Financial literacy is never fun, but it is so necessary and vital to your overall happiness.
More times than not, Black women fall victim to having a lack of funds not because there aren’t any to begin with, but because of the failure to best help your funds monopilize.
Lisa Frison, Wells Fargo’s African American Segment Strategy Leader, sat down with ESSENCE to share the money advice that matters most to your financial bottom line. Here are four tips every Black women needs to follow to help her bank account flourish.
1.Make sure your friends are focused on the almighty dollar.
“Get your circle right. Your finances, like a whole lot of other things in life, are a personal matter. But, that doesn’t mean that there’s not a lot that you can learn from getting a right-sized circle of women. It could be like minded women at work or maybe someone that you follow on social media who you feel has a good handle on what they’re doing in their finances. Talk about the things that are really important to you that you struggle with that you can talk about — what are some good savings tips and savings habits that you know about?”
2. It’s all about budget and balance.
“Make a budget. You have just got to open your eyes and see what you’re working with and make a budget that should include all your sources of income, as well as all your expenses, and then also think about things that you want to plan for, that maybe you’re not able to do right now. That could be a vacation. It could be your children’s education, it could be that you want to purchase a home, it could be that you want to get more actively involved in investing for retirement. Make a budget and make it inclusive of everything that you need to be looking at.Then track your spending. So, a budget is only as good as how well you keep up with it. So, make sure that you’re tracking your spending, there’s a lot of online tools that are available to help people with that. And, that can also, as we talked about earlier, kind of help you pinpoint those areas where you may actually be over spending. Like, you can be surprised how often you’re stopping at the grocery store after work to pick up something. the thing that you needed was probably five dollars, and I’m guilty of this myself, but I end up spending twenty-five dollars just because I’m in there, I’m looking around.”
3. Pay back your debts and invest wisely.
“Think about how to make this money be productive for you. So, it could be anything from paying down any debt that you have, and being able to knock off things that you’re working for. So, if you want to be able to put a dent in your three to six months savings this is a great time to take that extra money and do that. If you’re planning for your family vacation, use some of that money to put aside for that. But, then, also you can add to, if you’re working on your kids education or a mortgage, just kind of building up those things I’ve named with you.”
“Typically what we find with the African American community that we tend to be more risk aversed, so we do more saving than investing. So, the other area I would really like to encourage people to think about is to start talking about investing. You don’t have to jump head in, there are a lot of ways that you can do that. Get comfortable with investing and the different types of investment vehicles. I think it’d be really really important to help move the African-American community forward.”
4. Planning and prioritzing is key.
“Your basket of choices is limited when you are living paycheck to paycheck. Just take a critical look at what you’re spending. There’s typically some room in terms of what you’re spending in terms of needs and wants. And, we have sort of conditioned ourselves to live to a certain standard. Let’s take cable for example—it’s pretty expensive [but] do you need all those channels, can you go to a more basic package? When you think about your cell phone bill, can you go to a more basic package? Are you in the best plan based on what your real needs are? It’s probably even more important to take a real critical look at what you’re spending on and getting down to the basics, so that you can carve out a little bit of room to save something.”
5. You can splurge, as long as you save.
“Usually when we get a windfall of money, we want to reward ourselves. We work hard and now we want to splurge. Choose your splurges carefully. Choose something that, a year from now, or six months from now, you can look back on and know that it had a meaningful impact. Maybe instead of buying that extra pair of shoes, what you really needed was time for rest and relaxation, so treat yourself to a spa day. Or, you have a family night out, because that’s important. You want to bring the family to go and do something that’s going to be memorable. It’s okay to shave a little bit off, to have a splurge, but make it a smart splurge, something that’s really going to invest in your spirit and not just add more things to your life.”
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