My journey - from Mom, to Single Mom, to Mom-in-Denial, to Broke Mom to Financially-Strong Mom.
Not that long ago, there was a lot I didn’t know about personal finance. Like most of my friends, I was working and contributing to my household alongside my boyfriend as we raised our two sons. He paid the mortgage, I paid the bills and everything was fine. Until it wasn’t. When things didn’t work out between us, I found myself unable to keep up with the mortgage payments, two years behind on payments and facing foreclosure.
As someone who always worked two jobs my whole life and always felt in an OK place financially, I was stuck. Stuck by my anxiety and embarrassment I felt about my situation. I didn’t know what options were available and couldn’t find anyone in my social circle to offer advice. I ended up paying the bankruptcy courts large monthly payments for five years.
My struggle to get out of debt WAS my education. Rebuilding myself taught me critical life skills about personal finance that I had never learned.
The road to pay off this debt was a true struggle. For 5 years, I didn’t go out with my friends. Didn’t eat at restaurants. Didn’t buy myself clothes. I made life-altering sacrifices, and after my bills were paid and my kid’s needs were handled for the month, I often times had $20 to last me until my next paycheck.
The road back from financial ruin was humbling, but I would not let it break me. I hustled, turning my baking passion into a couple different side businesses. My side businesses ended up saving me and allowed me the financial freedom to be able to pay off my mortgage debt and become financially free. Now that I’m free of that burden, I’m able to use the money that I was paying to make wise financial investments for my future and my family’s future.
What I DIDN’T know WAS hurting me… over and over again!
Throughout this journey, there is so much that I’ve learned. A major lesson came when I eventually understood that there were other options available to me when I was faced with the reality of my delinquent mortgage payments. I could have refinanced, which would have saved me over $25,000. The truth is that I didn’t even know that refinancing was anything that was available. I had never known anyone to refinance their house and didn’t even know what that meant.
This made me think about other financial options that could be available to me that I didn’t know about. So, I educated myself about investments, life insurance, wills, and other financial topics that seemed unavailable. As I learned more, these concepts that seemed intimidating or unavailable to me became possible. These possibilities inspired me to share what I know with anyone who will listen, but especially young people.
ALL kids in ALL communities need financial literacy education. But some kids need it MORE.
Here’s the thing: we all know that personal finance is not taught in school. Often times, these are things that young people learn when they get out into the world. Many financial lessons and habits are therefore taught by observing decisions made by family, friends and others in the community.
As I looked around at my own community, I came to some realizations:
I don’t know ANYONE in my community that has received an inheritance.
Many people in my community think that you have to be “rich” to have investments.
The majority of people I know do not have life insurance policies and struggle financially when faced with the death of a loved one
Friends of mine don’t know the POWER of their assets
People I know are offered 401(k)s and do not know how they work or how to maximize them
Financial literacy is NEVER a topic of discussion among my friends or family!
We must break this cycle and DO BETTER.
The more I saw these discrepancies in my own community, I became focused on changing this dynamic. To raise financially-wise children, we must change their awareness. We must provide the education that they are not getting in school and that their parents and grandparents did not receive. We must plant seeds starting in childhood so these young people can break the cycle of financial ignorance that has been holding down so many of my people.
JOIN ME in my mission to educate young people about personal finance and the opportunities available to help them grow their own wealth.
I’m not a professional financial planner. But I am a mom who took control of my financial life, educated myself and made a change. You can too! I want to provide the tools and help you start the conversation.
There were times that I was embarrassed to tell my story. Now I’m PROUD. Proud that I lived through this. Proud that I came out the other end of this experience with a new understanding of key financial concepts. Proud that I can empower my sons and other young people to have a financially-powerful future.
I’m passionate about teaching young people about personal finance because unfortunately, this is a subject that isn’t traditionally taught in school. I want to make sure that my sons know everything I didn’t know before I was faced with a personal financial crisis.
At YoungNWealthy, the focus is to educate the financially-inexperienced youth of America, especially in underprivileged communities, by showing them that financial stability and wealth IS the key to their freedom and future!
Check out the two flashcard sets, Young, Black & Wealthy and Young, Credit Wise & Wealthy, both available in hard copy and for digital download.