My Financial Life: The 30th Edition

As of today, it will make 30 days since I turned 30! YIKES! I am officially in the 30 Club! If you are like me, then you had benchmarks set for yourself by 30. I was supposed to have the following: $10,000 in a savings account, making over $100K a year, and owning real estate. Guess What?!?! I have none of that and that is perfectly okay. There is a time and place for everything. In due time, I will have that amount in my savings account and that large salary. In the meantime, I will blog about my journey toward those millions. LOL! As I reflect on my twenties, I realized a few financial mishaps that I and hopefully you can learn from.

  1. WHO CARES ABOUT JONESES?

Ever heard of the phrase“Keeping up with the Joneses?” I was paying too much attention to the rappers, reality show stars, and local Instagram celebrities. I thought that I HAD to HAVE the latest and greatest clothing, cars, and VIP bottle service at the club. One of the reasons that I have debt is because I was trying to keep up with people who I don’t know.  Those same people wouldn’t care if I had it anyway. I will no longer go broke trying to impress people that I don’t know. Those people are not lining up to pay this Diva’s bills so I will just stick to my little cute budget and strive toward being free from debt.

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  1. NO, YOU DON’T NEED CABLE.

Cable is a LUXURY NOT A NECESSITY! Contrary to popular belief, you don’t need cable. Ask yourself, do you really watch that much TV? While I was in graduate school, I would leave home for work at 8:30am and get home at 10:30pm. That gives me just enough time to shower and get ready for bed. Yet I was paying $100 in cable every month. Why am I paying for something that I am not enjoying? I cut the cord in January 2014 and I haven’t looked back. I am a subscriber to Hulu and use my friend’s Netflix account so I can watch a show or movie when I am not busy doing other things. Also, Scandal and How to Get Away with Murder comes on ABC which you can get without a cable (Think Antenna!) so I really don’t need it. I have been living my life cable-free and I am surviving ! If you really trying to trim the fat off your budget; I would suggest that you join me on my cable free journey. Think of extra $100-200 dollars that you would save.

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  1. DEPARTMENT STORE CREDIT CARDS are agents of satan.

Yep, I said it! You know how the conversation starts….

You: Hello! I’m ready to check out.

Cashier: Awesome! Would you  like to save an additional 15% off today’s purchase?

You: Sure! How?!

Cashier: Apply for the store’s credit card! If approved today, you can start using today and receive 15% off your purchase. It takes 5 minutes.  All I need is your social security number.

You: Ok…. ***-**-****

Cashier: Types in the register….. CONGRATS! You qualify for a credit limit of $250! Would you like to use it today?

You: Sure I would! *puts debit card back in purse*

 

And the rest is history…  That is how Victoria’s Secret and Nordstrom got me. Now I must warn others! That department store credit card is just another credit card. Now you have another debt on your credit report. Some people have 4-5 store credit cards stemming from this conversation.  That extra 10-15% percent discount is not worth it. Don’t add  an $250 debt to your credit report because you are trying to save $20 on your purchases. DON’T SUCCUMB TO SHOPPER’S TEMPTATION! JUST SAY NO!!!

Those are some of the financial mistakes that occured in my twenties.  I refuse to make these same mistakes in my 30s. I am now focused on debt reduction, savings, and investing. Stay Tuned! My journey to being debt-free is going to be a tough but necessary one to watch.

If you are 30 and up; what financial mistakes did you make in your 20s? What are you doing to ensure that you don’t repeat them? Do tell DIVAS and DIVOS!

Keep Saving  DIVAS!

With love,

Miss Diva Dollars

Banking While Black: It’s a Necessity

As this is the last day of Black History Month, I must encourage everyone to keep this momentum throughout the year. Between Beyoncé and Kendrick unapologetically black performances, Black History Month 2016 has been one for the books. The Diva couldn’t celebrate Black History Month without informing, reminding, and encouraging my fellow DIVAS AND DIVOS about the importance of patronizing Black-Owned Banks.

How many Banks are in the US?    6,799

How many Black-owned Banks are in US?  19

Yep, you read it right… 19 Black-Owned Banks left in America.

