison, showing off our best life, easy access to credit, and targeted ads promoting a life of luxury to most who cannot afford it. I wish more organizations and corporations would put financial literacy ads and lessons in front of people’s faces instead of ads, flyers and credit card options. This is unfortunately why 80% of Americans are in debt – a lack of financial knowledge, a desire to live beyond their means, and zero discipline towards being intentional and accountable with their finances.

The biggest challenge comes when a person doesn’t play full out in their own financial journey. For that reason, I make sure the client and I are a mutual fit through my FREE initial call I offer, and only work with those who are in it to win it and ready to take action towards their financial wellbeing. No coach can help someone who doesn’t want to help themself.

Thanks for sharing that. So, maybe next you can tell us a bit more about your work?
I’m a financial coach, and I help college graduates and young working professionals overcome the ‘American Dream’ lifestyle that begins and ends with debt. I help empower them to start their journey to financial freedom through mindset transformation, education, and customized money management tools so they can set goals, make sound financial decisions, track their progress, and take action towards their debt, saving and investment goals.

College education in the U.S. is so expensive that many students suffer from stress and anxiety post-graduation due to accumulated student debt balances ranging anywhere from $40K to $500K depending on their profession. I experienced the same stress and anxiety until I decided to take an aggressive approach in paying off my $125K student debt in a little over three years. Realizing that not even one class taught me how to manage my finances or pay off debt, I started coaching college graduates to achieve similar results of becoming debt-free so they could live a more meaningful life without the stress and burdens of debt.

I’m proud to be part of the solution to this major problem and look forward to coaching and helping more people to shift from a fear to an actionable mindset and work with them to create a robust financial plan they can follow to become debt-free and start building wealth.

Most financial coaches don’t come from a similar financial journey and are more focused on selling financial products to clients. However, I teach from my own experiences of once being in the same boat as many of my clients, so it’s a story they’re able to relate to which drives hope to achieve the same one day themselves.

My coaching program is built on three simple principles:

1. Empower my clients with financial knowledge and tools so they can continue to take action even after our coaching sessions are over.

2. Ask my clients to come ready to learn and take action. If they don’t play all out, I cannot help them.

3. Pay it forward! I ask my clients to pay it forward by teaching others what they learn from me.

Alright so before we go can you talk to us a bit about how people can work with you, collaborate with you or support you?
You can find me on Instagram @hershchoprafinancialcoach, which is where you can take advantage of my free financial content, DM me for any questions you have, or book an initial 1-on-1 consultation. I am always open to collaborations and ideas to promote financial literacy, so all DMs of that nature are welcome as well. I love meeting new people and hearing about their stories to see how I can be of help, so DM me or book time on my calendar through my Instagram page. You can also support me by sharing my content and asking your friends and family to follow and share. And of course if you know anyone who needs additional help with their finances, I would very much appreciate your referrals so together we can help more people become educated and grow financially.

Contact Info:

Image Credits:

Ryan Hartford (Ecliptic Media Photography)

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