High Hopes - Page 3 of 3

High Hopes

have to look at other areas, because she’s not tied to the Brooklyn.” Other areas could include nearby New Jersey, which still has areas with more reasonable housing prices.

Get entrepreneurial training. A center such as the one Jefferson hopes to open would have to run like a business to succeed. Brackens recommends that Jefferson obtain training from the U.S. Small Business Administration, particularly its Women’s Business Center Program and SCORE (Service Corps of Retired Executives). “Gena will find the mentoring services of SCORE helpful in her development of a business plan, corporate structure, and best practices,” says Brackens. She recommends Jefferson use the $2,000 contest winnings for entrepreneurial training, to research the development needs of her center, and to pay down debt.

Begin estate planning. Even though she is single, Jefferson has already built up resources, so it’s important that she has the proper estate-planning documentation in place. “Because she is single, without a will, durable power of attorney, healthcare proxy, etc., there is a gap for getting assets to her family should something happen to her.” In that scenario, her family would be forced to go through probate to receive her assets.

If Jefferson follows Brackens’ advice, she should be positioned nicely to own her residence and launch her venture. “Those are the primary areas that I want her to start working on,” says Brackens. “If she can do all of that over the next 24 to 36 months, we still have a good 24 months to get everything implemented for her to have her kick-off in five years.”

Financial Snapshot: Gena Jefferson


Gross Income $69,600
Checking $2,000
Savings 6,000
Money Market 18,000
403(b) 75,000
Company Stock Fund 1,500
Value of Car* 20,120
Total $121,120


Car Loan 11,000
Student Loans 30,000
Credit Card Debt 5,000
Total $46,000
NET WORTH $75,120

*According to Kelley Blue Book.