Good, better, best!

I was on the radio yesterday. Well, I was at a radio station, scheduled to speak, but was played along the way because of timing issues. It was still a great experience. We were there promoting the WesGold Fellows Program (my day job) on WURD, a local Philadelphia radio station. The other instructor (who just happens to be my beau that I keep referring to) and one of the students got the chance to broadcast their voices over the airwaves. At first the student was speechless, which was so unlike her. But then she came around and was amazing. It was wonderful to watch.

What was sad though, was the lack of respect and support from her fellow Fellows. Lack of support for one another is seemingly becoming more and more prominent among the young and old, but especially among the African American community. I was so proud to see this young woman speaking eloquently and just having the courage to do something out of the ordinary, or something she may have never had a chance to do. There’s plenty of room at the top, people. Instead of wasting the energy to tear someone apart, support them. Bring them up as you do yourself.

I learned a nice motivating quote from the station General Manager, Mr Curnie Anderson: “Good, better, best. Never let it rest until your good is better and your better is best! Food for thought.

Have a great weekend all! See ya on Monday

The wind that blows the Entrepreneur

Feel the breeze. Last night I attended the Prudential Young Entrepreneurs Award Ceremony. PYEP is a program that I was involved in maybe two years ago. It teaches students all the basics and complexities about starting a successful business. It was a great program. And to think of it, the Program Director is directly responsible for everything that I am doing now. Oh networking!

The keynote speaker was a Mr Sulaiman Rahman ( pronounced Sue-la-mahn Rah-mahn). He is the most successful thirty-two year old African American man that I know, and one of the “10People under 40 to Watch in 2008”, as reported by the Philadelphia Tribune. He is the founder of a site I frequent, a site responsible for the majority of my network, www. urbanphilly.com. He spoke on the tools necessary for an entrepreneur to succeed at their endeavors.

Reminiscing, he first reminded us of the aweful and “breathtaking” feeling of being broke. How, when broke, there is always “more MONTH at the end of the MONEY”. And boy could I relate! I really look up to Sulaiman. He is just an inspiration to me And how important it is to surround yourself with inspirational people! “Inspiration is contagious”, in a good way.

As an entrepreneur it is so important to get out there or put yourself out there. Remember the old adage: “It’s not¬†what you know but who you know”?¬†Update that to¬†“It’s not what you know, nor who¬†you know, it’s who knows YOU“!¬†I go to at least one social networking event once a week. It should be more! As I am putting myself out there I am learning more and more the importance of having a viable ‘network‘, people that are either movers and shakers in their line of work or simply people that you know can connect you with others. Every conversation with Sulaiman he directs my efforts towards a new person, further expanding my network.

This is step one through infinity. An entrepreneur can never have “too large of a network”. Another friend of mine, Miss Kimberly Reed of Reed Consulting Group and Kim Speaks! (whom I connected with because of an event sponsored by Urban Philly), divides her network into three categories:

1)Personal: Your friends and family. People you send the chain emails to!

2) Social: Your associates from school or coworkers. People who will still connect you with others, but from time to time you may send them a chain letter.

3) Professional: These are those you do not send your chain emails to! These are the meet of your network. They can connect you to the most people and may even become your mentor. When promoting or seeking business advice, this is the list you would turn to.

I actually applied this immediately to my Gmail contacts and it has helped in terms of organization. When I have a question or need to promote I turn to one (if not all) of these lists. Build your network. Before anything else comes into play. This is your foundation and will ease your entreprenurial woes from time to time.

Meet My Friend: Golden

Meet Golden (names have been changed to protect the fabulous). She’s one of my favorites. Uber cool style, great friend and extremely talented and smart. I get a lot of my inspiration from her. She is the Queen, hands down, at getting really nice and qualitative clothing for fabulously fashionably frugal prices. She is so money!. So some background info on Golden. She is the third daughter of a set of four. Her mother and father have instilled in her principles that I am still attaining for. Very bright academically and quite the social butterfly. Talented however in other areas as well. She’s nice on the piano, guitar, spoken word, dance and … well this is still my blog. In recent noteworthy news, she’s traveling across the ocean to get her MBA from a very prestigious university in Germany. She leaves in less than two weeks. She’s my bestest. My sister from another mister.

Golden is so money in that she has accumulated over $10,000 in savings. But oh so not money, in that she keeps in a regular bank account earning a meager 1/2%. Golden my love! Have you ever heard of compound interest on high yield savings accounts? High interest bearing Certificates of Deposits (CDs)? The stock market!?!?! (need a moment to catch my breath…mini panic attack)

Yes. I know you have heard of all of the aforementioned investment accessories, but why haven’t you purchased? Countless occasions I’ve tried to peer pressure her into the investment side of things. “All the cool kids are doing it. Come on. Try it”. I’ve even offered up my services as her personal financial finanshionista (I’m always looking for new money).

