Posts tagged "Courtney Hale"

Learn From My Pain!

This morning – as I maneuvered between rooms, getting ready for work – I heard the email notification from my phone – and because I have become slave to the aging iphone 4 – I run every time it calls out to me, anticipating good news regarding Knowledge Bank or correspondence regarding my recent job search. Nothing makes a day start better than a good-news email at 7:30 in the morning. Consequently, nothing makes a day start worse than a bad-news email at 7:30 in the morning. But because I can sometimes be over confident -there’s a little foreshadowing here – I always assume my inbox bears good news, but this morning would be different.

At 7:30 in the morning – before normal business hours – I received an email stating that after much consideration, another candidate had been selected for the position I had interviewed for 22 hours and 45 minutes ago. When I read the email, I immediately had 3 thoughts:

1. Who could have been a better candidate than me?_XCL2986

2. How can “much” consideration be given in 22 hours and 45 minutes?

3. They probably sent this email to the wrong person. I’ll wait for the apology to come later


I went ahead to work like every other day. At the exact moment I’m typing this sentence, it’s been 7 hours and and 15 minutes since I received the “mistakenly sent” rejection email and I have yet to receive the apology email. This leads me to one conclusion. It’s time to swallow the hard pill and accept the fact that I’m not getting the job.

Thankfully, I’m still employed with what my parent’s generation would consider “a good job”, but I still felt this was a perfect “you gone learn today” moment for the CORE readers. So, here’s your lesson…

There are approximately 27 million Americans who are currently unemployed in this country. A significant number of these are teens. Additionally, there are millions of other people who are underemployed. How would you feel if you were the best dancer in school, yet you’re selected to play the tambourine instead of selected as a majorette? That’s almost what it’s like to be underemployed.

So, as we approach the summer break and teens across the country begin applying for summer jobs, I want to share a few lessons that can be learned from the brashness and stupidity I displayed prior to and during my interview.

Lesson 1. Give yourself some “just in case something happens” time.

When reading the second paragraph of this post, did you ever wonder why I was being so exact with the time? The time is branded into my memory because I was 15 minutes late for my interview. Being on time is rule #1 when preparing for interviews and I understood this 16 years ago when I applied for my first job. Unfortunately, there was a massive concoction of failure that added to my tardiness, but it’s still my responsibility to allot enough “just in case something happens” time so that I am punctual for my first impression. Just like we save money for those “just in case” moments, plan on giving yourself “just in case” time when preparing for an interview. Normally 15-30 minutes is sufficient depending on where you live. Yesterday I sure needed fifteen. smh

Lesson 2. Who you talking to?

Have you ever gotten a little sassy with your mom and she hits you with the “who you talking to” response? Think of mom the next time you are preparing for your interview. Not because your interviewer “brought you into this world so they’ll take you out”, but because it’s important to understand the position, personality and temperament of the person that’s interviewing you. The person conducting my interview, was the person that I would be reporting to if I was awarded the job. He wasn’t a big personality guy. He was very mild mannered. He didn’t seem to be into a lot of small talk (maybe because we were short 15 minutes.) But, I’m sort of the opposite. I view the interview as my time to shine (because it is). I want the interviewer to know that I am confident in my skills and abilities and I have no problem verbalizing that. Problem is – and this I can’t prove – I think I may have been too enthusiastic and maybe too ambitious for him. I don’t believe in being someone you are not, but I do believe there were some nonverbal cues from the interviewer that were indications for me to tone it down a bit.

3. Be Yourself

Your personality is just as important to your viability for a new job as your experience and skills. Let the hiring manager know who they maybe hiring during the interview. You want a company to accept you for who you are. Now, I’m not condoning the neck tattoo or wearing purple lipstick to the interview. However, I am condoning the vibrant personality associated with the person that wears purple lipstick on the weekends.

