Tom Graneau was born in Dominica, a small island in the Caribbean with a population of roughly 70,000 people. While growing up, he had little or no time for school, partly because of family complications. From twelve years old, he had to provide for siblings and his chronically ill mother.
When Tom was seventeen years old, he and his mother immigrated to the United States. After two years in the U.S., he became acutely aware of his need for an education and aggressively began finding a way to be in school.
At the age of nineteen, two concerned friends decided to help. Despite difficulty with immigration, Tom was able to start his long, educational journey in a private school. Unable to read or write and being the oldest among all the students, he was placed in a room by himself where he began his studies at the second-grade level.
At twenty-four years old, Tom got married and started a family. When his first child was born, he decided to join the military and was sent to California. During his fourteen years of service in the Navy, he became increasingly concerned about his financial situation. With little or no savings and a lot of debt, he was falling farther and farther behind.
Things became worse when he left the service. The income from his new job was barely enough to support his family and pay his debt. His house went into foreclosure. With added pressure from credit card companies, he ultimately filed for Chapter 7 Bankruptcy.
Shortly after his personal financial tragedy, Tom decided to pursue a college degree to improve his chances for a better life. After graduating with a Bachelor of Science Degree in business administration, he spent several months looking for employment in corporate America.
Unable to find a job, Tom decided to go back to college for a master’s degree and graduated in 1998. Eventually, he found work as a Financial Management Specialist. In 2001, Tom continued his education through a comprehensive Financial Fitness Course compiled by Universities of California, Georgia, and North Carolina State Cooperative Extension Programs.
As a Financial Management Specialist, Tom spent roughly ten years educating the public. During that time, he conducted numerous workshops, presentations, and private consultation with members of the military, government employees, and others in the community.
Tom enjoyed working with his clients. Watching them overcome various financial challenges was emotionally rewarding. However, his own financial experiences combined with that of thousands of his clients caused him to wonder about the financial condition of Americans, as a whole. His research proved that money problems extend well beyond what most people are willing to admit or see.
In short, most Americans are broke. Various surveys have shown that roughly 90 percent of working Americans live from paycheck to paycheck, no matter how much money they make. In most cases, the problem is directly related to financial misconceptions, poor training, and lack of knowledge. While many people pretend to be doing well financially, the month by month ordeal to stay afloat keeps sapping their joy in life, leaving them financially strapped, physically exhausted, and emotionally spent. Home ownership is one of the biggest financial misconceptions in personal finance. Hence the book, Renters Win, Home Owners Lose: Revealing the Biggest Scam in America.