To close out Black History Month, we decided to explore the wisdom of the black community when it comes to money, finances, and female empowerment. And it turns out, there's plenty.
Our readers dished with us their favorite pearls of financial wisdom they learned from mothers, grandmothers and mentors—and trust us, regardless of race, background or gender, we'd all do well to heed it!
For grad school, I was accepted to my top two choices but was intimidated by Penn State's engineering program. I consulted my go-to person for career advice, Gabrielle Wesley, a senior marketing manager at General Mills. She told me not to sell myself short on such a huge decision. She was 100% right. So many decisions revolve around the political game of "what's in a name?", and as a professional woman in corporate America I am now very conscious of that.
Kerry-Ann Poyser Edwards
The best financial advice I've ever received was from my grandmother, a woman with a second grade education. She said that the best way to attain wealth was, “a little bit at a time, all the time.” By this she meant to save a percentage of any windfall received, be it a salary, bonus or birthday gift. She called this your “sleep at night money.” This forces you to live beneath your means, build up a rainy-day fund and save for those big-ticket items effortlessly.
So many women have inspired me, from my immigrant mother to my almost 90-year-old grandmother (who, by the way, has been saving for retirement since the age of 19). I’m hyper-focused on my personal and family finances. I was several thousand dollars in debt a few years back. I moved in with a family member, went on an extreme financial fast, tracked every dollar spent for five consecutive years, and now I have money in the bank and the monkey called “debt” off of my back.
1. “Live on less than you make.”
2. “It’s not a matter of if it’s going to rain; it’s a matter of when it’s going to rain." (Save for an emergency.)
3. “Don’t enable the next person. Give responsibly.”
4. “You can’t cash pity and despair at the bank.”
The best financial advice I got was from my grandmother who told me, "Men don't need to know everything." She encouraged me to save money of my own, separate from my husband.
My grandmother Mandy Broussard gave me the best advice for my career: Get a good education so that way you will always have a way to take care of yourself.
"Always be true to yourself," and, "Pay yourself first"—words of wisdom from my mother. She also advises me, "Find something to enjoy everyday!" At 88 years of age, she should know!
My mother is a fantastic role model. From an early age, she introduced to me the importance of savings. At the age of 14, at my first job, she literally removed 10% of my paychecks. I was angry of course, but felt better when I realized I had this money later when I really needed it. An automated savings plan is an integral part of my financial story today.
Excellent advice that I've received:
1. Save early, save often. Your future is closer than you think.
2. Pay down your student loan debt, but don't ignore your savings.
3. Be generous. Giving is good for you, and your taxes.