Millennial CEO Latasha Kinnard Speaks To College Grads On Coping With Student Loans
Black Enterprise Magazine September/October 2018 Issue

Latasha Kinnard started investing at age 19, after listening to a personal finance presentation. She was astounded at the difference five years could make in the investment world. Instead of waiting, she jumped head first into investing and the options were either sink or swim. Fortunately, she swam. Partly due to the success of her investments and financial discipline, “Tasha” was able to leave her job at a Fortune 500 company to grow and develop her business. Reared on the South Side of Chicago, Tasha attended Washington University in St. Louis and is deeply passionate about lifting others to new financial possibilities.

As the CEO of Start Young Financial Group, based in Atlanta, her vision is to eradicate the wealth gap and reduce poverty in America and ultimately around the world. Her client profile strongly consists of young black professionals or “millennials”, especially those from economically disadvantaged backgrounds. The purpose of Kinnard’s Young Black Millionaire Movement is to encourage young adults to be more money conscious and financially literate. “It’s imperative that we understand our ancestors sacrificed so that we could have educational opportunities, but also so that we could advance economically. Our communities are depending on our ability to build and I refuse to watch my generation live below their financial potential. Not on my watch.” We’ve asked Tasha (@TashaTheBuilder) to share five smart ways that new college grads can reduce the burden of student loan debt:

1. Don’t let student loans stress you out: Your financial journey is about you and your financial well-being. You are the one that matters in this scenario. While it is important for you to take ownership of your financial situation and honor your commitments, the first priority is to create a secure foundation that you can build on. Not to pay Sallie Mae. Trust me, she’s good.

[Related: The Big Career Mistake That’s Causing Recent Grads to Miss Out on Income]

2. Have a realistic strategy: Sometimes, fear, guilt, and anxiety prevent us from dealing with student loan debt head on. Most graduates do not even know how much they owe in total. By ignoring your debt, you are exacerbating the problem. On the other hand, when you create a strategy that focuses on what you are realistically able to do, you empower yourself to move your finances in the right direction.

3. Ask for money. Yes, I said it. For birthdays, special occasions, and holidays like Christmas, don’t opt for cute gifts… ask for cash. It might seem culturally taboo but I promise that it is a win-win for everyone involved. Simply inform your loved ones that you would like cash instead to help pay down your student loans more quickly. Usually, the people you love are happy to help and happy that they don’t have to find you a gift.

4. Hustle while you work: Considering that we are combatting student loans, credit card debt, and high rates of unemployment, it is not surprising that millennials must hustle just to stay ahead. I recommend that you consider monetizing your passion as a side job or consider alternatives that allow you to make money such as providing transportation services, running errands, or even tutoring.

5. Don’t take on more debt: Don’t you dare take on more debt. This means cars, clothes, homes, and everything else. This is only going to add to your financial burden unless you have first-class counseling, which is not widely available for millennials. I know it seems like debt is so normal, but I do not have a single client that has ever regretted NOT taking on more debt. There are extenuating circumstances, but be on high alert. Start Young Financial (www.StartYoungFinancial.com) is forging forward with its movement to raise financial awareness, increase financial literacy, and decrease the wealth gap. “My generation will not only have a seat at the table, we will also have our very own.” Stay connected with Latasha Kinnard through Twitter: @tashathebuilder and Facebook: www.facebook.com/syfg1.

Roz A. Gee (@RozAGee) consults as The Brand Empowerment Agentâ„¢ and Media Match Mavenâ„¢ of The Rated Gee Agency (www.RatedGee.com) with service sectors in Media Relations, Brand Identity and Development, Brand Messaging and Speaking & Training. Roz has masterfully mixed over 20 years of cumulative experience and has worked professionally for industry titans such as General Electric, AT&T, AOL, IBM, SAP/Sybase and Northrop Grumman. Schedule for a complimentary analysis at www.MediaMatchMaven.com, Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/TheRatedGeeAgency/

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