In addition to grief and heartache, Iyanla also experienced financial ruin. At one time in her life, Iyanla was receiving million-dollar checks from publishers, but over the years, she lost it all. "I didn't really have a clear understanding of the value of money other than you need it, you get it, you spend it," Iyanla says. "I had six bank accounts, and I didn't know what they were for, where the money was."

Iyanla was so used to living paycheck to paycheck, she says she was a millionaire with a welfare mentality. "The pathology, the pattern for me was that, in order for me to get money, all money had to be gone," she says. "The day before payday, you're looking for pennies and borrowing money. That's how I was. All money had to be gone before more money could come in."

When Iyanla was a 21-year-old single mother of three, she says the extent of her financial education was a banker teaching her how to write a check and fill out a deposit slip. "I thought I was doing something good having an accountant," Iyanla says. "I didn't know it wasn't the kind of accountant I needed to have."


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