As part of the BLACK ENTERPRISE Black Wealth Initiative, we hope that an award of $2,000 and the advice of a financial adviser will enable contest winners to make some real changes in their financial lives. But we all know a lot can happen in a year, and sometimes the best-laid plans fall short. With that in mind, we checked in with three winners from 2006 to find out if theyâ€™re still in the starting blocks or nearing the finish line of financial stability.
Each of our contest winners told us that theyâ€™ve been presented with life-changing opportunities. Two of the three seized the moment and are taking steps forward that are already showing promise. Another contest winner is awaiting word on a job opening that may transform his lifestyle.
While there was plenty of good newsâ€”a purchase of rental property, new jobs at higher pay in a new town, and the chance to relocate overseasâ€”some of our expertsâ€™ advice has yet to be acted upon. And one winner confesses contritely that, much to his disappointment and detriment, he hasnâ€™t reined in his spending.
Hereâ€™s a closer look at three past winners.
Baton In Hand; Jennifer Bogar : SEPTEMBER
A self-proclaimed slave to fashion has changed her ways. Jennifer Bogar has traded her shoe shopping jaunts for trips to Home Depot. Bogar, 32, says that over the past year sheâ€™s taken her love for real estate a step further. Last December, she purchased an investment property, a two-family house for $289,000 in Irvington, New Jersey.
The investment was prompted in part by a desire to help her father, whose apartment was damaged in a fire, forcing him to stay with Bogar and other relatives until he could make other arrangements. Together they decided that a rental property would help them both. “He had the money and I had the credit,” says Bogar, a single mother to her son, Aaron, 6.
Her father now lives on one floor of the home, and the other is rented. The rental income doesnâ€™t quite cover the mortgage, but they plan to renovate and rent the attic to make up for the shortfall.
Buying the rental property was enough to kill her shoe addiction; she hasnâ€™t splurged in quite some time. Sheâ€™s also curbed her travel habit. Fortunately she was lucky enough to win a four-day, three-night, all-expense-paid trip to Barbados from a New York City radio station. That provided a welcome break from her job as a paralegal.
Now her shopping appetite is for more property. She plans to start an L.L.C. to put her existing and future rental properties in to reduce her personal liability. “Iâ€™m on a kick,” she says. “I want another house.” Bogar is beating herself up because now she realizes that if she had done more saving than shopping, she would be in a better position to do just that. “Itâ€™s a wake-up call. I see these foreclosures in New Jersey and I could have snatched them up.”
Sheâ€™s learned another important lesson. “I got that house and helped