Military Wife & Mother Ellie Kay known as America's Family Financial Expert Shares Her Tips Balancing Work and Life

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Ellie Kay

1. Ms. Ellie Kay, you are a world’s leading financial literacy expert and been recognized in The White House, what inspired to make this solid commitment in helping veterans and men & women in Uniform?

I wouldn’t call myself the world’s leading expert in that field, there are a lot of good people teaching financial literacy. I do, however, have one of the greatest passions for the topic, especially when it comes to serving our military members.

I come from a long line of military service; my grandfather never came back from his 47th bombing mission in his B-24 during WWII, thus paying the ultimate sacrifice. His service inspired my dad to serve as well. My dad retired as a Chief Master Sgt in the USAF. In addition, my husband served as a fighter pilot in the USAF for 25 years. Out of our 7 children, three elected to serve our country. We have an Infantry Marine Officer (USNA 2011), an Air Force Fighter pilot (USAFA 2015) and an Army Infantry Platoon Commander (USMA 2017). As a military spouse, I realized early in my husband’s career that finances are a huge problem amongst military families. I wanted to help them become financially fit. In addition, if a military member acquires too much debt, it could jeopardize their security clearance. They could actually lose their security clearance and their ability to do their military job, thus being asked to leave the service. Thus, financial readiness translates into military readiness. Helping service members with financial readiness is something that I can do to help, even though I’ve never worn the uniform. Consequently, I’ve provided 200 events at 50 bases globally and will continue to do the work as long as our non-profit, Heroes at Home 501(c)(3) gets the funding we need to do this work.

2. Ms. Ellie Kay, what is your vision for the next 5 years for you, your family, business & charity?

As a young mom of 7, I embarked on a business journey as an author, speaker and spokesperson. Along the way, I wrote 15 books for various publishers, reaching a million people and achieving best seller status. I was fortunate enough to have opportunity to do a lot of media and eventually did 2500+ interviews. I especially love the public speaking part of that work and have had 2000+ paid speaking presentations. When I became a brand ambassador/spokesperson, it was a great opportunity to begin my path toward financial independence. In my early 40’s I achieved this goal. I was able to achieve a modest quality of life and start my next goal — to begin a non-profit charity to provide financial education. I founded the non-profit 4 years ago and we are certified to go directly on military bases to provide free financial education. There are only 3 non-profits that have this status and are approved by the DOD to conduct this kind of program. Basically, the DOD recognized that our materials were accurate and good for their service members. Furthermore, they recognize that we will not try to sell military members any kind of products. The other recent opportunity that presented itself was to try something brand new — a personal finance podcast. My fellow Toastmaster and daughter, Bethany Bayless and I founded The Money MIllhouse podcast and we’ve been fortunate enough to have our podcast make it to the top five finalist in the New Personal Finance Podcast for the prestigious Plutus awards.

In the next five years, I have a really big vision to take our Heroes at Home show to large groups of service members, their families and veterans. I’d love to present to audiences of 5000+ and instead of just giving away books and gift cards, like we do now — I’d love to give these audiences a new car and other large prizes. With the right sponsorship, I believe we can continue to help those who currently serve and those who served in the past.

I’d also like to see our Money Millhouse podcast get hundreds of thousands of downloads and gain so much traction that it is able to provide a source of revenue for the Heroes at Home non-profit. The Money MIllhouse is a division of Heroes t Home and part of the non-profit education program.

Personally, I’d like to spend as much time with my 7 grandchildren as possible and give their parents a break by having the luxury of taking the kids while their mom and dad go on a vacation.

I may even go for the World Champion of Public speaking and become the first woman to have BOTH the Accredited Speaker designation as well as the WCPS award. There are two men who currently hold both of those distinctions (Dana Lamon and Darrel LaCroix). I’d like to join their ranks.

2015–2016 Toastmasters International President Jim Kokocki and Accredited Speaker Ellie Kay receiving a Presidential Citation Award

3. Ms. Ellie Kay, what is your recipe for success to keep a healthy balance in your life as a mom to 7 millennial, world leader, motivational speaker, and philanthropist who travels frequently?

When my youngest son was 2 years old, I wrote my first book proposal. I worked from home for all of their childhood and limited my travel when they were school aged. We moved 18 times in my husband’s military career and I home-schooled my kids for 7 years because we moved so frequently. In the midst of these activities, I was also able to donate 20,000 volunteer hours, which garnered me the Dr. Mary E. Walker medal from the Army. I wrote my 15 books while my kids napped and would have to take an intense 2 day writing weekend to crank out the last 20,000+ words on a 50K word book.

Keeping a work/life balance was difficult but I made the hard choices to prioritize my family. I turned down a TV series on the BBC 1 because it would mean I’d have to be in England for taping 7 months out of the year. I don’t regret turning that down. I believe that the greatest joy I can have is to see that my children walk in their own truth. They are all college grads, financially independent from their parents and once they move out of the house at 18, they don’t move back home because they are able to go to college and then get a job in a timely manner. I’m thankful for the kids I have who are making a positive difference in the world. I not only have 3 sons who serve in uniform, but I have a daughter who tours with Heroes at Home as the Director of Communications and emcee. She does this because she has a passion for our young people who currently serve.

I also work with Congressional Districts and have spoken to dozens of Congressional events providing information to families in these Congressional Districts as to how students in those districts can garner a 400K scholarship by going to a Service Academy. I see my future filled with more of these Congressional opportunities and continued work as an ALO (admissions liaison officer) for the Air Force Academy.


Ellie Kay, America’s Family Financial Expert

Ellie Kay is the best-selling author of fifteen books including Lean Body, Fat Wallet, and Heroes at Home. She is a Toastmaster Accredited Speaker as well as a popular international speaker and media veteran who has given over 2000+ media interviews including appearances on ABC, CNBC, CNN and Fox News. She is a podcaster host on The Money Millhouse, joining her millennial daughter over coffee with a combination of money and banter. As a popular columnist, she has been a Subject Matter Expert for the Wall Street Journal, New York Times and Washington Post. Currently, Ellie provides financial education to military members through her “Heroes at Home Financial Event” sponsored for USAA. Ellie is married to LTC Bob Kay and they have seven children.

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