It is so important to have your money moving. Think of it like the movie SPEED. If you slow down the coumpound interest bus, then KABOOM!. Big bangs and explosions are soon to follow. Death to all!

Sorry, I got a little excited. But seriously. Compound interest is the “most powerful force in the universe“, according to my buddy Albert Einstein. Even before he created the most awesome and deadly weapon of all time, he knew that no force, not even the Atom Bomb, could compare to that of compounding interest. (This is an egregious exaggeration)

Just what exactly is compounding interest, you ask. Well my friend compounding is continuously adding interest earned in the current period to the principal and continuing like that forever. So as the balance increases, even if due solely to the accumulation of interest, the payment amount of interest continues to increase and then you’ve got yourself a compounding asset machine. So, so money.

For example, if I have a Coach Bag Savings Account with $500 as my intial amount or my principal and an interest rate of 3.5% (found at http://www.bankrate.com), then the next period (day, month or year) I will have $517.5 found by $500 X 1.035; by period two I will have ($517.5 X 1.035) $535.61. By period six my Coach bag account will have a balance of $614.63. That is a basic return on investment of 23% in only six periods.

So Golden, if you were to invest that $10,000 in a Certificate of Deposit, meaning if you were to lend your money to a bank and they pay you interest and your original principal amount when the term ends in return, at 4.25%, by the end of year one you would have a balance of $10,425. That’s without any withdrawals or extra deposits. Now, here’s where it really gets exciting. If you were to turn around and re-invest $10,425 for six months at 6%, you would have a balance of $10,733; for one year: $11,050.

Golden, you are almost there. Now it’s time to make your money work for you. In a matter of two years, you could have made more than $1,000 in interest payments alone. Your money, just not so money yet.

That will be $45 bucks!

Finanshionistas Unite!

The other day I introduced a term to be added to every females vocab: ‘finanshionista‘. Now I apologize for all of those who were lost at first but have no fear. A finanshionsista (pronounced fi-nan-shun-knee-sta) is a female ( or male, why not?) that possesses the following qualities:

1) Unique personal style that many emulate but few capture the essence that is you

2) Frugally fashionable. Ladies we are taking back this word ‘frugal’. It is nothing to be ashamed of. It has gotten a bad connotation attached to it over the years but frugal can mean something so chic like ‘I never pay full price for anything’. Full price does not equal fashionable. But I digress…

3) Just as concerned as you are with your wardrobe you are even more concerned with your money, honey.

4) You believe that you can have it all: Manolos and mutual funds.

5) You love the character Carrie from Sex & the City, but secretly think she is ‘wildin’ for living way out of her means to afford it. Living paycheck to paycheck, in reality, is not that glamorous.

6) In line with #5, new money (and a new pair of “Oh my lordy!” shoes) makes you say: “Hello Lover….” (Am I alone on this one?)

7) You are passionate about creating what I like to call ‘mailbox money’. It’s the checks that you pick up from the mailbox along with Falls Victoria’s Secret catalog (who by the way has stepped up their game this Fall).

The list is a work in progress. For now, all of my aspiring finanshionistas, this is a good start. The combination of finance and fashion just encompasses the love I have for both. Finance has this connotation of being uptight, older females in stiff pant suits and a corporate cubicle. While fashion is exciting, new and ever changing. Well I work to make the two co-exist. My two loves can play nice together and help each other improve. Don’t ya think so?

De-Cluttering Receipt Clutter

Often, when cleaning out my closet, I am faced with the daunting task of removing old items from my purses and wallets. This morning, I did just that and found upwards of fifteen receipts, evidence of the constant battle between ‘spender‘ and saverthat rages within.

I was raised to spend money. Let me clarify. I was raised to see nothing wrong with spending money that I either did not have or money that I could not afford to spend on the items I wished to buy. Though living check to check my father was able to purchase two cars and a stereo system that sat in the garage.

This is the way of thinking I am moving against now.

An experiment for you would be to hold on to your receipts for two weeks. I mean every receipt that you get. If you don’t get one, request it. At the end of the two weeks tally up those expenses, add them into the hard copy bills (utilities, etc.) and expenses (medical costs, groceries, etc.) and see how much you save, spend and hold onto. Compare it also to your bi-weekly, weekly or monthly take home pay. You may be surprised to see that you are actually living paycheck to paycheck without realizing it.

‘Surprise’

Here is the first hurdle preventing you from becoming a financially fit woman. Either you’ve been extremely lucky to not have had a true financial emergency requiring immediate cash or you should probably be bracing yourself for one that is heading your way.

