Hi, I’m Michael C. Evans
Help Keep My Money, LLC is a Black-owned business management company based in Southern California that uses researched and tested models to provide four services:
- Government Management Services (improve operations to do more with less)
- Real Estate Management Services (manage and shift risk using leverage to generate above-averages Returns on Investments)
- Financial Management Services (provide personal finance education, services and products to individuals and families to they can keep more their money)
- Business Management Services (increase sales and improve the efficiency of operations in order to increase the bottom line)
I have more than 20 years of management experience, mainly working for three government entities in California (Culver City, City of Lancaster, and Santa Barbara County) and Union Pacific Railroad. In addition to my eight years of real estate investing (see below), I have experience as a Sanitation Manager (waste management and recycling), Street Maintenance Manager, Intermodal Railroad Manager, and Chief Financial Officer (developed and managed $100+ million annual budget). I have managed government, non profit, and private businesses that were dependent on their ability to generate their own revenues based on the level and quality of services in order to cover their expenses and generate profits.
My experience in management positions for two cities and a county has provided me with an in-depth understanding of the principles and practices of municipal operations and the municipal budget process. I am well versed in financial and statistical analysis, budgeting, and forecasting for non profits and local government operations. I also have experience in contract management and negotiation, customer service management, operations management, marketing, project management and personnel management. I am able to adapt quickly to new environments and pride myself on my ability to develop and implement complex data-driven analytical and forecast systems that use continuous quality improvement techniques to drive operations to achieve business goals.
I was an active real estate investor from 1997 – 2005 and I was paid $15,000 to buy my first property in 1997. I have owned three properties with a combined net equity of $350,000 without ever using a single penny of my own money into any real estate deal. In 2005 I managed the purchase and sell of two Pre-Construction Flip properties in Lancaster, CA for two friends. The first friend (R.L.) turned a $10,000 investment into $25,000 in four months and the second friend (E.T.) turned a $15,000 investment into $50,000 in six months. I then went on to secure nine Pre-Construction Flip properties for my family (three in Lancaster, CA and six in Frisco, TX) with a total purchase price of $1.8 million with only $18,000 as earnest money deposits. In a three-month period, these nine properties appreciated by over $250,000. Unfortunately (due to a divorce and a business deal gone wrong) I did not close on these nine properties and my real estate investing career (along with my personal life) came to an abrupt end.
In 2005 (age 34), I went from being financially independent with a net worth of more than $500,000 to being almost homeless. I didn’t know it at the time, but I was bipolar (diagnosed in 2018) and had experienced a severe manic episode that lasted almost a year. The manic episode ended with a severe episode of depression that lasted more than six months. As a PK (preacher kids), I was the “Prodigal Son” and came back home to live with my father (I found out I was adopted at age 29) who showed me Unconditional Love after we had gotten into an argument and had not talked for months. I lived with my father in a 6′ x 8′ closet with no windows for 12 months and it was my father’s Unconditional Love and my girlfriend’s (current wife Tamika) daily calls and prayers that brought me back to God (as I had lost my way by letting money and material things take the place of God in my life).
Starting in 2006 I crawled my way back spiritually and financially from working as a Financial Analyst through a temporary agency at the Naval Post Graduate School in Monterey, CA earning $45K/year, then as an Intermodal Manager for Union Pacific Railroad in East Los Angeles and Long Beach, to working for Santa Barbara County’s Alcohol, Drug and Mental Health Services (ADMHS) Department, where I was the Chief Financial Officer (CFO) and Deputy Director of Finance and Administration, responsible for a $106 million operating budget for FY 14-15 and earned a nice $100K+ salary.
I had another bipolar manic episode starting in the summer of 2014 where I ended up quitting Santa Barbara County at the end of September 2014 to manage Help Keep My Money LLC on a full-time basis. After a successful six-month consulting contract with Santa Barbara County, I found myself again out of money and even worse, my infidelities against my wife came to light. After a short separation, my wife Tamika took me back, and we spent the summer of 2015 focusing on our marriage, our spirituality and our health. By the end of 2015 I had secured a contract as the Chief Financial Officer for CALM (Child Abuse Listening Mediation), a non profit in Santa Barbara. I was again making great money ($100K+ per year), when another bipolar manic episode struck in October 2016. This time I winded up separating from my wife, losing my money, my clients and my mind. In November 2017 I found myself broke financially and about to become homeless when my wife allowed me to move back home (we were still estranged). The next six months I again suffered a severe episode of depression, to the point where I became suicidal. My wife made me seek professional help and in the spring of 2018 I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder.
Being diagnosed with bipolar disorder saved my life and my marriage. I entered into a four-week intensive outpatient group treatment program where I met with a group of other individuals with mental health issues for two hours each work day. I learned new coping skills and the fact that I wasn’t the only one dealing with mental health issues. I decided against using prescribed medications for my bipolar disorder, and instead relied upon the new coping skills I learned and my wife for support. I went on welfare, which put me in the food stamp program (EBT) and the welfare to work program (GAIN). I had to humble myself, as I sat in classes learning how to complete a job application, how to dress for interviews, and how to answer interview questions. I didn’t have a full-time income from July 2017 – November 2019, more than two years. Through it all, my wife supported me. She didn’t tolerate my misbehavior, even if it was due to a mental illness. I had to earn the right to keep my marriage by proving, even now, that I can manage my bipolar disorder.
In August 2020, in the middle of the Covid-19 pandemic, I decided to revitalize my business management consulting company.
Both my professional and personal lives have had challenges. I have had to start over financially four times in my life, with the most recent being in 2017, after I lost a $100K+ per year consulting job due to my bipolar disorder. I am on my second marriage, which I almost lost in 2015 because I was unfaithful to my wife and again in 2017 because of my bipolar disorder. During the summer of 2015 I had to go on unemployment and get “on the County” in order to provide for my family, and then again in 2017 for two years. Some may say these were dark times, but it was actually a time for my wife and I to repair the marriage I had destroyed.
I state all this to let you know that God works in mysterious ways. I have become an extremely spiritual person since 2015 and I’m not afraid to stand up and shout it out loud. My spiritualty leads my life. My intentions and actions are driven by Love. I have not been perfect and there are a lot of things in my life that I have done that I regret, but I am committed to continuing to work on myself to become the greatest version of myself. So I hope that some of my life’s story can help someone who is going through a rough patch.