Black People

Financial Companies Who Are Working With Employees Affected by the Shutdown

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Wealth Building Tip of the Day:

If you yourself are a Federal employee - or know someone that is - who is getting hard hit financially as a result of this government shutdown, you - or they - may find this information helpful.

Many financial institutions are working with people to help them navigate this difficult situation. Check out the list and/or pass it on to someone else who may appreciate it: How Banks and Lenders Are Helping Workers Affected by the Government Shutdown.

No, You Can’t Spot the Wealthy Just by Looking at ‘Em

No, You Can't Spot the Wealthy Just by Looking at 'Em

Many people look wealthy and aren’t. They have, eat and wear only the “best.” Their clothing and belongings are always designer or brand names. They have the “coolest” and latest models of everything. And they tend to spend their money quite freely and extravagantly.

Then there are those who adorn themselves in the simplest clothing and invest in essential items. They practice modest behaviors overall and choose when and where to spend freely and extravagantly.  Yet, they actually DO have substantial wealth.

Often you wouldn’t know that many of the people you see are wealthy, because they don’t “show” it.

One of the clearest examples of this is former NYC mayor Michael Bloomberg. He’s a billionaire.

But while he was mayor, he was often seen eating hot dogs. As a billionaire, we “expect” him to eat only the “best” foods. But he loved hot dogs and didn’t care what anyone thought of him.

If we hadn’t known who he was, we would never have known a billionaire was buying hot dogs for lunch!

We’re used to a society that revels in “proving” we have money when we possess it. In fact, if wealthy people DON’T dress fancy or flashy, many of us label them “cheap” or other unflattering names. You KNOW I’m right!

Now don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying you have to live like a pauper and buy, wear and use boring and plain things all the time.

What I AM saying is that trying to “look wealthy” isn’t the way to go. Look at MC Hammer and Johnny Depp.

The behaviors typically associated with trying to look wealthy actually DEPLETE wealth.

Don’t let the opinions of others tell you how to conduct your life.

Whatever way you choose to show up in the world IS YOUR CHOICE (obviously, it goes without saying that this should still include showing up clean and smelling pleasant - not being sloppy, unkempt and/or smelly).

“Dressing (and living) to impress” others is the surest way to run yourself into debt.

And it is the surest way to waste money by being “extra,” when you could be USING that extra money you’re spending to build up your net worth and your bank account.

Dress - and live - to impress YOU first and the rest will naturally follow.

Define what wealth is for you. And what it isn’t. Then do that. Live that.

Like the quote says, “Too many people spend money they haven’t earned, to buy things they don’t want, to impress people they don’t like.” – Will Rogers

About Yolanda Ransom

Yolanda Ransom teaches professional Black women how to confidently master their money, so they can achieve all of their financial dreams. She is a financial educator, coach and CEO of Yolanda Ransom Consulting. She speaks and writes about personal finance and personal development. Find out more about Yolanda and her work at yolandaransom.com

Are You Getting Ready for the Next Recession?

Are You Getting Ready for the Next Recession?

Financial Tip of the Day:

When the economy is doing “good” that's when we feel least like saving. When the money is flowing in, we start to feel like it's never going to end. Maybe we’re raking in the overtime, or our businesses are doing extremely well. And that’s when it feels like the money spigot will continue forever. But, the truth is, when your money is “good” is the time when you MOST need to save.

Have you ever looked at celebrities or athletes who were making millions at one point in their lives, and then a few years later you read or hear about them and they’re broke? This is because they didn’t save for the rainy days.

No matter who we are, our income IS going to drop at some point in our lives. We may have to take a pay cut, lose our jobs, retire, or our businesses may not make as much profit.

THIS is when savings come to the rescue as a buffer. Savings can help you maintain a (relatively uninterrupted) pleasurable and secure quality of life at these times.

If you don't have any savings in place, NOW is the time to make it happen. Get your savings plan together and start saving REGULARLY.

History has shown that recessions occur naturally and consistently in our economy. Remember the last one? And as Black women, WE tend to get hit quickest and hardest when these happen.

Get ready for the next one.

Take Time to Seek the Proper Perspective Each Day

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So today is hump day! That mid-point in the week. Half of the week is done, and we have half left to power through. And sometimes we just need an extra boost to keep going, am I right? Every morning I take out time to get my mind right by reading various self-help and inspirational books before I start my day. This helps me seek and work to maintain a proper perspective each day.

While on vacation recently, I picked up this wonderful little book,“Nothing is worth more than this day.” While I bought it for just $5 (caught a sale), it has turned out to be PRICELESS in its value. I read about 10-20 pages everyday and it helps me SO much.