4. Watch Your Mouth!

The interview is a time for you to sell yourself, sell your skills, sell your strengths and sell your experiences. I think I sold myself straight down the river. I sold myself, I sold my skills, I sold my strengths and I sold my experiences. I should have stopped there. I went ahead and sold my ambition too. Now in some circumstances this can be perceived as an asset to the interviewer. But you have to be conscience of “who you talking to”? The guy who was interviewing me had recently lost 3 members of his team. He had only been in his role for 5 months. So the last thing he needed to hear from me was how this position would help further my career. It’s important to know when to hit the brakes. If that job was at an intersection, I cruised straight through the red light.

There isn’t an exact science to perfecting every interview. Truth is you could follow every lesson in this article and still not land the next gig you interview for. But as you’ve learned in some of my other posts, perseverance is a key ingredient to success in life and just because you’ve
heard 2 no’s doesn’t mean your next interview won’t end in a yes.


Let’s Get Personal!

Check out Courtney Hale as he schools you on Personal Capital—–>

PersonalCapital from Courtney Hale on Vimeo.

Meet Courtney Hale!


Feature, Latest | by — September 16, 2013

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Wish you had advice on how to not have barely $2 left from your allowance or part time job each week? Or better yet find out how your pockets & bank account can be full by the time you enter the real world? Courtney Hale to the rescue!

Hailing from Nashville, TN, Courtney graduated with Bachelors of Business Administration in Economics and Finance from Tennessee State University and a Master of Business Administration degree from Lipscomb University. He went on to create his empowering organization of The Knowledge Bank.

The Knowledge Bank offers a multifaceted workshop series for youth 13-18 years old, centered on financial education, financial exposure and healthy practices. Courtney is also one of C.O.R.E Mag’s amazing finance contributors.

