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Wallets looking a little dry?

Spent so much cash during hot girl summer that now things looking a little more broke girl fallish?

Hey, I’m not spreading no shame on the game. We all can use more money in the bank. Looking back on my upbringing, I was taught how to work hard for the money, but not how to make money work for me.

Now, I know an overindulgence on money doesn’t exactly bring you joy, but a little more cash certainly can help. We reached out to some experts who are willing to bring y’all up to speed on some financial knowledge.

So Alexa, play “For the love of money” by the O’Jays. And as for yourself, forward this email if you know of anyone who needs some help in the financial game.

Let’s make that money, honey.

— Starr

Adulting 101

Jennifer Jackson’s foundation of financial wellness started off with simple advice from her father.

She was an employee at Chick-fil-A making minimum wage, and her approximately $250 check excited her at 14 years old. Her father advised her to save half.

When she landed her first corporate job in 2014, Jackson felt she needed to expand on the knowledge her dad gave her. As her employer went over her benefits, the words 401(k) and PPO looked like foreign languages. So sis started studying up on the financial world and became so fascinated at what she learned that she couldn’t keep to herself. She started helping people one-on-on at first, which evolved into hosting full workshops about financial wellness in 2017.  A year or two later, Jackson left the corporate world to become a 30-year-old financial educator who helps young adults with life after college. She started the Adulting Academy, which offers courses focusing on credit, investing, career development and other aspects of financial wellness.

Jackson said she wants people around her age to get in on information that transformed her world.

“I look at my life from kindergarten all the way up to my masters, and I don’t remember what I learned to biology or calculus,” Jackson said. “That’s why I’m so passionate about this because I feel like we go to school and we get all this information. We’re constantly studying for the next test or certification, but personal finance education changes everything about my life. It changes where I live, what type of food I eat, what type of job I have, how much time I get to spend with my family – like it touches all aspects of my life.”

The Richmond, Va. native shared some simple tips for Gen Zers and Millennials to start building their wealth:

  • Set them goals: When you’re planning a vacation do you just hop on a plan and go aimlessly to wherever the pilot takes you? Ok, you may do that if you’re challenging yourself to be more spontaneous. But when it comes down to your money, Jackson said it is easier to know where you are going.

“I often use an analogy of a GPS. You type in your destination and there might be several different ways to get there,” she said. “Then you kind of map out your path, like, ‘OK, I’m going to do this, this and this to become debt free.’ Or, ‘I want to do this, this and this to buy my first house’ or whatever your goal is.”

  • Create a plan and stay consistent: Next, make a plan. For example, if you have a problem overspending, Jackson may suggest taking out the amount cash you want to spend instead of swiping your card. Once all the cash is gone, do a hard stop on the spending. If you don’t feel safe carrying around that much cash or feel like you will lose it, then consider using a prepaid debit card.

 Jackson compares financial goals to fitness. If you want to be healthier, you exercise, move more often, eat healthier and stick to it: “It doesn’t have to be some very elaborate budget where you track every single food item or gas trip. It can be very simple. You just have to be consistent.”

Sidenote: Once you’ve set goals and made a plan, set up a time once or twice a month to check on your finances. You not only get a good look at where you are to your goals, but you’ll also become more aware of where you need to make adjustments to your plan.

  • Don’t be afraid of debt: Jackson said while paying down debt is important, it doesn’t have to be your only goal. Take student loan debt. If your interest rate is between one to eight percent, instead of using large sums of money to pay it off, just pay the minimum balance and invest the extra money.

“I think we get so focused on paying this debt back that we’re not investing for ourselves or making our money work for us,” Jackson said. “Because you could be debt free and broke. I can pay off $100,000 worth of debt, owe $0 and get in a car accident or have some type of catastrophe happened. Then I’m right back in debt because I haven’t been making my money work for me.”

This isn’t blanket advice. For example, if you have six figures in loan debt and a high interest rate, then focus on paying that off, Jackson said.

Laughs & Cash

You know that phrase, “laughter is the best medicine”?

Well, it can also be the best form of education. A mixture of financial gurus (such as Jackson), DJs and comedians teamed up for an “edutainment” event called the Funny Money College Tour. During its many stops at Historically Black College and Universities, students swag surf and roll on the floor laughing between interactive sessions about financial stability. The star-studded occasion included social media influencer and entrepreneur IAM Zoie, comedian Brian “B Tiddy” Tidwell and activist and rapper David Banner.

Our wonderful videographer Kavolshaia Howze was able to grab Banner during the Funny Money College Tour’s stop at Miles College near Birmingham, Alabama, on Nov. 5. Banner, a Mississippi native, gave us a taste of the tour and why it’s important to keep the wealth circulating in the Black community.

Stack your cash and keep spreading your Black joy. See ya’ next time!