Welcome! I’m Deb, your financial coach. My mission is to help you master your finances and pursue your dreams.

At a turning point in your life? Eager to move forward but held back by financial constraints?

I hear you.

I’ve experienced many turning points in my own life: buying a house by myself, becoming a single parent by choice, leaving a comfortable job to start and run a business, and planning for the next phase of life as my kids get ready to leave the nest.

Personal finances have a big impact on your sense of well-being and possibilities for your life.

As I raised my kids and focused on my business (a preschool), I never found the time to pay attention to my finances.

“Some day,” I said, “I’ll save and invest.”

That day never came. I saved little and even put myself in debt, and it all caught up with me – the money anxiety and lack of a clear path to my future.

Sound familiar?

Serendipitously, I found out about the FIRE movement (Financial Independence/Retire Early). Too late for the “retire early” part, I started learning absolutely everything I could about personal finance.

I read books and blogs, listened to podcasts, joined communities, and took courses. I started a personal finance blog, and I’m currently working towards financial counseling accreditation through the AFCPE.

Implementing what I was learning, I changed the way I spent and saved, and started to transform my life.

You can, too!

Money Smart for Life was born out of my desire to serve women just like you. I’ve done the deep dive into financial learning, so you don’t have to!

I’m so glad you’re here, and look forward to helping you change your finances and transform your life!

Ready to Get Started?



My previous work life includes founding and operating a preschool for many years, where I taught, supervised staff, developed curriculum, coached parents, and ran the business. Prior to starting the preschool, I worked at a non-profit, where I wrote grants, fund-raised, and helped immigrants and refugees prepare for life and work in the United States. I’m a single mom to two young adult daughters.

A summa cum laude graduate of Clark University, where I received highest honors in English, I also hold an Ed.M. from the Harvard Graduate School of Education. I am currently working towards AFC certification through the AFCPE.

Just for Fun – Some Facts About Me

  • As part of an adventure challenge, I took a helicopter lesson, went dog sledding, got a tattoo, sang on video (OMG! I’m so tone deaf that in grade school a music teacher told me to mouth the words …), and more.


  • One of the most fun projects I ever worked on was editing a book (from 9:00 pm to midnight, after my kids went to sleep, for a year and a half). Like Money Smart for Life, it was a labor of love.
  • At one point in my life (pre-kids) I did a lot of on-road bicycle touring, but had never been on a mountain bike. I decided to take a mountain bike trip through Canyonlands National Park. In the first five minutes – of the first time I was EVER on a mountain bike – I faced an 800 foot drop into the canyon. Yikes! Scary but fun.
  • I’m a dog person. The best dog I ever had (the best dog to ever walk the face of the earth) was a beat-up former racing greyhound named Milo – my baby before my baby came along.


  • The very best thing I ever did, EVER, was adopt my kids, despite being told how hard it would be as a single mom. It was. And it was, and still is, THE BEST.
I’d love to hear some “fun facts” about you!  Drop me an email at debra@moneysmartforlife.com.

"Smart women figure out what, exactly, makes them happiest. They spend generously on those things but cut out the rest."

Laura Vanderkam