Let’s get really real for a moment, ok? The truth is, as Black women (and people), we face stressors, challenges and circumstances that are unique to us, which can often produce a sense of helplessness and hopelessness within us. And as a realist, I will never skip over reality or deny what’s really happening to make myself feel better. Nor will I do so with others.

But the fact is, reality is NOT a one dimensional thing. Just as there are “bad” realities, there are “good” realities too. I read inspirational books (like this one) to help me remember the good realities. Most of us are so trained to focus on the “bad” realities (and the news does a “great” job of making sure we hear about them), that we forget about the “good’ realities.

Like, how much abundance we enjoy EVERY DAY in small ways and big ways. Books like “Nothing is worth more than this day” help me retrain myself to focus on my big and small blessings. And to NOTICE the blessings that I am receiving at each moment and every day. This gives me the proper perspective.

By the way, I HIGHLY recommend this book for you. It's a quick read, and it’s pocket sized, so it’s easily portable. You can read a bunch of quotes each day (like I do) or carry it with you to pull out for a mental “pick-me-up” whenever you need it.  I loved it so much I got some for my family (you can get it on Amazon).

I’ll leave you with one of the quotes from the book for today’s proper perspective boost:

Dreams come true. Without that possibility, nature would not incite us to have them.” - John Updike

Happy Hump Day :)

Save & Protect – Not Lose – Your Money When Shopping Online

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Financial Tip of the Day:

I love shopping online.  I love it SO much that that I’d venture to say that I do it just about every week. And I’ve learned one important thing when doing it: ALWAYS use my credit card.

In fact, there are two situations especially, where I ALWAYS ALWAYS ALWAYS use a credit card while shopping online (and urge my clients to do the same):

  1.   When buying from a company for the first time
  2.  When buying something that costs more than $100

Using my credit card when shopping online has saved me tons of money. Not in the “traditional” sense of saving money. But in the way of helping me GET BACK my money when there’s an order error, or when I’m dealing with a vendor or company lacking in integrity.

For example, this past week I purchased an item from a company that I’ve never bought from before.  As is my policy, I used my credit card. When I got my order, the wrong item was shipped to me.  This particular company has a very STRICT no refund and returns policy. Except when it comes to shipping errors on their part. Which this is.

So far, when I’ve reached out to the company, they have been slow to respond. And when they did, their response was terse.  The bottom line is, if the company refuses to send me the correct order or return my money, I will be out more than $100. Honestly, I’m not big on losing money – ANY amount – but definitely not $100+. And I’m sure you’re not either. Right?

Needless to say, I don’t plan on ever buying from them again (based on the level of customer service they’ve exhibited so far).

But most of all, I am SO glad that I used my credit card to make the purchase.

Why, you ask?  

Because I know that if the company refuses to resolve the issue fairly, I can rest easy with the assurance that other resolution options are available to me through my credit card company. Such as, disputing the charge.

With a debit card, the money would have been immediately taken out of my account. And the likelihood of getting my money back or undoing the transaction DRAMATICALLY decreases (even if I disputed it with the bank).

Long story short: Save money by not losing hundreds (or more) when an order or service delivery goes sideways. Use your credit card when shopping online to protect your money – and get it back – when you rightfully should.

What about you? How do you usually pay for your online purchases? Have you had online shopping experiences where you lost money?

Make R&R A Priority In Wealth Building

Traveling on Vacation 7-6-18

Financial Tip of the Day

So, I’m back from my vacation this week. And I had a lovely time!

Although I must admit, there were times when I started thinking about my business and new ideas for my business and so on and so on. But then I’d stop myself to refocus on being in the moment, enjoying the company of my husband and loved ones and the excitement of being in a totally different environment.

I allowed myself to “waste time” on social media, read “stupid” online articles and watch TV, in between enjoying tasty meals, purposeless shopping, and sleeping in. It was fantastic!

I refused to do any work during my time off. And I strongly encourage you to do the same during your breaks.

The work habits of far too many of us lead to burnout and being drained. Contrary to popular opinion, being “on our grind” 24/7 does NOT lead to financial success (or happiness).

Recently, I read somewhere about some financially successful individuals who said that they more time they took off during the year, the MORE successful their businesses were. Let me tell you, that’s ALL I had to hear to decide to make time off a priority in my life. This concept flies in the face of overworked Americans, constantly working overtime to make money.

If you don’t believe this works, check out this article to see how important “unplugging” and rest and relaxation is for some of the most financially successful people we know:  7 Things Rich, Successful People Do Before Bed that You Can Do.

