Many young adults and new college graduates are lacking in-depth lessons on budgeting and saving, which calls for an increased effort to promote financial literacy. For the past few years, Louisiana, Connecticut, and Michigan have all proposed financial literacy courses for high school students. Also emerged are professional budgeting coaches like Jada Elam.
The 23 year old Virginia Beach resident is a graduate of the University of California San Diego. She discovered her talent in budgeting after holding a successful workshop on the subject for her internship at the Black Resource Center in 2020. Elam enjoyed her work also because she could help young black women like herself.
Elam started Green Line Planner that same year and has been able to develop clients across the country. These services range from investment advice to a 12 week one-on-one budget coaching program. Elam also has a planning book titled “My Money My Rules” where she provides fixed expense calendars and weekly expense charts.
Like many young budgeting experts, Elam has used social media to promote her financial services. She owns a YouTube channel, a podcast, and a most successful TikTok account to educate her audience with short and effective budgeting lessons. One of her videos received 1.3 million views.
Elam said that she started her TikTok because there was not a lot of budgeting content and she wishes her budgeting videos to reach more people. Elam breaks down her courses into budgeting examples for short videos, and many viewers ultimately checked out her business.
“I usually write it out on my iPad first with all the calculations already laid out. And then I just replicate the calculations and all the writing that I’ve done onto the paper and speed up the video times three. And then I use my audio to do a voiceover,” said Elam.
The videos give viewers practical budgeting systems to implement into their lives. Viewers could simply save her content and use her accurate calculations to plug in their own income and expense numbers.
Elam also shared how she educated herself to develop her Green Line Planner content.
“A lot of it is experience, and then also a lot of it is reading. I read about the psychological side of money. And then I used my experience and other research that I’ve done in order to fuel the math side of it,” said Elam.
Elam sold her first budget planner as a college student. After learning about sales calls and tracking leads with a business coach, Elam was ready to get Green Line Planner off the ground.
Elam formed her own coaching philosophy: “how people can mentally withstand certain financial struggles and also know how to transform their spending habits and identify which spending habits are holding them back.”
The biggest selling point of Green Line Planner is that Elam provides personalized budgeting plans. She uses the app, Notion, to build a budget to help each client achieve their goals and feel confident about the future. Elam said that she wishes to help people with more effective personalized plans and strays away from the universal cookie cutter principles that many finance gurus teach.
Another thing that Elam truly takes pride in is not telling people necessarily what to spend their money on. Instead, she works to help clients figure out “how to spend it on their needs, their wants, their savings, and paying off debt all at the same time in a very organized manner that is going to be beneficial for them.”
Elam adds that clients usually ask her how to save more money. Elam suggests that clients tighten up on their expenses and eliminate expenses that are no longer serving them. When a client starts saving, she recommends that they attach a purpose to the money or they aren’t tempted to put it in their checking account. In the case that all their bills are necessary, Elam suggests that they find a way to increase their income.
Despite the multitude of budgeting related info online, many people seem to be confused about what budget coaches like Elam do.
“It’s not just, oh, I’m going to teach you how to pay your rent on time. It’s more so trying to let them know that it’s encompassing everything. Like it’s reducing stress, it’s building your confidence, it’s making you feel financially stable, so you don’t have as much anxiety every time you go up to a register. So, it’s things that are priceless really.“
Written by: Philip Kulubya, Tina Zhang