Financial Coach to Help People Become Millionaires
Theresa Cornwell, 34, was in her mid-twenties when she first felt a troublesome inkling of not following her calling in life. By all standards, she was a success story – she graduated from a top university in the United States and was flourishing financially amid a thriving career as an engineer. However, when that inkling manifested into heart palpitations nearly a decade into her career, she finally admitted to herself that she wasn’t doing what she was called to do: help people in a meaningful and life changing way.
However, God had a plan. Theresa had spent years building a savings account that could cover 9 months of living expenses, she had a credit score over 800, multiple thriving investment accounts, and even purchased a duplex to begin her real estate portfolio – all by the time she was 26.
“I had built the kind of financial stability by my mid-20s that most people hope to achieve by their 60s,” Theresa recounted. “I wasn’t making six figures, didn’t have parents who could afford to buy me investments, or anything special like that. So, I knew that if I could do it, others could too – it just takes financial literacy.”
After detailed research she came to a striking realization – her fellow Americans were not being taught how to achieve financial stability. Theresa found endless evidence – and horrifying stories – of people unable to retire or forced into homelessness due to high debts and lack of savings.
Theresa knew she could make a difference by teaching others the “keys” to financial success. It was at that point – in 2018 – that her company, The Millionaire Keys, often referred to as “TMK,” was born.
True to the reason for its creation, the company’s mission statement is “Financial Literacy for All.” Theresa knew that the only way to achieve that was to make financial education simple and accessible, so she created video courses that were engaging and easy to understand. These lessons taught her customers how to get out of debt and on track to become a millionaire.
Theresa found that her experience in engineering played a crucial role in her success when developing the courses, “I can explain technical concepts in a simple and relatable way, which makes my videos and coaching unique at The Millionaire Keys,” she explained. “I often find that financial advisors and industry professionals make important concepts in personal finance extremely convoluted and difficult for people to understand. I ensure that concepts are clear and comprehensive and that my clients know how to use their money to achieve their financial goals.”
The shift from a stable job in engineering to the uncertainty of starting her own business wasn’t easy though. “There was trial and error at every step in starting TMK,” she said. “Plus, I spent thousands of dollars making mistakes in marketing, which has been the biggest challenge in growing my business so far. Luckily, my background in engineering gave me a fortitude I wouldn’t have had otherwise. I knew how to push through problems and figure out how to overcome the endless obstacles I faced.”
But oftentimes, the biggest obstacles were from within. “The sting of not having a steady paycheck weighed on my mind,” she admitted. “I neglected my health to get the business off the ground. I’m not proud of that. But the primary constants that pulled me through the most hectic and stressful time of my life was my faith in Jesus and my husband, Goran. Especially considering my move away from a successful career and into the unknown of starting a business wasn’t exactly supported by my parents.” Fortunately, that began to change after some success in her business, and her parents became more supportive of her mission.
Through the hard times she found inspiration in remembering her grandmother’s story. She emigrated from the Philippines with her husband and together they bought a small house in San Francisco where they raised three daughters, one of which was Theresa’s mother.
She recalls, “My grandma was always cutting coupons at the dining table and reminding me to save money. Nothing was ever bought at full price! She sacrificed a lot to give my mom and her two sisters a good life. And my mom sacrificed a lot to ensure I had a good life.” Theresa reminds herself that these women had persevered to accomplish their goals, and that it was now her turn.
As a women’s leader herself, Theresa said she had to be disciplined and strategic in building her career – especially given that she has the rare distinction of excelling in not one, but two male-dominated industries.
When asked what women can do for greater recognition, she says, “It’s important for women to be confident in sharing our ideas and input with our teammates. If we can grow confidence and combine it with our natural inclination to help and support others, we can achieve not just prominence in our field, but also respect and prestige from our colleagues and critics alike.”
Despite the countless hours Theresa has poured into her business, she is an equally big advocate of maintaining a healthy work-life balance. “My husband and I both run businesses, so we are intentional about spending time together on weekends,” she said. “We also love traveling together. Meeting people from other cultures, exploring new places, and surfing different waves brings us together and helps us both unwind.”
Today, TMK has evolved to offer 1-on-1 financial coaching as well as financial wellness for business teams via in-person seminars, all aimed to help people get out of debt, build wealth, and enjoy financial stability. Theresa continues to be a teacher, creator, and speaker, advocating for financial literacy and wellness in her local community, in America, and across the globe. She continues to give back by offering free financial education to underprivileged teens and nonprofit organizations. She knows that anyone can accomplish their monetary goals and build the life they want to live – all it takes is financial literacy!