We cannot talk about “Buy Black” without saying “Bank Black”. It is imperative that we support our Black-Owned Banks. We must support black-banks in order to do the following: strengthen the brown economy, community, and dollar. African-Americans are a $1 Trillion Dollar Buying Power. Reports have stated if African-Americans stop shopping for a week; we could really put a bad dent in the American economy. WOW! That is a lot of untapped power that we possess. The Brown Economy is a very powerful force that we as a people have yet to harness.  Most if not all of Black-Owned Banks are in urban areas (where most of US live). When you open an account at a bank, you are helping the community that the bank is in. The reason is banks are mostly likely lending to people and organizations in the area. That means that your money will be distributed in your community.  According to the Nielsen Report “State of the African-American Consumer” ; the black dollar is only redistributed in our community for 6 hours.  6 HOURS?!!?  The dollar in the Asian community is redistributed for about 20 days. We gots to do better.  Most of them are in the south but they are a few in the Midwest and West Coast.  I’m sure that you have seen the article about Usher and Killer Mike opening accounts at Columbia State Bank (link- http://financialjuneteenth.com/usher-jermaine-dupri-killer-mike-support-black-owned-bank-by-opening-accounts/). That was a great start to Black History Month!

We can take that same enthusiasm and open an account ourselves with the following 19 Black-Owned Banks. I have created a chart for you to help aid in your decision-making:

ALAMERICA BANK

Location: Birmingham, Alabama

Founded: January 28, 2000

FDIC Region: Atlanta

Assets: $35 404 000

BROADWAY FEDERAL BANK FSB

Location: Los Angeles, California

Founded: February 26, 1947

FDIC Region: San Francisco

Assets: $385 055 000

CAPITAL CITY BANK & TRUST COMPANY

Location: Atlanta, Georgia

Founded: October 3, 1994

FDIC Region: Atlanta

Assets: $294 572 000

CARVER STATE BANK

Location: Savannah, Georgia

Founded: January 1, 1927

FDIC Region: Atlanta

Assets: $41 573 000

CITIZENS TRUST BANK

Location: Atlanta, Georgia

Founded: June 18, 1921

FDIC Region: Atlanta

Assets: $392 286 000

CITY NB OF NEW JERSEY

Location: Newark, New Jersey

Founded: June 11, 1973

FDIC Region: New York

Assets: $340 301 000

COMMONWEALTH NATIONAL BANK

Location: Mobile, Alabama

Founded: February 19, 1976

FDIC Region: Atlanta

Assets: $63 244 000

FIRST INDEPENDENCE BANK

Location: Detroit, Michigan

Founded: May 14, 1970

FDIC Region: Chicago

Assets: $215 924 000

FIRST STATE BANK

Location: Danville, Virginia

Founded: September 08, 1919

FDIC Region: Atlanta

Assets: $38 882 000

FIRST TUSKEGEE BANK

Location:Tuskegee, Alabama

Founded: October 11, 1991

FDIC Region: Atlanta

Assets: $63 127 000

ILLINOIS SERVICE FEDERAL SAVINGS & LOAN

Location: Chicago, Illinois

Founded: January 01, 1934

FDIC Region: Chicago

Assets: $140 148 000

INDUSTRIAL BANK

Location: Washington, DC

Founded: August 18, 1934

FDIC Region: New York

Assets: $342 524 000

LIBERTY BANK & TRUST COMPANY

Location: New Orleans, Louisiana

Founded: November 16, 1972

FDIC Region: Dallas

Assets: $545 019 000

MECHANICS & FARMERS BANK

Location: Durham, North Carolina

Founded: March 01, 1908

FDIC Region: Atlanta

Assets: $304 809 000

NORTH MILWAUKEE STATE BANK

Location: Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Founded: February 12, 1971

FDIC Region: Chicago

Assets: $91 490 000

ONEUNITED BANK

Location: Boston, Massachusetts

Founded: August 02, 1982

FDIC Region: New York

Assets: $590 624 000

SEAWAY BANK & TRUST COMPANY

Location: Chicago, Illinois

Founded: January 02, 1965

FDIC Region: Chicago

Assets: $573 168 000

UNITED BANK OF PHILADELPHIA

Location: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Founded: March 23, 1992

FDIC Region: New York

Assets: $67 930 000

UNITY NB OF HOUSTON

Location: Houston, Texas

Founded: August 01, 1985

FDIC Region: Dallas

Assets: $68 125 000

Source: FDIC

We must take ownership of our community. Instead of speaking with your mouths; use your money to speak. Make the switch! Bank Black!

 

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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