This is part 1 of our financial management series #StayFresh
In my experience guilt is a tremendous emotional tool that LGBT young people of color experience with respect to things that hold us hostage from reaching our fullest potential. While I believe that some form of guilt is necessary to keep your conscious and dignity intact, real talk, I have seen how people have internalize elements of guilt, creating shame where it absolutely has no place. Some of us, particularly those who grew up in large families, can accumulate internalize guilt and shame around success or success potential. What does that mean, it means that if early on you are predicted to be the “smart “ one, which is the family version of a year book’s most likely to succeed category, then it means you might experience watching your siblings, cousins and other family members struggle with celebrating your potential and making you feel guilty for having talents that might be the family’s meal ticket. For many communities of color, if you are fortunate enough to go to college and get a degree, the flipside is that education can create even more distance between you and the communities we come from. Ultimately we end up navigating three distinct worlds our families, the hood and academia.
For many of us, the push to complete school is about awareness that education is the exit door out of generational poverty. Generational poverty is a cycle of poverty—meaning that it occurs in each generation. In various literatures, generational poverty is often characterized by having been in poverty for at least two–three generations. In other words while wealthier families are likely to pass on access, money, property and power, poor people are likely people we inherit attitudes and mindsets, that grow poverty sustaining behaviors (i.e. debt, inaccessibility to ownership and some of us are born into debt due to caretakers who used and screwed our credit before we had a chance to…). So how can young LGBT people or people who come from families that have historically been financially challenged successfully reposition our selves to attract prosperity over poverty? Adopt a new attitude!
1) Challenge Guilt- we must let go of living in crisis, check to check mentality assures that we are driven by our needs and wants each day instead of long term financial planning. What if we developed plans that did not lend it self to paying mama’s cell phone bill today but give her and everyone else opportunities to manage the cell phone company tomorrow. I told my mother that while Mothers Day and birthdays are no longer, my priority is building a Bed & Breakfast that puts her talents to good use and enables her to own something, is the best kind of Mother’s Day gift one can give. This also means absolving ourselves of the guilt to spoil the people we love today to create financial sustainability tomorrow.
2) Create Budget- we cannot be afraid of budgets, knowledge is power so know where your money is going and where it ain’t,
3) Handle Your Credit: Pay your debtors, it’s the right thing to do and it’s the financial language for trust. If people cannot trust you they will not validate your ability to be responsible with other peoples money. (tip# Rich people use other peoples money and not their own)
4) Always Saving: Some times we tell ourselves that saving is pointless but there is a point, it shows discipline, it shows you can be conservative and if you cant honor your own money you will not likely honor someone else. Save! Save! Save! No matter how small something is better then nothing.
5) Start Investing: become knowledgeable about investing. Remember rich people don’t just live rich they think rich too. This might mean investing in an Investments for Dummies book and building your economic vocabulary. If you don’t speak the language then you can get in the game.
6) Get to Owning: Property, business the rights to something whatever it is plan to own, or at least be the boss or person in charge. No matter what your dream is you want to be in control but you cant own something if you have not done the other steps.
Michael & Aunsha Hall- Everett