Tiffani Murray was never the type to not have her finances in order. From the time she was a child, saving coins in an empty Tang container, she’s always understood the importance of frugality. As an adult, Murray practices sound money management principles to make her money work for her.
Single without children, Murray is taking advantage of this time to build wealth by creating multiple streams of income. In addition to her full-time job as a technology manager in talent acquisition for a consumer products company, the 32-year-old owns two Web-based businesses and has a variety of “side hustles,” as she calls them. Among them is a book series called Stuck on Stupid (www.StuckOnStupidBooks.com), which came about after a bad break up, and Flagler Hill (www.FlaglerHill.com), a Website dedicated to discussing African American relationships. The Websites generate income through online advertisement and the sale of content to other Websites. Murray is also a freelance writer and event planner. Combined, she makes an annual income of $125,000 to $150,000, about 25% of which comes from the “hustles.” Murray makes a point to track expenses and adhere to a budget. Over the past five years, the Atlanta resident was able to save up to six-figures. She credits prudence for her financial success. “I can be sort of a penny-pincher. I enjoy a certain lifestyle, but I also know what I’m spending my money on,” she says. Another key part of Murray’s plan is having a team of experts in place. “It’s important to surround yourself with people who are knowledgeable.”
Here are some tips that can help you build wealth:
Track finances. Keep a record of your income and how much of it you spend. Also seek the help of a financial professional. If paying for regular sessions with a financial planner is not in your budget, you can go for one visit to help you get on the right track. “If you don’t have a lot of money, some financial planners will not charge you a lot in the very beginning. Even if you just go one time to get direction on the first thing you need to do, it’s worth it because you’ll have a blueprint,” says Cheryl Broussard, registered investment adviser and author of Starting Over: Fast Cash and Getting Back on Financial Track (Cheryl Broussard; $19.97).
Resist the urge to overindulge. The top roadblock to wealth building for single women is overspending. “Because single women don’t have anyone else they need to take care of, they tend to overspend. We need to stop that in the beginning and change our mindset to align with wealth building instead of instant gratification,” says Broussard. Once you’ve tracked your finances and see where your money is going, cut back on unnecessary expenses. Just because you can afford something doesn’t mean you should buy it.
Add multiple streams of income. Find ways to profit from a hobby or something you’re passionate about. Also consider a part-time job. “I try to have other means of income because you never know with corporate America. You never know when things could change.” says Murray.
Set up automatic savings. Having a set amount of money deposited into your savings account each payday is one of the best ways to save because you won’t have to think about it. It’s important to start saving as soon as possible. “The money you save early on is by far the most powerful money you will ever save because it has the most time to grow and compound,” says Manisha Thakor, a chartered financial analyst, or CFA, and personal finance expert for women.
Start investing now. Educate yourself about investing and get started as soon as possible. This is one of the best ways to make your money grow.
—Sheiresa McRae and Shenelle Wallace
WEALTH BUILDING RESOURCES
Mint (www.mint.com) is a free online budgeting tool that will help you keep track of income and expenses.
ShareBuilder (www.sharebuilder.com) features inexpensive online investing and guidance for novice and experienced investors.