David Pays It Forward

written by: Lisa Karel

If Operation HOPE’s mission is to get people excited about financial literacy, then David Bradley is a shining example of just how effective its programs can be. David’s interaction with an Operation HOPE financial coach snowballed from learning about credit and debt management to deciding to pursue a career in finance so that he, too, could help others get their financial house in order. 

Through its HOPE Inside program, Operation HOPE has partnered with several banks, including First Horizon, to provide local communities with access to credit and money management education, home ownership and entrepreneurship. Since the partnership with First Horizon launched in 2014, HOPE Inside is now in 30 branches throughout the bank’s network. It was a Nashville-area branch where David and his then-fiancée, Sabrina, first sat down with Operation HOPE Financial Coach Ken DeJarnette to discuss their finances. 

That first meeting led to a series of sessions, during which Ken taught the couple how to reframe their thinking around spending so that it better aligned with their values. The first step was developing a comprehensive budget, an exercise David and Sabrina embraced enthusiastically. Ken showed them that budgeting isn’t just something you do once – rather, a budget must be continuously and diligently followed and maintained. David looked for creative ways to keep them engaged in the process and on track for their spending every month. For example, he uses a yellow highlighter to flag the expenses that didn’t bring him joy the previous month so that he can avoid making those expenditures again in the future. 

“A lot of people think budgeting is a chore, but we see it as a roadmap to enjoying our life,” said David.  

Adopting this intentional approach to spending has allowed David and Sabrina to pay off all their consumer debts. David now has an 800 credit score, and with a mortgage pre-approval in hand, the couple is actively looking to purchase a house. 

“Ken showed us how to take control over our money so that we could use it as a tool to elevate our life,” said David.  

Ken’s lessons not only helped David get his finances on the right track in one moment in time, but revealed to him a path to lifelong financial freedom and a rewarding and lucrative career. Having earned a Bachelor’s degree in Organizational Leadership, David decided to pursue a job in finance and is now a senior relationship banker at First Horizon, a role that enables him to create long-term relationships with clients and help them and their families to thrive financially. 

“I always knew that I wanted a job that would have a positive impact on people, but I didn’t know I could do that in the financial realm until I met Ken,” said David. “He has had a huge impact on my life.” 


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