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- A heartbreaking car accident in 2009 forced single mother Clarissa Moore to review her finances.
- In 2014, she started making $14 an hour with just $1,000 in emergency savings.
- Today, she earns six figures with four streams of income.
In August 2009, a traumatic car accident upended Clarissa Moore’s relationship with money.
A driver of a stolen vehicle rammed Moore’s car as she and her 11-month-old daughter were sitting in it, parked on a street in Newark, New Jersey. Her daughter was seriously injured and spent weeks in hospital.
“She stopped breathing. Her brain was swollen. She had blood in her brain and she had a seizure,” Moore told Insider.
The 35-year-old had gap insurance, which makes you whole when your financed car is totaled and you owe more on the loan than the car is worth. But Moore still had to pay $300 a month for three months until the gap insurance kicked in.
To compound the financial problems, his commute to work almost doubled. This meant Moore had less time to complete his bachelor’s degree at Ramapo College in New Jersey, less time for paid work or side income, and less time with his family at home.
“After that, I realized it was way too dangerous where I lived in Newark, New Jersey,” she says. “I was like, ‘Aim for this, I’m moving.’ And that decision really started to revamp my whole personal finances.”
Moore worked a series of odd jobs between finishing her bachelor’s degree in psychology, raising two children, moving to a new town and dealing with a rocky relationship with her ex-husband. Finally, in 2014, she landed a steady job at an electric company where she earned $14.38 an hour.
Today, according to records reviewed by Insider, Moore earns more than $130,000 a year from his corporate work in addition to these other sources of income:
Here are seven strategies she used to go from $14 an hour to six figures.
1. She invested in her education
Moore started a bachelor’s degree in 2005, but didn’t finish until January 2016 due to her various difficulties in life. She changed schools three times to accommodate her schedule as a single mom, but each school told her she didn’t meet certain requirements for her credits to transfer.
She sank into student debt, but did not quit. After graduating, “I noticed that at my job, those with a master’s degree have more opportunities,” she says.
Moore completed her master’s degree in social work in May 2018, and her corporate work has rewarded her with a generous pay raise.
2. Moore took control of his family’s budget
In 2014, Moore was working odd jobs that paid around $12-14 an hour. “The money was going down very, very fast,” she says. “I was panicking.” With a toddler and newborn to care for, Moore tracked every penny of her family’s budget and created a plan to ensure they lived within their means.
3. She always kept at least $1,000 in her emergency fund.
With a limited income, Moore hasn’t always had the ability to save three to six months of living expenses, the typical amount experts recommend keeping in a high-yield savings account for an emergency fund. . Even when she was tackling credit card debt, student loans and juggling multiple jobs, Moore made it a point to have at least $1,000 to cover emergencies to protect herself from take on more debt.
4. Moore found short-term hustles
After finding steady ground in her corporate work, Moore found time to pursue side pursuits that she was passionate about. She launched a jewelry line that was so successful, “Stars would wear my stuff,” she says. “They wore it on reality shows. My jewelry was in a whole season of Basketball Wives. I used the money from that to help pay my credit card bills. I got out of debt and I paid for my car.”
5. She invested time and energy into a long-term stampede
Prior to moving to Easton, Pennsylvania, Moore worked in a credit card department at a local bank branch. There she learned how to maintain a good credit score and how to manage her money. In addition to her own experiences consolidating her finances, Moore’s friends began to turn to her for financial advice.
In 2019, Moore launched Clarissa Explains Money, a financial coaching service that helps women create budgets aligned with their goals. She now teaches 127,000 Instagram followers how to manage their finances. Although it takes time to see income as an influencer, Moore earns an additional $2,800 per year from brand partnerships and $18,000 per year from her coaching service.
6. Moore saved all the deals she received for a down payment on a rental property
Moore recorded his annual bonuses and tax refunds in a separate account specifically for a rental property. She always dreamed of creating passive income streams through real estate investing, to the point that she only listened to real estate investing podcasts on her commute to work every day.
According to records reviewed by Insider, Moore saved more than $23,000 to cover the down payment and closing costs for her rental property, which she purchased in April 2020.
7. She invested in real estate to create a passive income stream
When scouting for homes, Moore chose a property that only needed cosmetic changes so she could start earning passive income from her tenants as soon as possible. Her one-bedroom rental property costs $1,205 a month and she pays $566 a month on her mortgage for a net profit of $639 a month.
Of his passive income stream, Moore says, “It’s what I’ve always wanted. I’ve done so much research on it. To be honest, it’s been a smooth process. I don’t don’t think I would have done anything differently.”
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