I’m all rested up and ready to return to doing the work I love. Full of new ideas and rejuvenated energy, I’m ready to dive into the projects I was working on before I left for vacation.

Until my next recharging break - which will be pretty soon :)

Focus on the TRUE Purpose of Saving Money…

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So, as someone who is a “natural saver,” just seeing the money in my savings accounts grow is enough to give me a warm and fuzzy feeling of satisfaction. It’s because deep down, savings signal to me that I have options. Ultimately, acquiring savings provides me with feelings of freedom and security concerning any “unexpecteds” that may arise.

However, as a financial educator/coach, I fully realize that many people are not motivated by this type of thing when it comes to saving. Quite a few of us are more motivated by the promise of what our money can give us NOW, rather than later. So, stashing it away and doing with less money now feels like a huge drag with no apparent rewards. The truth is, some of us are more “today centered” and some of are more “tomorrow centered.” And there is NOTHING WRONG with either approach - when they’re not used in the extreme.

The goal is to achieve a balance. Admittedly, this can be very tricky. In fact, overall, this balance is not being achieved. This recent piece shows that 65% of Americans have ZERO to very little money saved at all: 65% of Americans save little or nothing—and half could end up struggling in retirement

To me, this indicates that a big part of the problem is the perception of saving. Far too often, we focus on the “pain” of saving and “doing without” in the moment. The focus is on what we're NOT getting as opposed to what we ARE getting. In order to be motivated to CONSISTENTLY cut back in our everyday lives, we must have something to look forward to - both NOW and in the future - that makes it feel worthwhile. This is the only way we can tackle any goal that feels hard or unpleasant.

Even for me, the promise of saving for future reward alone is not enough. I too, want immediate pleasure out of my well saved money. For instance, after my trip last month to a business summit, I noticed that my luggage bag was fraying and some of the foam was coming out. My bag had accompanied me on many pleasant trips over the last few years. But it was time to go. So rather than trying to squeeze more trips out of it, I disposed of it when I got home.

Since I had another trip coming up, I needed to get a new one quickly. And let me tell you, when it comes to shopping, just call me the “Savings Queen.” Whenever I buy something, I always try to get the best deal (price-wise) possible. As a “frugal minded” spender, this is usually my top criteria (all my “frugal minded” people KNOW what I’m talkin’ bout).

But this time around, I decided that price would not be the top deciding factor. The longer I continue my life’s journey of living abundantly, the more I have come to focus on what makes me HAPPIEST as opposed to what costs me less.

Now I just want to make this totally clear: that DOES NOT mean I just throw price out the window. It simply means that figuring how much money I can keep in my wallet, when comparing buying one thing over another, is not my guiding principle anymore.   

Focus on thte TRUE Purpose of Saving Money....

I finally settled on this beautiful purple (my favorite color) two-piece luggage set (above). I LOVE it and I cannot wait to use on my next trip. I was comparing this set to a three-piece Black luggage set that cost almost $20 less. My last luggage bag was also Black. But every time I looked at the purple set, I felt so ‘“up” just looking at it. So that’s what I bought. Economically the Black set was a “better” value and would have put some savings into my pocket. But I have come to appreciate more and more that sometimes buying what you LOVE and paying a bit more for it - rather than paying less for something that you only LIKE - is the way to go.

The invaluable discipline of saving money is about learning how to cut back on the things right now that really don't matter that much, so that we can invest instead in the things that REALLY DO.

So, for me, buying “no-name” paper towels, foregoing brand name clothing (most of the time), and learning how to get by with a little less income right now in order to make mandatory contributions to my retirement account, are some of the things I am willing to cut back on in the present. This then frees up the money for me to buy the slightly more expensive luggage that makes me feel energized and stylish and brightens up my day – in the here and now.

The TRUE purpose of saving money in the present is to invest that money in what really matters. It's NOT to deny our current selves happiness and pleasure. The true purpose of saving money now is to make possible the present AND future things that give us the MOST happiness.  And isn’t that what saving money is REALLY all about?

What about you? Have you ever cut back on something that didn't mean very much to you so that you could save for/invest in something else that really did matter to you? I'd love to hear about it! 

About Yolanda Ransom

Yolanda Ransom teaches professional Black women how to confidently master their money, so they can achieve all of their financial dreams. She is a financial educator, coach and CEO of Yolanda Ransom Consulting. She speaks and writes about personal finance and personal development. Find out more about Yolanda and her work at yolandaransom.com

Good Weather & Our Dreams

Good Weather & Our Dreams

There’s nothing like beautiful weather to make you feel on top of the world, is there? After so many days of being cloudy and overcast, today is a PERFECT mix of sun and breeze. Just the way I love it! 💜
 
Weather like this makes me feel more hopeful about my today AND my future. But the truth is, no matter what the weather is, today and tomorrow are always bright for me – and you –  when we invest in our dreams.
 