Let’s get to know Courtney a little better…

When did you first launch The Knowledge Bank?
I had carried around the idea of a starting a financial literacy program for 4 years before I actually launched Knowledge Bank in 2012. I ran the concept across my smart friends for a couple years and eventually heard “you’re on to something” so many times that I had to put my thoughts into action.
How & why was the idea of The Knowledge Bank developed and what is the mission behind the movement?
I believe each person has a daily routine that is representative of who they are. The things we eat, our sense of style, the music we listen to, where we live and all the things we entertain embody who we are. That’s all the everyday stuff. However, I believe our character is defined by how we respond during infrequent and uncommon occurences. Five years ago, I experienced some infrequent and uncommon occurrences that would, not only put my character to test, but also become the foundation for why the Knowledge Bank was created.
Around 2008 I heard two pretty depressing stories. In the first story, a client of my mentor had inherrited somewhere in the neighborhood of $1 million, only to be completely broke a little over a year later. The second story involved a woman who had won the lottery, only to have the bank foreclose on her home a little over a year later. I had always wondered what made people make such catastrophic financial decisions? Didn’t they know any better? The fact is they didn’t know any better. No one had ever taught them the importance of budgeting or living below their means. Shortly after hearing these stories, newspaper and tv headlines were plastered with words like “financial crisis”, “foreclosure”, “layoffs” and “recession”. Many experts blamed the financial crisis on greedy financial institutions who had issued bad loans and over valued property. I believed financially illiterate consumers who had signed for loans they didn’t understand should share in some of the blame.
So there I was, mentally in the middle of one of these infrequent and uncommon occurrences. Should I be an unconcerned passer-byer, equipped with the education, skills and talent to persevere in the mist of these dysfunctional values and economic volatility? Or do I use my education and experience to keep this type of history from repeating itself? I chose the latter. So now I educate the next generation on how to develop healthy financial values to avoid the mistakes that plagued generations before them.
Share with the C.O.R.E Readers some of the activities that your organization has done in the past and any future events?
This summer was pretty exciting. We concluded our second summer workshop series. The highlight of the summer was Savings Account Day where the kids deposited a total of $250 into their savings accounts. We hosted several workshops for different community organizations, summer programs and churches.We were also given the opportunity to offer our program through the Nashville Educaiton Commission, giving parents another opportunity to introduce their kids to the world of personal finance. We have a couple pretty big partnerships in the works that I cannot mention yet, but expect bigger things this fall.
We tend to pull characteristics from others in our lives or from people we admire, who inspires you and why?
First, my wife Tia is a huge inspiration in my life. She may be the toughest person I know male or female. She never backs down from a challenge, no obstacle is too big for her and she believes she can accomplish anything. A woman like that, who looks as good as she does, makes a man want to be better, even when you’re already good.
The second person who inspires me is one of my line brothers, Isaac Addae. Isaac is the epitome of all the virtues that our parents want us to possess. He’s the type of guy that could be President of the United States, dealing with pressing world issues, but will take your call in the oval office to answer questions about the best app for data storage back up. There is a saying, “Life isn’t a sprint, it’s a marathon.” If that’s the case, Isaac is my pace setter.
Lastly, all my friends inspire me. I do not have any friends who are not committed to being better at life. I believe you are the average of all your friends, therefore I had to find friends that would push me to be better than average. Remember iron sharpens iron.
If you had to give 3 pieces of advice to teens when it comes to dealing with money, what would they be?
1. Love yourself. The root of many bad financial decisions is the pursuit of happiness through things. Will Smith said, “Too many people spend money they haven’t earned, to buy things they don’t want, to impress people they don’t like.” Clothes, cars, instagram followers and money do not make you, but it’s imperative to figure out what does.
2. Start career planning now. Knowledge Bank has 4 core values: Work, Budget, Save and Give. Without “Work” the other core values aren’t possible. The biggest mistake 99.9% of students are making when determining their career path is waiting too late. The job market is more competitive now than it has every been. The faster a student can identify what they want to do with their professional life, the sooner they can work on developing the skills necessary to thrive in that career.The second largest mistake students are making is assuming they have to work for someone else, but I’ll save that for a different interview.
3. Don’t spend all of your money. As an adult, it is imperative to develop a systematic approach to saving. The earlier we can develop the habit of saving, the better.
C.O.R.E Mag is all about Empowerment. What does empowerment mean to you?
When I see the word empowerment I think about making someone better. In the book “Letters to a Young Brother”, Hill Harper makes the analogy that young people are to new model vehicles, while older people are the older models of the same vehicle. When I think about empowering others, I see myself working on an assembly line building this person to be stronger, faster, more agile and better looking than me.
Where do you see The Knowledge Bank in 5 years?
In 5 years I see Knowledge Bank being more of a culture than an organization. I’ve thrown around ideas of a tshirt line and sponsoring professional athletes to endorse our mission, so maybe I can execute those ideas in the next five years. I want Knowledge Bank to be the brand associated with financial literacy in Middle Tennessee, providing enrichment opportunities for all Middle Tennessee students.I would also like to sell our curriculum in kits similar to what Dave Ramesy has done with Financial Peace University. And maybe branch out to have Knowledge Bank (fill in the blank with the city of your choice).
Fun Faves- Music artist? Food? Song? Favorite Music: All things Jay Z and the occasional backpack rapper like Drake, J.Cole or Kendrick Lamar (although I don’t think he is categorized as a backpacker)
Favorite Food: Eggs!!! I love eggs in all its many forms; scrambled, quiche, fritter, omelette, with steak, on a burger. I’m sure you get it by now.
Celeb Crush? The easy answer is Beyonce. But to be different I would say the character Jessica Pearson (Gina Torres) on the show Suits aired on the USA network. The only thing sexier than a black, female, managing partner of the largest law firm in NYC is my wife (she made me say that.)
Quote? “Nothing wrong wit my aim, just had to change my target.” – Jay Z
Check out more about Courtney here..

