I was always young, gifted and Black,
but broke AF
"We must begin to tell our young, Theres a world waiting for you"
- Nina Simone, Young, Gifted, & Black 1969
Growing up in low-income communities from NYC (Queens and Brooklyn baby), poverty, debt, and poor health were everyday shared narratives. Seeing these struggles ignited a core perspective that no person should accept any narratives that limit our basic needs. It shouldn’t be a luxury to navigate life without having to choose between basic necessities like shelter or education.
Like many young and gifted kids living in “the hood”, I decided (and told by my force of a mother) going to college was the solution to exit poverty. The reality was either accept a living in my current environment without a real plan or take a risk by signing up for tens of thousands in debt with the hope for a brighter future.
As I hustled through college, it was important to focus on things that would help improve my financial health after graduation. I made a clear decision to invest in myself through every means possible. Everything from taking out taking $17 K in student loans to building credit with rewards-based credit cards to learning how to create a goals-based budget on a work-study income.
Honestly, it was rough yet it was necessary to shift away from the narratives of poverty and poor money relationships.
New Narratives for our Future
By senior year, I had an exit budget to start the financial transformation from a broke college student to a high-earning in-debt college grad. Life after college became a healing period to enjoy:
Living debt-free after paying 20K in student loans and credit card debt
Affording to explore the world with strong credit and rewards
Not living paycheck to paycheck with stress-free budgeting moves
Savings and investing money towards emergencies, desires retirement and health care
Not worrying about maintain expensive a** rent with a good paying job and being responsible
The financial tips, steps and techniques I learned in my early 20s ultimately became the recipe that established The $hmoney Coach to help other young and gifted folks accept their own new narratives for a better quality of life.
Our community should know it is possible despite the systematic and historical odds against us.
Plus, you don’t have to do it alone when you have resources, education and community.