Everything You Wanted to Know About Your Finances

Young: I always tell people who are hesitant of investing to start with something fun. So, I ask people to go to their closet and inventory the designer they have the most of. If they’re publicly traded you should have their stock, because you obviously care about them. If you go to Starbucks every day and you don’t have a share of Starbucks, shame on you. The key, I think, to money management, investing, anything financial, is to take baby steps. You will make such strides in addressing your fears that you can take the next step. Then you will look back a quarter, a year and you’re like “look how far I’ve gone.” That gives you more personal power and it empowers you so that bigger decisions can [be made] a lot easier.

To sum it up, what critical piece of advice would you give black women?

St. Claire: One of the things I think is important for people to do now is an asset liability sheet. You want to know your net worth. When you [subtract] your liabilities [from] your assets, it may be positive or it may be negative. But the facts are there and then you can set some goals and you know what you want to address. Then you need a budget because you now know what you’re dealing with.

Epperson: Of course, you have to spend less than you earn. But you need to know how much income is coming into your house and how much is going out. It’s a very basic first step. But until you do that, you can’t think about what your risk tolerance is or how much you’re going to contribute to your 401(k). Cutting back on certain things like stopping your 401(k) and not contributing to any savings is not going to be a good idea.

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