Smart Is The New Gangsta


Finance, Latest | by — August 19, 2013

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Long before it was used as an adjective to describe rap music or before Denzel’s depiction of Frank Lucas in the movie, America has had a running obsession with gangsters. Names like John Dillinger, Al Capone, Whitey Bulger and Demetrius Flenory will infamously be a part of American history. I believe American fascination with gangsters stems from three things; the adoration of rags to riches stories, our subconscious appeal to rebellion and American proclivity to violence, dating back as far as the philosophy of manifest destiny.

courtney2Today, the American gangster is no longer a machine gun toting bank robber or a drug kingpin. The most notorious criminals today hide under the auspices of politicians and financial professionals who deviously work to alter the fabric or our country for their own financial gain. Just as our criminals are smarter, it is time for our students to become smarter as well. Besides, if you are going to protect your rights in the land of opportunity, education is going to be paramount. The game is far more sophisticated than it used to be and is evidence as to why the number of scholarship offers is more important than the number of instagram followers.

The process of achieving happiness and success in this country requires intelligence, fearlessness, and heart; Characteristics that all notorious gangstas possess. Problem is, today, being a criminal doesn’t have the same payoff it once did. Think about it. What are the benefits to being a gangsta? Money or, better yet, fast money? Living on the edge? We live in the richest country in the world with more self-made millionaires than anywhere you can Google. If it’s fast money you desire, start a website that allows people to link up with friends, post status updates and like pictures. Then go public (the process of selling ownership stakes in a company to the public) and become a billionaire before age 25. Or better yet, start a blogging platform which you can later sell to Yahoo for $1.1 billion at age 27. To me, that’s fast money! For the thrill seeker, if you want to take risks, start a business. It’s a process filled with unexpected realities and the potential of lucrative rewards that don’t require looking over your shoulder or keeping an attorney on retainer.

I get the infatuation with gangstas. Their stories are interesting, the music is bumpin and the movies are classics. Although we live in the greatest country in the world, even it was established by treasonous murders. Rapper Plies put a verse in a song that says, “I don’t know if 25 years is worth 2 years of ballin.” It’s definitely not and anyone who argues the math struggles with algebra, doesn’t know the true value of ‘X’ and didn’t carry the 1. To paraphrase def poet Tommy Bottoms, “America was designed for the get rich, there are a million and one ways to get paid and most of them are legit.” In, 2013 smart is the new gangsta and gangsta, figuratively speaking, looks a lot more like Steve Erkel than Big Meech or Larry Hoover. I understand that we are not all gonna be like Dr. Heathcliff Huxtable, so don’t stop hustlin, just change your hustle.

The message in this article is inspired by positive propaganda, tshirt design company, Dangerous Negro. Check out their many educational and inspiring designs at

-Courtney Hale

“What Ya Workin Wit?”

You often see me refer to The Knowledge Bank’s Four Core Values of sound money management which are Work, Budget, Save and Give. In most of my writings and workshops, the middle two values, “Budget” and “Save”, get most of the attention, but today I finally have an opportunity to focus on the core value “Work.” Did you know that many females struggle balancing their careers and personal life while battling issues like salary inequality and corporate discrimination? According to Bloomberg Businessweek, women make 82% of what men make. In addition, women often have many internal battles about whether or not they are capable of fulfilling their womanly duties while working a fulltime job. The relationship between women and their careers is more comparable to algebra than to arithmetic. There are many factors that females must consider as they prioritize the value of working in their lives. The struggle hit mainstream media outlets a couple weeks ago with the announcement by Yahoo CEO, Marissa Mayer that the company would ban telecommuting, which allows people to work from home as opposed to driving into the office.  Telecommuting is convenient for women because it allows them to balance their commitments at home with their commitments at work. Pair the controversial decision at Yahoo with the release of “Lean In”, the book by Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg, the first half of March has been an awakening of the feminist movement. So what’s the problem?

