I won the Powerball! Now What?

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Let’s play the “What If?” game? What if I won the Powerball which is listed at $900 million with a cash value of $558 million. Either way, that is a lot of money! Disclaimer: I am NOT endorsing or condoning playing the lottery. That is your own choice that I will not judge you on.

If you were to win the Powerball; what would you do with all your winnings? Who would tell? If it was me… In the words of Keith Sweat..

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But we are talking about you…. Most people would say, “SHOW ME THE MONEY?!” They would want a lump sum of money in their bank account right away. Then here come the following people: your Momma who wants to start her own restaurant, your Uncle Junebug who always wanted to start their own barbershop, friend who now wants to start their rap career but want a custom studio, and your girlfriend/boyfriend who is looking for you to wine and dine because they feel they deserve it. Crazy right? But so true!!

Let’s look through your financial lens and see how much you would actually win. The estimated value of the Powerball is $900 million. You actually win $558 million (62% of the estimated value). Let’s not forget about the T word….TAXES! There is a 25% Federal Tax Reduction which will be taken off the top (think $135 million). You must pay Caesar what is due to Caesar or He will come for you and take the shirt off of your back. Now you will bring home about $419 million. Your hometown state also needs their coins too. State Taxes vary from state to state. I will use the state of Illinois as an example. According to USA MEGA, Illinois has a 3.75 state tax.

Now the question is… how should I get my winnings: lump sum or annuity? The common person would say LUMP SUM!!! Is that correct? NO!!!!  The most financially responsible thing is to do an annuity payments. This DIVA will tell you why. What is annuity? Glad you ask! Annuity is a fixed sum of money that is paid to someone for the rest of their lifetime. Bonus: if you die suddenly; your family can continue to receive annuity payments for the rest of their lives too! Morbid I know but hey you gotta be realistic.

Anywho… Back to the math. If you receive a lump sum payment, you will receive about $398 million. If you choose annuity payments, you will receive about $642 million. If you choose to get a lump sum, then you will pay more taxes off the top. If you choose an annuity; you will only pay taxes on the payments made to you annually. That means more money in your pocket!

So if you or I do win the Powerball tonight; please choose the annuity payments. Don’t forget to bless your fellow Financial Diva a coin or two for giving you this advice. In the meantime; keep SAVING and INVESTING DIVAS!!!

-Miss Diva Dollars

Diva Dollars Manifesto 2016

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This is the third day of the new year! YAY! For most people that means a new fresh beginning in different areas of our lives. This could mean starting a new fitness regime, renewed mindset, new diet, or the start of a new business. Some people create a new manifesto for themselves. Webster defines a manifesto as a public declaration of intention, motives, or views. My question to you is…. What is your money manifesto in 2016? Save more? Get out of debt? Save for a car or house? Spend less?

My Diva Dollars Manifesto is my public declaration of how I am going to handle my coins for 2016 and beyond. I am approaching the 30 Club (YEP!) and I need to make some changes to my financial lifestyle. My financial habits of my 20s cannot enter into my 30s. Soooooooooo…… Introducing my Money Manifesto

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Whatever your money mindset is; it should help your finances work in your favor instead of against you. What is your money manifesto for 2016? Drop a comment and let me know.  Let’s get our financial house in order for 2016!!!!

Until next time DIVAS!!!!!! Keep Saving and Investing!!!!

-Miss Diva Dollars

 

Weekend Recap: Money Matters Workshop

This past Saturday, I attended the Rainbow PUSH Money Matters Workshop. As a finance blogger, it is always refreshing to learn from other finance mavens in the industry.

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I attended the Investing 101 workshop lead by Mrs. Gail Perry-Mason. I received a wealth of information about residual income and starting an investment portfolio. Although most of us work 9-5’s, there is a plethora of opportunities to make additional coins. She mentioned websites like RetailMeNot, Ebates, and Resturants.com where people can make and/or save money utilizing these sites. Diversified income was another great tip. She stated that we must  have at least 5 avenues of income. We cannot depend on one source of income because you never know when things shift and a person could lose their job. You must always have a financial back-up plan. There was also some great investment tips. Mrs. Perry-Mason stressed the importance of starting an investment account whether it is with your job (Think 401K or 403B) or on your own. Robin Hood is an app that she mentioned where you can buy stocks. I will be using that app real soon. I’ll be sure to write a later post about my experience with it, so look out for that.

