Former Lawyer Puts Her Passion to Work

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Kim Allman has a passion for helping people get out of sticky financial messes. She even left a high-salaried law career to do it. But does she walk the walk? Absolutely.
Growing up, Allman found a great role model in her father, a retired IBM engineer who stressed the importance of saving, wagged his finger at frivolous spending and always kept abreast of the financial world.
"I call him my financial

Kim Allman has a passion for helping people get out of sticky financial messes. She even left a high-salaried law career to do it. But does she walk the walk? Absolutely.

Growing up, Allman found a great role model in her father, a retired IBM engineer who stressed the importance of saving, wagged his finger at frivolous spending and always kept abreast of the financial world.

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"I call him my financial guru," says the 30-year-old Brooklynite, who this year started a financial coaching company, Allman Financial Planning, LLC to help clients get back on track with their finances. She also handles foreclosure counseling for a non-profit in NY. "He's always educated himself on money matters, and we talked about how I should invest my money."

Now she's pretty good at doing her own research to suit her goals. Allman steadily puts money into an IRA and 403b retirement fund, and in the next few years, she expects to buy her first apartment. Her above-760 credit score shouldn't be a problem. Allman has something in common with others profiled at AOL -- she never carries credit card debt. Whatever she racks up, she pays off by the end of the month. She rarely makes extravagant purchases, and when she does, it's serious business. For example, she and a friend visited South Africa last year.

"I was willing to pay money on that," she says. "But not shoes, not bags, and not clothes."

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She'd prefer to put her dollars toward student loans, most of which she's paid off just four years out of Cornell Law School. Summer jobs during school and two years of bonuses from her last post at Sidley Austin, LLP helped Allman knock out private school loans. Thinking ahead, she knew her time with the firm would be short, so she took advantage of her great salary to reduce her debt and save.

"Once I paid off the loan, I socked away money," she says. "I didn't want to have debts hanging over my head that would prevent me from leaving to go to do something that I would enjoy more."

Today, that means sharing her money management know-how. Her first mission for each client is to laboriously write down every penny spent in a month. "One client realized she was spending $50 a month on coffee!" She suggests people take a hard look at where their money goes, then determine what they need and what they want.

"Decide if your wants are worth it and if you can afford them. I don't have cable because it wasn't important to me," says Allman, who uses Netflix and Hulu.com for her entertainment fix. "Always ask yourself, 'do I really need this?' A lot of time, you won't even miss it."

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