_XCL2986“Lean In” is Sandberg’s personal testimony about how she climbed the corporate ladder and how she overcame the personal insecurities of being a woman in the male-dominated tech industry. Mayer and Sandberg, being executives at two of the most recognizable companies in America, have the platform to address the issues of inequality and discrimination against women in corporate America, but many critics feel that the two have not used their positions to the benefit of the plight of women. Critics believe that Mayer set, not only women, but corporate culture back 10 years by banning telecommuting. Sandberg is criticized for almost suggesting that women’s perceived inferiority in the workplace is because of their lack of effort and focus. I bet you never thought working could be so complicated past the normal strains of the job itself. But don’t fret. I’m going to give you some advice that should alleviate some of the pressure that females face as they make tough personal and career decisions.

Much of the drama related to the issues above relate to the predetermined notions of what women should be and what women should do once they get in positions of power. It’s nothing but adult peer pressure. You deal with adult peer pressure the same ways you deal with peer pressure as a child. Know who you are, be true to yourself and make your own choices. Set goals and identify your likes and dislikes. Figure out how your career aspirations affect the goals you have set for your personal life. Some women are ok with working 40 hours a week and not having a husband or kids. Some women are ok with working 40 hours a week with a husband and kids, relying on outside help from family members or nannies to assist with the duties at home. Some women don’t want to work at all and allow their husbands to support the family financially. All three of these scenarios are acceptable on the condition that they align with your personal values. Don’t ever let anyone affect your ability to make your paper. If it’s legit and admirable, keep putting in “Work” because budgeting, saving and giving can’t happen on their own.

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Graduated Success


Finance, Latest | by — January 14, 2013

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It’s January 2013, and for millions of high school seniors across the country THINGS JUST GOT REAL!!! It’s time to make some really tough decisions, one of which is determining whether to attend college. I understand the pressure that comes along with a decision of this magnitude, but if I’m answering the question, “Should I go to college?” on a multiple choice test, I’m selecting the last bubble that says “Not enough information.” There are several factors that should be considered when determining if college is the best move immediately after high school, but deciding how to finance an education is the most important factor.

According to, 66%of undergraduates financed their education with loans. The average student loan debt after graduation is approximately $23,000. And considering that the average starting salary for_XCL2986 college graduates in 2012 was $44,000, student loan debt could be a major strain on your finances as a young professional. Imagine working everyday to only earn 80% of your salary. If that sounds like a crappy deal, it is. So here are a few tips to help you avoid or reduce the need for student loans, so that when you graduate college you will be working for 100% of your money, minus taxes of course, but that’s a conversation for another day:
Be the best high school student you can be. Work for a 3.5 GPA or better. Participate in as many sports and extracurricular activities as possible because universities covet well rounded students and show their appreciation by offering them full scholarships. Student loans are not a problem for those who do not have them.

Prior to beginning the collegiate application process, know the field of study you want to pursue.
It is important to determine what your academic focus will be before choosing the school you want to attend. Many programs have funding to offer scholarships to students interested in certain disciplines. For example, the College of Business at a local state college may have scholarships available for students majoring in Supply Chain Management.

Consider an in-state school. According to The Department of Education, in-state tuition can save a student $10,000 a year. The cost effectiveness of college needs to be more important than the temptation to move away from home.

Understand that a 4-year college does not always translate to more money. Without scholarships or grants, it is possible that attending a four-year college may only translate to additional debt with no corresponding increase in take home pay.  Community college is a viable option for students who are undecided on a college major. Community colleges are less expensive than four-year colleges and they allow students to complete their core coursework.

Be cautious of “for-profit” colleges and vocational schools. According to the Department of Education, the average cost for a degree of less than two years at a for-profit school is $11,480 compared to $2,451 at a public school. The integrity of these schools is constantly in question as there have been concerns regarding the disclosure of costs and accreditation concerns.

