10 Tips to Owning Your Financial Future
Klaus Vedfelt
Women often wax nostalgic about sage advice given by elders while growing up.  Mothers recited Billie Holiday’s lyrics, “Mama may have, Papa may have, but God bless that child that has his/her own.”  And Grandma often quoted the Proverbs 31 scripture of the virtuous woman who invests wisely, works hard, is an entrepreneur and has her husband’s back.  In short, they were saying, “Girl, handle your business.” ESSENCE.com asked 10 successful business women in diverse fields to share what they think is needed to achieve financial success and stability.  We wanted the inside track on what they share with their family and friends when speaking by phone.  When they’ve left the office for the day and have a Girls Night Out of cocktails with colleagues, what tricks of the trade do they exchange?  This is the advice they doled out on how to best secure your financial future. 1.    Buy. Sell. Trade. “Set up a brokerage account and become familiar with its capabilities.  Then, begin making tax-free contributions to your account via your employer payroll, just as you would a savings account,” says Hillary Thomas,31, vice president Foreign Exchange Trade Support for SunTrust Robinson Humprey. 2.    Don’t Play it Safe. “Not being risk averse is what propels you into a different realm of wealth acquisition.  While others are scared to make deals, you have to be ready to close on it.  My financial peace comes from knowing that my success is limitless.  The sky is no longer the limit.  There is something beyond it,” says Angel Anderson, 30, owner of The SpiceSuite. 3.    Package Your Passion.  “You first have to have a dream that consists of meeting a real demand that is unique, creative and void in the marketplace.  Know your craft frontwards and backwards.  Be steadfast in your conviction.  Believe in yourself – even when you feel no one else does,” says Windell Davis-Bouttee, MD, 49, CEO and medical director of Boutte Contour Surgery & Skin, Premiere Dermatology & Surgery and Premier Essence Medspa. 4.    Rev Up Revenues. “Creating new streams of income is vital.  Relying on one source of income, such as a job or business, is more risky than we realize. Offer to work overtime, consult based on your expertise, tutor youth or seniors, invest in real estate or become a freelancer or blogger,” says Angela Marie Hutchinson, 37, founder and president of Breaking into Hollywood. 5.    Have Circle of Influence. “Surround yourself with a network of friends and colleagues who prescribe to the same values.  Continue to seek knowledge and acknowledge that your future is yours to own,” says Dr. Tova Jackson, 41, CEO of Northstar Educational Consulting Group, LLC. 6.    Face the Facts.  “Make an honest assessment of where your finances are in order to gain an understanding of what you have, what you need to save and how you can handle your debt and bills.  If you cheat or neglect to consider all outstanding challenges, you will never have a complete understanding of all your finances,” says Michele Lawrence Jawando,34, vice president – Legal Progress for Center for American Progress. 7.    Leverage The Great Equalizer.  “Take advantage of all educational opportunities.  Have a game plan to translate higher education into dollars.  Education, plus goals, plus determination, should equal financial success,” says Bernadine Layne, 68, founder of The Layne Law Group. 8.    Stick to the Plan. “Have a projected budget and stay true to that budget.  This will require self-discipline and self-control.  Purchase only what is needed and not wanted. Don’t exhaust all of your resources.  Pay off your debts, remain debt free and make a habit of saving and investing money for your future,” says Dr. Annette Boone-Hicks,46, chiropractor and owner of The Boone Clinic, P.C. 9.    Raise the Roof.  “Be fearless while practicing common sense.  Don’t be afraid to ask questions and take charge of your current income.  Practice the art of negotiation to earn more,” says Lisa Matthews, 47, vice president of Media Strategy and Integration for Hager Sharp. 10.    Believe You Can Achieve. “You must have faith and realize there is always a harvest after good seed has been planted.  Stay focused on the outcome and compliment yourself after you complete each phase of getting closer to your destination,” says Melissa Darrisaw, 40, owner of I Imagine Fitness & Wellness. Leslie E. Royal is an international journalist and the creator of Leslie’s Lane, a consumer information blog featuring jobs, discounts, resources and FREE stuff. (https://leslieslane.wordpress.com/) Follow her on Twitter and Instagram @LesliesLane.

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