Cynthia Smith
Money Talks

The Bold Financial Moves That Transformed An Overspender To A Self-Made Millionaire

I know it’s an unpopular opinion these days, but I still like setting goals for the New Year. I think it gives you a tangible reason to revisit old desires and achieve new ones. That’s why every year on NYE, I write down my aspirations for the next 365 days on a whiteboard in my bedroom – that way, it stares me in my face, and I’m forced to be held accountable. But this year, something stuck out to me: improving my finances had made the top of the list – again. That’s when it dawned on me. I need more of a financial plan. “Saving better and making more” wasn’t making enough of an impact. That’s why I’m so grateful for women like Cynthia Smith and her vulnerability. Because when you know better, you do better.

Cynthia Smith is a renowned financial expert, business coach, serial entrepreneur, and author of Untangling the Ledger. The self-made millionaire started her tax service with only $500, and today, she’s made up to $100,000 a month through varied business efforts. But as expected, she had a plan for every dollar she made, and it was a journey.

“Before taxes, I worked in oil and gas. I’ve been making six figures since I was 26 years old, but I had poor money-managing skills. Also, I had twins at 18. So, anything they wanted, they got,” she admitted. “But as I got older, I realized I wanted to do more, so I had to stop spending so much to allow my bank account to grow. I positioned my mind to get uncomfortable with over-spending. As a people, we don’t teach money management, and it’s important.”

While she’s unique in the sense that her 9-to-5 allowed her to live generally comfortably, she still enjoyed doing taxes as her side hustle. Cynthia comically shared how she’d initially meet people at coffee shops to use the free wifi. But, like many, her main source of income started to come at the expense of her peace. “I recall being on my last project, and it was a hard project to be on because there were so many egos. I started to feel like why am I here? I had a successful business, but my job was my crutch,” she explained.

Once she became a full-time tax accountant, she started to experience extreme highs and lows and learned quite a bit along the way. “Some people look on the outside and don’t realize the hard work. There were nights I cried and nights I had to make payroll when I was still working,” she said. “At some points, I’ve had a $10k payroll, along with a mortgage, and still had to support my twins.”

There have also been struggles she’s endured throughout the company’s process. “My business is predominantly women, and we usually get along well. But I had one messy situation. There’s been times where I could’ve been a better leader or manager or explained components better,” she confessed. “Now, when we’re together, we’re family, but I also don’t allow anyone to put holes in my ship.”

Cynthia Smith

Cynthia Smith

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In addition to her accountability and hard work, Cynthia credits varied streams of income and responsible spending to her financial success. “I wasn’t strict in the past. But I started budgeting in 2017. The twins were in college so I had to change how I was spending, and I maintained that discipline. Now, as an empty-nester, I spend less. I don’t purchase large items every day.” Today, Cynthia owns her tax office, tax franchise, a tax software, skincare line, and teaches taxes. In their entirety, the tax offices have roughly 8,000 clients.

She also differs from a lot of her peers in how she invests. Most of her investments are primarily into her own endeavors, like the skincare line and tax software – not stocks and bonds. “When it comes to anything, I like to see a fast turnaround. I like to see where it’s going; I don’t like to wait. I made over $1 million in less than six months,” she said. “It may not be the right way, but that’s how I operate. However, I maxed out my sons’ 401k. I’ve seen the market go up and down, but that’s one of my favorite things I took from my oil and gas job.”

When asked what other financial tips she has for our readers, she mentioned the importance of credit and budgeting. “Instead of using my own cash, I use credit cards. Get one with points. For my birthday, I took my boys and my baby sister to Vegas. All of their trips and vacations were paid for by points,” she explained. She also encouraged eating in and being very specific with your budgeting spreadsheet. “For 2024, forget the outside. You don’t have to be in the in-crowd. Walk your journey. Read the fine print, and block out the outside noise. Focus on you and growing and learning yourself and passion.”

She continued, “My money mantra is to ask God to do exceedingly above all that I ask for and make me a good stewardess over my family. I put God first, and I know it’s nothing but him that keeps me going. Looking into the future, her goal is to become bill-free and have little overhead. “When I reach 50, I don’t wanna worry about my mortgage, and I want to retire.”

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