Preparing for life after high school can be a stressful process. It is important to fight through the pressure and make non-emotional, well researched decisions. The ultimate goal of a college education is to help you land the job of your dreams or, at a minimum, just land a job. Don’t limit your financial potential by becoming dependent on debt whether it be for your education or otherwise. Being debt free is liberating and it is comforting to know that you can work, earn and keep 100% of your money, kind of…

-Courtney Hale

When There’s A Will There’s A Way


Finance, Latest | by — August 20, 2012

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Recently, while updating family and friends on the progress of The Knowledge Bank, I was flabbergasted by a statement made by a man who I have always admired for being a progressive thinker in regards to personal finance as it relates to black people. For the sake of this article, I will refer to him as Rob. Rob is 80 years old and was a college graduate during a time where graduating from college involved a lot more than four years and earning passing grades. The topic of our conversation turned awry for me while discussing the indecent behavior displayed by members of the Jackson family over Michael’s estate or the money and property he left behind after his death. Rob stated that the Jackson’s behavior is exactly why you should not leave money to your family after you die. To make matters worse, he added that he did not have any life insurance that would cover more than the cost of his burial. I about fell out of my chair!!! I felt like I had been hoodwinked, bamboozled, led a stray, run a muck. Who was this person that just made these absurd comments? It couldn’t be the man who I had admired for his professionalism and his intelligence? Despite my disbelief, it was.

Prior to the conversation with my family and friends that included Rob, I had been disturbed by a statistic I read regarding the wealth disparity between whites and blacks. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, on average, Caucasians have 22 times more wealth than blacks. The usual suspects that contribute to the wealth disparity are underwhelming statistics related to the education, the employment and the income of African Americans. I would like to add the failure to prioritize leaving an inheritance to future generations to the list of contributors to the wealth disparity.

An inheritance is the passing of assets including property, titles, debts, rights and obligations to love ones upon the death of an individual. A “will” is the legal document created by the deceased that officially identifies the individuals who should receive certain assets. For example, after T.I. dies, his money, cars and jewelry more than likely will be distributed amongst Messiah, King, Domani, Major and possibly one of the OMG girls if they are all included in his will. Inheritance statistics for the U.S. population are dismal across all demographic profiles. According to the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland, only about 10% of Americans receive money due to the death of a family member. The average inherited amount is $64,000, not nearly enough money to build generational wealth. In fact, only 1.6% of the population receives more than $100,000 after the death of a family member. Ironically, despite the problematic statistics mentioned previously, black families have one advantage over other ethnicities in their potential to leave an inheritance.

African American families are more likely to have life insurance than any other race in the U.S. Most African American families feel that life insurance is their only means of leaving an inheritance to their love ones. Unfortunately, African Americans are also the biggest consumers/spenders in the country, so insurance money like our pay checks doesn’t last very long. What can last for a long time is $469,000. Where does this figure come from? If a person is left $64,000 after the death of a family member, invest the money earning 8% interest, never touch it and pass the earnings down one generation, over a 25 year period, that $64,000 will be worth approximately $469,000. If that $469,000 is reinvested under the previously mentioned terms, the initial $64,000 will be worth over $3.4 million. Three million dollars, managed properly, changes the scope of the financial health of a family.
You may be thinking that 50 years is a very long time and it is, but remember this is money a family can earn without doing anything outside of periodically evaluating their investment strategies over time. I challenge our readers to be the person responsible for generating wealth in your families. Encourage your parents to develop a will. If you really want to be progressive, tell your parents they need to consult an attorney to create a living trust. A living trust protects your inheritance from a lot of taxes and fees you may incur while going through the legal process to obtain your funds. Building wealth requires patience, time and a commitment by someone in your family. You can be that person.
So what did we learn?

Leaving money for future generations is very admirable.
Life insurance is a good instrument to build wealth for future generations.
Your parents should create a will or living trust ASAP.
Your parents should be saving money and/or have a life insurance policy with you as the beneficiary.
Do your research on the people you look up to.

C Hale