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BOOK EXCERPT: The financial literacy aspect of ‘Twenty Something’

TSD Newsroom

In her first book – “Twenty Something” – Carlissa A. Shaw Esq. focuses on advice for young women entering adulthood. The Memphis-based lawyer discusses things she wishes she would have known, including walking away from toxic relationships and financial literacy.

The “Twenty Something” book release is set for Dec. 8 at Sage Memphis, 94 S. Main St., from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. For more information, visit https://bit.ly/2raw9sw.

Here, Shaw allows The New Tri-State Defender to share excerpts from the chapter titled “I wish I would have known…How to Secure the BAG.”

Affirmation: “Don’t go broke trying to prove you aren’t broke to people who are broke.” –Kenny Worles

The Basics

Step One: Make the decision to be financially literate.

After a few months into dating my boothang and daughter’s father, Nathaniel” Duke” Calhoun II, we were having a conversation about money and finances. Duke had recently retired from the NFL and was finishing his degree at the University of Memphis. The conversations started because he called and told me that he was buying some rims for his Porsche 911.

I immediately started on my very judgmental, “why would you waste money on such foolishness rant.” In the midst of my speech, he pointed out something to me that no one had ever said before. He told me that I was twenty-eight years old and I only owned clothes, purses, and shoes. (Basically, he called me poor.) I was OFFENDED; I mean big mad. I sat and thought about his words and he was right. I did not own anything that was an appreciable asset (at the time).

I was offended because I was, in my mind, very financially literate. I had a checking account, saving account, and an emergency fund. I had good credit and I was starting to think about purchasing a home. I was doing all the things that I was either taught or taught myself to do with my money. But from the time the words left his lips I knew he was right and I changed my tune. I took his words as a challenge to start building wealth. I listened, watched and learned how he made a lot of money over a short period of time work for him.

Step Two: Surround yourself with money minded people.

…. In college, my checking account was nothing more than the vessel for my dad to deposit my allowance and for the direct deposit from my little campus job. After college, it was the depository for my law school student loans that funded my day to day expenses. … My only concern in my early and mid-twenties was to make sure there was enough money in that checking account to cover monthly bills, eating, drinking, clubbing, and traveling related expenses. …

As I ventured through my mid and late twenties, I met more and more money-minded people. I also made friends with people who invest professionally. Every time I got the opportunity I talked to someone that invests professionally and would ask very general questions about saving or making money. … Even though I’m still on the road to full financial freedom, here are some tips I’ve learned to help get you started.

Step Three: Start a Checking Account.

… Starting a checking account is very simple but requires at least a beginner’s level of savvy. First, do some research and identify what financial institution works best for you. Shop for the best rates, perks, and best location. … Just be careful. Be very careful.

Step Four:  Start a Savings Account.

…From the age of 16, my parents gave me an allowance and I worked somebody’s job(s) yet somehow at the age of twenty-five I did not have any money saved. …

My pastor preaches the theology of 10-10-80:10% of your income to God in the form of tithe, 10% to yourself in the form of savings and investments, and live off of the remaining 80%. That model works best if you have a career and a steady income, but it can also work for students. …

Some of you may be wondering “what am I even saving for?”;  and that probably would have been my question at twenty. I have several suggestions for you:

I. Emergency Fund…

II. Travel/Luxury Buys…

III. Family Planning…

IV. Long-Term Savings: 401K/ IRA

V. Insurances

Step Five: Carefully Manage Student Loan Debt

… When I was in college people were spreading the rumor that student loan debt is good debt. The devil is a lie. …

Get only what you need to cover the essentials. I don’t care if you end up with six roommates; try to save yourself the headache of dealing with student loans.

If you’re like me and already have lots of student loan debt, try what I did. When I got my first job I went on an income-based modification plan. I paid about $300 a month and that was comfortable for me. I deferred them for a few months while I saved aggressively and now I am back on my payment plan that I will probably pay until I die. I am at peace with this decision.

Step Six: Develop Multiple Streams of Income.

In order to secure the bag, you have to have multiple streams of income. …Now, whenever I touch money, I am trying to figure out how I can use that money to make me more money. …

I believe in having a stable job and a side hustle or two. Hopefully your side hustles do so well that you can eventually become your own boss, but in my opinion, it is always good to have a steady stream of income.

Step Seven:  Make and manage your budget

You can never make money if you are spending more than you make. … No matter who you are there is probably some fat in your budget that you can trim to get yourself to a stable financial place.

Step Eight: Build a Good Credit History

…One of the most critical elements of credit is paying everything on time! … If you are going to be late or miss a payment … see if payment arrangements are possible. Also, make sure you manage your credit card balances. Most experts suggest that you keep your credit card balance at or below 30% of your credit limit.

I also suggest signing up for Credit Karma … a free online resource that allows you to check your credit score and gives you suggestions on how to increase your credit score. … In the words of Lil Boosie, “You can’t be a bad girl if you got bad credit.”

Securing the bag is so important. We live in a world where the gender wage gap inequality is real. Simply put, as women we get paid less than men for the same jobs. Hopefully, I will see that change in my lifetime. But until then, women need to know all the tricks of the trade to get ahead. …

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