Financially Prepared For Life

Nicole Simpson is giving young people the financial knowledge to handle disasters

to give young people the skills that will help them build wealth is an excellent demonstration of DOFE Principle No. 9: to use a portion of my wealth to strengthen my community.

Simpson also shares her own background with students to teach them that they can succeed, even when faced with setbacks. As a teenager, Simpson wanted to pursue law, but she got pregnant as a high school senior and instead attended the American Institute of Finance. She studied securities operations and was advised by an instructor to get her Series 7 license as soon as she started work, as it would help her get ahead. Her first job was at Prudential, and after seven months of work, Simpson approached her boss with a proposal: “I asked the company to sponsor me so that I could take the Series 7. I didn’t have the money for the exam, but I said that if I failed, I would pay them back.” Simpson passed and stayed at the company for five years before moving on to other financial firms.

Simpson recently published a book, Planning for a Reason, a Season and a Lifetime (1stBooks Library; $15.50), and currently works at MetLife specializing in financial planning for clergy. “The church is a cornerstone of our community,” she says. “Churches need to focus more on managing their money.”

Although she struggles finding ways to get other people committed to helping with her project, Simpson stays upbeat. “Once we start sharing information, then we as a people can start to grow.”

May 2004 : BLACK ENTERPRISE : blackenterprise.com

To use a portion of my wealth to strengthen my community

Here’s how you can do your part:

Use expertise as capital: Sharing wealth with one’s community need not be about giving only money; sharing knowledge is just as important. Kenneth Sykes, the social studies department chair at East Orange Campus High School says, “Ms. Simpson has exemplified how professionals can help our young people by being a role model and donating time.”

There are several Websites, like VolunteerMatch (www.volunteermatch.org), that link volunteers with organizations based on their interests. If, like Simpson, you’re concerned with economic empowerment, try Operation Hope (www.operation hope.org), where volunteers help teach financial self-sufficiency to inner-city residents.

Commit to a cause: Concentrate on one community-building goal and be realistic about how much time you will be able to dedicate. Simpson estimates that she spends 10 hours each month preparing her lessons and 15 hours actually teaching. She uses a 10-10-80 plan to structure her time: 10% of her time is for leisure, 10% is for giving back, and the remainder is for work.

Pay it forward: Mentoring an individual is just as important as teaching a group. Says Simpson: “I realize that each person you reach can then go on to teach others; in the end you can affect thousands.”

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