Updated: Jan 15
To my shame, my brother purchased my airline ticket. I thought, "What is happening? I graduated with an accounting degree from one of the best business schools in the country, but I can't manage my own money!" I had to recognize that I needed help.
Black Enterprise magazine had a financial fitness contest with a prize of $2,000 that included a chat with a financial advisor. I applied and won! The experience was life-changing. The knowledge I acquired led me to pay off $18,500 in debt.
Here are four tips on how to move through the shame while also learning how to begin managing your finances:
Acknowledge the problem. Get over your ego. I had to face that I was not managing my finances well. I would spend $100-220 at Barnes and Noble routinely. What is your vice? Your vice may be clothes; mine were books.
Find help. With social media, you can find a mammoth of information on managing your finances. Instead of attempting to consume all of it, start following one publication. From there, expand as your knowledge increases. Make sure to read BVG blog posts on how to manage your personal and business finances. Then, carve out time to read articles and listen to podcasts.
Write It Down. Create your personal balance sheet. Write down your current bank balances, what you own, and outstanding debts. This exercise might make you uncomfortable but writing the numbers on paper allows you to create a plan to strengthen your assets and pay off debt.
Take action. You will not be able to move forward unless you take action; therefore, the first action is to create a budget. There's a difference between noticing what you're spending versus monitoring your budget. While at the time of purchase, you may think it's within the budget. However, you neglect to consider the entire month and how that spending will impact you over time. Secondly, set up auto-pay and direct deposit of your paychecks. By doing so, you'll guarantee that you'll pay your bills on time, every time. Finally, it's okay if you struggle in the beginning, don't get discouraged. Focus on your journey, and do what works best for you.
Getting your finances in check is a journey. Remember that life can sometimes take you off course from your finances. But what you can do now to get started is to face the shame around your personal finances. Take advantage of organizations like Black Girls Venture's that offer resources that will increase your financial literacy. Hopefully, you are more than ever motivated to begin mastery of your finances.
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