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The Chevrolet sponsored Empowerment Session, led by Reginald Humphrey, Senior Manager of Supplier Diversity, also provided great nuggets of wisdom. An important topic, Define Your Success Circle was especially interesting. It is important to remember that your circle of influence should be one that encourages you to strive for more. He also touched on Decision Making in regards to your finances. Make informed decisions that fit your financial lifestyle. He used the decision of buying a car as an example, which is great because no one loves the bus. It was suggested that you should never buy a car where the car payment and insurance is more than your rent or mortgage. This is called “living outside of means.” Living outside of your financial means you can do damage to your finances and credit score. And we need to keep that credit score up for when we’re ready to buy that vacation spot. (See: That villa in the Maldives I’ve been eyeing.)

Overall, I had a great time at the workshop and walked away with even more knowledge about making smart money decisions. I am excited for the year ahead equipped with some great financial tips. This DIVA is ready for 2016!

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2015 Miss Diva Dollars Goals

Happy 2015! The Diva has made it to another year! I am excited for new beginnings. With new beginnings comes change. This year my goal is to continue on my journey to being debt-free and make my money work for me. Below are my goals:

1. I will pay off my credit card. My balance is not high but I need to be more manageable with my credit. A credit card is essentially an open loan. Think about it…. When you use your credit card to buy shoes; you are taking a loan out to buy those shoes. Do you really even need those shoes? I’m preaching to the choir. I know that I need to do a better job of utilizing my credit only for REAL EMERGENCIES! I must tell myself that Nordstrom’s Half-Yearly Sale is not an EMERGENCY!

2. Pay off at least 1 student loan. With my undergraduate and graduate degrees, I am least $70K in the hole with that heffa Sallie Mae. SHE MUST BE STOPPED!! But that’s another blog post for another day. I am on an income-driven repayment plan so that is helping me pay it down. I am going to challenge myself to make an extra payment of $50 monthly so I can get her off my back slightly quicker.

3. Start another savings account. I know… I know…. Why another savings account? You never know when a rainy day will come. I had my fair share in 2014. I just want to be prepared for anything. I have a savings account at a credit union. My next one will be probably be at my primary banking institution. I like to call it my “Five Dollar Holla Plan”. I will begin with a deposit like $100 and then have an automatic debit of $5 every pay period to the account. The automatic debit will increase by $5 quarterly. Automatic Debit is VERY SEXY especially for forgetful people like myself. By first quarter, I will save $30. Second Quarter, I will save $60. Third Quarter, I will save $90. By Fourth Quarter, I will have saved $120. You can join me on my journey to savings! You don’t have to start with $100. You can start with the minimum amount it takes to start a savings account at your bank or local credit union. Even start it at home in a jar, you should have saved at least $300 by the end of the year.

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4. Obtain Life Insurance. It’s never to early to start thinking about death! LOL! I know that was a bad joke but you can’t stop the inevitable. This is the BEST TIME for millennials to get life insurance especially if you are a single person. Your monthly premium will be very manageable. The time to plan for your financial future is NOW.

I am approaching 30 therefore I need to get it together! The same problems that I had in my 20s WILL NOT be carried into my 30s. The time to plan for your financial future is NOW!
Tell me…. What are your financial goals for 2015? Eliminating Debt? Buying a House? Paying off credit cards? Share in the comments below.

Debt Diary- Page 1: Bank Debt Goes ALL WRONG!!!!!!

Dear Diary,

Today is payday! One would I think I would be excited…. Right?!?! NOT!! I won’t be excited until my automatic debits come out of my account. Automation is very sexy if you are trying to pay certain bills on time. I have my car insurance, LA fitness, and cell phone bill on auto debit on my account. Those are my absolute necessities in my life…. Transportation, Communication, and Fitness. I also have a bank debt that is on auto debit as well. UGH!! Bummer… I know… I know…

I got hit with a lawsuit from a bank debt that I owe from an old bank account. I used to work for a company that gave their employees paychecks that would bounce… YES ! MY PAYCHECK BOUNCED ON SEVERAL OCCASIONS!! NO, I AM NOT TELLING A LIE!!! I was fresh out of college. That was my first “real job”. I never knew that people or companies were capable of doing such a thing…. I was sooo naïve!!! Anywho, I began to incur fees because of these bounced checks. It got soooo bad that I had open another account at another bank in order to actually see a paycheck without being absorbed by fees. I incurred about $1000 worth of bank fees.

Did the company give me money in order to help with the fees that they caused? NO!!

Should I have sued them? Sure!!! But then I would have to take a number because a lot of people were suing them… Thank goodness I work at a real company now…. (Blessings!)

I received a summons in the mail to attend court from a lawyer about a bank debt. Once I got to court, I was able to negotiate a payment plan in order to pay it off in 6 months. Currently, I am on Month 4!! I am two months from knocking this debt out! Go me!!! I will have one less debt in November.