So, be sure to take out some time to soak up the beautiful weather today (at least for a little while) in your busy day. Allow yourself time to daydream about your life and what you want most out of it.
 
Then when you’re done, use the energy and momentum of the beautiful weather and your feelings of abundance to take an important step towards your dream.
 
Promise yourself to take one solid action towards your biggest dream by the end of the day. That’s what I’m doing.
 
Because, dreaming + action = dream realized. Enjoy your day! 😊

My Summit Experience

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Last week I attended the Black Enterprise Entrepreneurs Summit and it was meaningful for me in so many ways. As a new business owner, I felt like it was important for me to attend the event. Several reasons were really clear to me, while others were not. They weren’t all spelled out to me, but I knew intuitively that this was an investment I should make in myself.

One reason that I was clear on was that it was an opportunity to meet fellow entrepreneurs that I would not meet under normal circumstances. And sure enough, I had the pleasure of meeting several amazing business owners, including this vibrant and enthusiastic sista named Demarra Gardner. She offers business and wellness retreats for Black women. Check her out at https://www.blackwomenaboutbiz.com/

I met many other business owners, gained life-changing inspiration, new business information and enjoyed some delicious meals during my trip. You can see my trip pics album on Facebook: My Black Enterprise Summit Experience.

(Make sure to follow me on Facebook while you’re there!)

The Heavy Burden of Financial Stress & Hope for Relief

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Financial Tip of the Day

Financial stress is a very real and big part of life for most of us. I’ve often commented to others that I think the top 2 things that compete for our focus and concentration each day are love and money. But I believe that it is even more safe to say that for the huge majority of us, money is the number # 1 thing on our minds most of the time. Would you agree?

It seems that the further away we are from where we want to be financially, the greater our stress level tends to be. As this article explains, 1 In 4 Americans Have PTSD-Like Symptoms From Financial Stress, some of us struggling so much with our finances that we are exhibiting symptoms similar to those with PTSD.

This is very heartbreaking to me. However, I agree with the author’s statement that it’s surprising that the number of those identified as suffering from this type of stress isn’t higher. I’ve seen firsthand the bone crushing stress that debt and ongoing financial problems has had upon clients.

What I find hopeful about the article is that it illuminates the problem, providing an opportunity to seek a solution. Shame over money is one of the biggest things that causes us to hide from others and ourselves. But it doesn’t work. And it’s not necessary.

There are MANY resources, tools and types of help available for dealing with financial stress. Therapy, counseling and coaching are valuable options. There is no formula that will work for each person, so figuring out your best combination of helpful resources will be a very personal, yet worthwhile, journey.

Even if you’re not feeling stress at the level described in this piece, financial stress of ANY type steals happiness and kills dreams. Be sure to take care of you.

Take the steps you need to get the emotional, spiritual and financial help you need and deserve. You and your dreams are so worth it. 💜

Taking the Long Route to Our Financial Dreams...

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Financial Tip of the Day

It’s Monday, and the start of the week can be a very PAINFUL time. Especially if we’re doing work that we hate or KNOW is not our true purpose. That was true for me for MANY years. But the truth is, sometimes we need to continue where we are so that we can build up the money, experience and/or skills to pursue what we REALLY want. And there’s NO shame in that.

No matter what kind of work we do, if we see it as an opportunity to move us closer to our life’s vision, it can make it possible to actually appreciate that job. I do admit this is easier SAID than done. But focusing on our vision can help us rise above our present situation. And it can also motivate us to do our best until we get to where we truly want to be. That is what I did in many of my jobs. Now I’m thankfully working at my own business doing what I love and what I believe I was MADE to do.  

So, as Tupac said, “Keep ya head up,” and remember the financial dreams that you’re building for yourself and your loved ones. We WILL get there – if we stay focused and work hard, no matter the job. Sometimes we just have to take the long route.

Winning Money Habits…

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Financial Tip of the Day

I located this fabulous piece chock full of excellent money tips and wanted to share it. These tips so resonate with my own principles. Practice. And enjoy the increased financial freedom that they bring... 5 Old-School Money Habits You Should Start Using Today:

P.S. - Make sure that you NEVER miss the Financial Tip of the Day here: http://eepurl.com/c2D_Sz