A little more NaCl than usual

Sorry for the absence without leave. But a lot has changed since then. Well for starters, I am officially one year older from when I wrote the last post. Flatteringly enough, a guest speaker mistook me for one of my students on a field trip the other day. They are all in the 11th and 12th grades. So hopefully I can maintain the benefits of having found the fountain of youth and always remain six years younger. My beau also aged a year, but four days after I. What can I say! I have a thing for younger men!

I also went into the ocean for the very first time. We went to the beach (my beau and I) with friends to celebrate our birthdays. Now¬†I never went in the ocean before because I was extremely fearful of all the little ocean creatures touching me, and grabbing me and possibly stinging me. So I respected their space and stayed on the sand. This time to the beach was different. I was brought in (against my will) and eased into the ocean. The sand was rocky hard and water was extremely salty. I wasn’t the only one who noticed there was a little more NaCl than usual.

I got another job! This time I am working at my school library. A laid back opportunity that will allow me to study and get some work done while bringing in extra cash. I decided that all the money I make from this job is going to go towards my credit cards. I’ve got that total balance down to $1400. I could make due without another job. But I wanted to bring in more money to speed up the process of paying down debt and increasing assets. While there the other day, I realized also that by working at two jobs and class at night, I’ve really gained a deeper appreciation of the ethics behind “working hard”. Now this may sound weird, but hear me out. I’ve never really had to work hard at anything. Part of it comes from me just being fabulous and good (or mediocre) at all that I did. However, the other part (and I think this is the biggest part) was that when things got hard, that was my cue to quit or walk away. Convince myself that I did not want what I had been working towards. And in the end, I’ve been cheating myself out of great opportunities. No regrets though. I can only move forward.

And in sadder news. I had to come to the realization that my investment club was floundering. Participation rates were dwindling, with the relocations of many, new jobs etc. and the club was getting the attention form each partner as it deserved. It will rise again, just with a different and more dedicated following. It definitely was a learning lesson and at this point that is all I can ask for.

Splurge or Save? End of the season miracle


So my posts this week are going to be a little out of sync. I always start the week off with a women of inspiration, someone inspiring the ladies to hold onto their finances… but I’ve suffered from a horrible case of time mismanagement. I went home to the NY this weekend only to return to the iladeph with a ton of homework and all around errands to run. So here I am typing away at 2:30 in the morning knowing full well that I need to be alert and teacher ready in six hours. Thank the lord for TAB. What’s even worse is that I am typing on my boyfriends computer, if you can even call it that. A few months back he dropped his lovely eight pound Dell on the floor only to shatter the LSD in a million liquid pieces. So now I type on the keypad and look on a monitor that been connected to the laptop. So I’m using half a laptop and half a desktop. It’s ALIVEEEE!!!!!

Wonderful News

While window shopping in NYC I wandered into Express Fashion. Now I haven’t personally shopped at this store in months because the items they were pushing were poorly made with light and, I’ll say it, cheap fabrics and the final price tag, I believe, was a 150% markup. There was no way I was going to pay what they were asking.

However, this visit to Express was different. It was their end of the season sale and majority of the items were marked down with an extra twenty percent off. I’m in the process of building my professional wardrobe so I thought I’d look around.

What I happen to stumble upon is a baby doll floral print 100% silk strapless dress (show here).

Fashion Miracle

Fashion Miracle

This picture was taken maybe a month ago, when I first saw the dress on the website and rushed to store to make it my graduation outfit. Only to be terribly disappointed. The fit was fabulous but the price tag said $128.00 (not so fabulous).

Though on the sale rack, the dress was to physically marked down. I asked a sales rep and they pushed some buttons and searched the database for a current price. The sales associate comes back with a sullen look on his face and mumbles some numbers to me. “excuse me. I couldn’t here you. It sounded like you said the dress was marked down to $39.99”. Then he said the best news of the day, “It is!”.

I thought I was being duped. That I was on some twisted hidden camera show. I immediately grabbed the dress and dashed to the register before anyone could say “Sike! Your on candid camera!” While in line I noticed that the belt on the dress had a merely visible pull on the fabric. Barely noticeable to the naked eye but definitely noticeable to the savvy shopper. That right there was another 10% off (so money). “But you can not return the dress”, says the cashier. “Return this dress! NEVER!!!”

Final Cost

Due to a calculation error on the part of the cashier (stay in school kids) on top of the extra 20% off of already reduced items, I got another 20% off for the pull on the dress (remember, it should have been 10%) for a grand total of …..drum roll please….. $25.61! SO MONEY!!!

So in the end, I saved myself from splurging by simply waiting. Hey! We may be on to something here!

******BTW, it is my birthday tomorrow! Wish me wishes!!!******

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