Moral of the story: Research the company that you work for. If you paycheck bounces for ANY REASON, GET OUT OF THERE!!!! It only gets worse from there…

It shouldn’t have gotten to this point but that’s what happens when you don’t stay on top of all your debt. First, I called the bank where I previously had the account with to handle this debt. They told me that it was sold to a debt collector. I left it alone after that. I should’ve done more research with it to see what debt collector bought the debt. A lot of times your debt can be sold over and over again. It can be a confusing process but it is a necessary burden that you must bear in order to pay the right company and get it off your credit report.

Diva Dollars Tip: Research your debt. Even though it may have one company on your credit report, it may be in the hands of another debt collection or law firm. Be thorough. Google is your friend. Sometimes your info maybe on search page 15 but it is soooo worth the hassle. Also, read consumer forums if you come across any. They will have stories or examples about dealing with the same debt collection agency that you may have to deal with.

Until next time…. Keep Eliminating those Debts Divas!!

Best Regards,
Miss Diva Dollars

Introducing: Debt Dairies

Hey Ya’ll (in my semi-Southen Belle voice)!!!!

I know…. I know…. Where have you been? Locked up in my library…  LOL!! But I am a free woman now.. I graduated with my M.A. in Economics on May 2, 2014!!!! YAY!!!! YAY!!!!  

Now you guys will have my undivided attention!! In the midst of me trying to obtain my Master’s. I have been keeping up with my finances. I have been doing better about budgeting and savings. I recently opened up a second savings account but that’s another blog post. 

Now another thing that I must tackle is………..DEBT!!!!!!!!!!!! Everyone hates that word!! I know I do. Webster describes it as money owed to someone. This diva would describe it as a thorn in my side that needs to be removed. 

Instead of talking about I am going to do something about it……..INTRODUCING “DEBT DAIRIES”!!!!! I will feature me paying down my debts as apart of my financial journey so that everyone can see me taking down debts one step at a time. Join me divas on this journey!!!

What I learned from the Financial Fast!

Hey Guys!

I know that it has been a while since I posted. Life and grad school is taking over (I graduate in May! YAY!) Even though I haven’t posted, I still endured the financial fast. I ended the fast on Feb. 3. I saved almost $200 after I paid my bills during this fast (WOW!!!!).  Below are some other major lesson learned during this fast. 

  • God wants you to be prosper but also be wise with your financial choices. Don’t let the pursuit of money distances you from your relationship with God. 
  • Give when you don’t feel like giving. There is a blessing that will come from it.
  • Be content with what you have. Be grateful for what you have. Remember, you get in bed in go to sleep every night while someone is sleeping on the ground outside.
  • Prudence begets Prosperity. I already had a budget but now I am going further to include social activities in my budget so I will able to save for concert or theater tickets. If you fail to plan; you plan to fail. 
  • Debt/Credit is Dangerous. I disagree with the book in regards to debt/credit being evil. There are some purchases that you need to use a line of credit for (home, car, surgery, etc.) I would say I am going to be more careful and manage my debt better. I have created a debt dash plan because I got to get SallieMae off my back ASAP!!! 
  • Diversify your investments (if applicable). I have diversified my 401K. I do need to do a better job of managing my investments. 
  • New Bible Verses that I need to memorize in regards to financial freedom. Proverbs 3:9, Luke 6:38, Proverbs 13:18, 1 Timothy 5:8

I highly recommend this book if you want to get your financial life in order. This might just become an annual ritual for me. 

Happy Saving!

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Day 3: Financial Fast

God is generous to us so why not help others? You know the cliche saying “To Whom much is given; much is required.” Well it rings true in your finances. This book chapter highlights the responsibility of prosperity. We have a responsibility to help others financially if we can. It doesn’t necessarily have to be money. It can be time. When was the last time you babysit your cousin or friend’s kids?

My thought process toward giving was based on a person’s effort. I like to help people who have made an effort to help themselves. I have discovered in this chapter that I have the wrong attitude. Think about the times God has blessed us financially even when we didn’t deserve it?! I know he has bailed me out financially many days. (Thank you Lord!!) That is the same approach we need to have with people. You know that begging cousin that always need $5 and you know they are not going to give it back?! GIVE IT TO THEM ANYWAY!! I know… I know… Easier said than done. We are all a work in progress! (I know I am!!) God will give it back to you ten-fold!

 

This chapter also opened my eyes to the word “miser“. Do you or someone you know hold on to money for dear life? Do you or someone you know making your family miserable with their cheapness? You or them might be a miser. A miser use money for their own selfish good. Miser have a great fear about not having enough. You must pray for the miser so that they can rest in knowing that God will provide all their needs.

Challenge: Think about one person you can help financially and DO IT!!