Coretta Farrar – Farrar Financial Group, LLC

Dawn Cauthen-Thornton | July 16th, 2018
Clifton and Coretta Farrar (Photos by Todd Youngblood)

Clifton and Coretta Farrar (Photos by Todd Youngblood)

The old saying ‘Keeping up with the Joneses’ is the bane of some people’s existence. Purchasing expensive items that others pay top dollar for seems to validate consumers but is a detriment to their pockets. CEO and Founder of Farrar Financial Group Inc., Coretta Farrar counsels those who make these types of mistakes, helping them get back on the right track. Unfortunately, she can use her own personal experience as a testimony.

In 2004 Coretta and her husband Clifton II, found themselves drowning in debt after relocating from South Hill, VA to Charlotte. Within a year of relocating, Clifton lost his job with a Fortune 500 company and their finances took a major hit. “Even though we were making good money before his lay-off, we were living paycheck-to-paycheck, buying things we didn’t need and not saving properly,” says Coretta. She admits to being a victim of wanting look good on the outside while struggling on the inside.

“I was carrying a Louis Vuitton purse but didn’t have the money that it cost to put inside the bag,” Coretta confesses. So many of us feel that it’s important for others to ‘see’ what we have instead of having it. We feel validated, somehow, when others think we are wealthy.

Before they completely hit rock bottom, the Farrar’s thought they should enlist the help of a professional credit repair specialist. They shopped around to find the right person, but were quoted fees of $1,000 and above. Instead of spending even more money they didn’t have, Coretta researched the topic and made up her mind that she would do it herself.

“I became obsessed with it, but I realized it’s very, very difficult to do. You have to face the mistakes you’ve made. You start asking yourself ‘how did I let this happen and why did I spend so much money.’ I had to really look at myself.” She also revealed that their marriage was tested. “You want someone to blame and there were times we didn’t like each other. Instread, it actually brought us closer.” The couple decided that the setback wasn’t going to tear them apart. They were in it to win it and they did just that.

Family members started to notice that Coretta and her husband changed their lifestyle and could afford things again, and eventually asked her to help them with their credit woes. Then they referred their friends. “When we thought no one was paying attention, they really were,” says Coretta. It ultimately took her over two years to climb out of the hole they’d dug for themselves. She read plenty of books, attended seminars, and just used common sense to gain the knowledge and confidence she needed to achieve the victory.

For years, as a part-time venture, Coretta and Clifton helped people better understand the importance of paying bills on time, how to avoid living paycheck-to-paycheck, and how to save more and spend less. One day, Coretta, who was also a director at a large company needed some help of her own – medical help. In 2013, she had an episode and was told it was an anxiety attack from the stress of her full-time job, along with running a business, raising children, and just everyday burdens. “Clifton told me to just quit and pursue the business. It was something I loved to do, I was good at it, and it was much less stressful than what I was doing.”

Her doting husband helped secure a location, signed a lease, and paid the rent for the entire six months. He already knew what his wife was capable of because their garage was full of files from the clients they serviced. Whatever it would take to see Coretta healthy, happy, and thriving, Clifton was willing to do.
Now the couple has three locations – Charlotte, Raleigh, and a virtual office in Rock Hill that they’re planning to transition into a true physical location this year. They also plan to open a location in their home state of Virginia. But they don’t just repair credit at these offices, they dig deep to find the root of the problem and start there. “Many of our clients don’t have money problems, they have priority problems. And we teach them that money is a tool,” Clifton adds. Others are in financial ruin after a medical crisis, the death of a loved one, or some other unfortunate catastrophe, through no fault of their own. Yet, they can find their way back as well. “We can’t counsel the person that accumulated debt because they were fighting cancer, the same way we do someone who just doesn’t like to pay their bills,” says Coretta. After they’ve trudged through the murky waters of debt, they drive home the idea of building generational wealth so their families will thrive later and avoid the mistakes they’ve made.

It’s important for the couple to leave a legacy for their two children, Iyanna, 17, and Clifton III, 11. Iyanna already has her hand in the business by helping them market and advertise on social media and has hopes of attending an HBCU after high school.

When asked what it takes to own a business, Clifton perks up and advises, “Chase the passion and not the money. Money will come and go. If you’re not looking to help and serve, it will be difficult to succeed.” Coretta chimes in, “Keep your overhead low and have a mentor who has the wisdom and knowledge on the importance of taking risks. Find someone who can motivate you to achieve your goals. You need someone who believes in your crazy dreams. And most of all, have a relationship with God.”

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