Posts tagged "Teen Finance"

Check Your Pockets!


Finance, Latest | by — July 1, 2013

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Being smart about your funds is just as important as sporting the hottest fashion trends out right now. Hmmm… think about it. If you don’t know how to save then how are you going to buy those hot shoes for your bestie’s party next month? Your parents are going to start giving you that good ol’ side eye the next time you kindly reach your hand out for more money. So hey, before they even give you the “You need to start being responsible” speech beat them to the punch and watch your account grow! Ok, ok enough of the speech let’s see if you are a Budgetnista or not?

Closet Check!– Yes, I know the feeling of fresh clothes in your closet is somewhat addictive! You can feel yourself wanting to rip off save1the tags as soon as you pull it out the bag and find the perfect place to debut the new piece to your clothes collection. BUT ask yourself how often do you buy new clothes? And where are your fave stores? Do you give yourself a spending limit before going out? Oh how I know you love all these questions I’m tossing your way! Just remember that giving yourself a limit of how often and what you spend can save you extra money ! And even if you are a fan of boutiques or stores like H&M . Make sure your wardrobe is a mixture of higher, lower and thrift pieces!

A Foodie??– You’re telling yourself look, I’m not in 2nd grade anymore and packing lunches are the most annoying thing in the world. I know it seems like all 5 minutes of you preparing a meal the next day is life threatening but its not. How many times do you go to the drive thru after summer school? Or how many McGriddle wrappers are in the back of your car? Setting aside 10 extra minutes to eat breakfast at home or throwing a snack for after school will save up! You’ve probably spent 10 bucks in just vending machines already…Think about it.

Small Temptations– Well, you know that they say it’s not the big problems that drive you crazy but the small bumps in the road that will drive you up the wall. Well, it’s same for your budget. Is it easy for you to get sidetracked? Do you make a lot of thoughtless purchases? It’s not always the huge purchases that makes your account slowly dwindle, it’s more of your small daily temptations that add up! From the Redbox station to the Passion Fruit Ice Tea from star bucks to the new nail polish you snagged at the drugstore. If you really added up a week of your random buys, you just saved up for your prom shoes…Yes, it’s true.

Summer Steals!


Finance, Latest | by — June 3, 2013

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Just because summer is here doesn’t mean you have to break the bank to stay in style! Check out these summer trends you can snag without spending your entire first check from your summer gig!


Fringe is in! Snag this trendy fringe bikini for only $14.99 at Target


There’s nothing better than jazzing up your ears this Summer! Icing- $8.50


Give your nails a treat for only 8  bucks with the hottest color ‘Naughty Nautical’ from Essie!

I’m The Business!

Two weekends ago I had the pleasure of speaking to a group of young ladies about the importance of establishing healthy financial behaviors as young women. Here’s the rundown of my presentation:

  • I advised the group to mimic the professional behaviors of women like Beyonce, Michelle Obama and Oprah who have all excelled in their respective careers while maintaining admirable public images.

  • We discussed the consequences of debt and emphasized the importance of saving money.

  • The most impactful advice I gave the girls was to “Ball on a Budget.”

As you all know by now, budgeting is a topic that I am super passionate about. Too often people stretch themselves thin to meet an irrelevant standard or impress people that do not matter.  It is extremely important to stay in your lane when managing your personal finances. I thought my “Ballin on a Budget” explanation was pretty thorough until I received a question at the end of my presentation. A young lady asked, “How do I ball on a budget with no job?”  It was a very good question considering all the girls participating in the workshop were younger than the legal working age. Plus, you must have income in order to budget and ball. My answer was simple, I told the girls to change their perception of what “working” means.

Most people think about working as being an employee. An employee is hired by a company to perform YEWPiccertain duties, during specified hours of the day and in return, the employee is paid a set amount of money at the end of their pay period. There is a less common approach to working referred to as entrepreneurship. Entrepreneurship is when person organizes and operates a business that they started. They become their own boss and assume all responsibilities related to running their company. Instead of being hired by a company, an entrepreneur does the hiring. They are the BAWSE!! Entrepreneurs make their own work schedules and they have the potential to earn more money than an “employee” who works for someone else.  Although the potential rewards of being an entrepreneur exceed those of being a traditional employee, there are some risks to consider when pursuing an entrepreneurial career. In the early stages of your business, income (if any) can fluctuate. Entrepreneurs encounter a lot of rejection and they work long hours. It is the individual’s responsibility to determine if the risks are worth the reward. If you are a high risk, high reward type of individual, keep in mind that entrepreneurs make up the biggest segment of millionaires in the U.S., whereas entertainers account for less than 1% of all millionaires.

So back to the question, how can you ball on a budget without a job? Make a job! Ok, ok. I can hear your grumbling questions over the internet, “Well how do I make a job?” Here are 8 tips to pursuing your first entrepreneurial venture:


  1. Write down your talents.

  2. Write down your strengths.

  3. Write down your hobbies.

  4. Write down the things that other people like about you.

  5. Review your list.

  6. Circle the things on the list that people are willing to pay for.

  7. Put a box around the item that has the most potential.

  8. Develop a strategy to launch your business around the item in #7.

Once you put #8 into action, you will have become an entrepreneur. And don’t think you are too young. There are thousands of youth across the world that have already started businesses who are younger than you. Here are a few:


This is Zoe Damacela, she is the CEO of Zoe Damacela Apparel. She started her first
business at 8 years old.


This is Thomas Suarez, a 14 year old app developer and founder of CarrotCorp, a
company that designs games for mobile devices.


This is Leanna Archer. She started her company, Leanna’s Inc at 9 years old.
Leanna’s Inc makes all natural hair care products.

There is an old saying,”If you do what you love, you will never work a day in your life.” I want our
readers to never work a day in their lives. Working for other people is so 1990. Develop your strengths
and talents early while you don’t have anything to loose. The older you get, the harder it gets to
become an entrepreneur. So get started now. You do not have to be a businesswoman, you can BE the

…then you can really Ball on a Budget

-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

Time To Chow Down!


Finance, Latest | by — January 7, 2013

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5…4…3…2…1…Take off! That is what the beginning g of your day feels like until you get to unwind from a hard day of school and practice late in the evening. Going nonstop is not only exhausting but can tear down your health if you’re not eating right. You’re on a budget and need some healthy snacks to keep your fuel going to get through to two tests and cheerleading practice. No, worries check out 5 healthy snacks for under 5 dollars…

Fruit– Yes, fruits are one of the healthiest and affordable snacks to throw in your bag and go. Either buying a bag of apples or a bunch of grapes at the beginning of the week or just buying a new fruit daily in the café, they are both filling and you do not have to worry about going over your budget for it.- $0.99- $2.99

Smoothies– Ok, so fruit is a little too boring for your taste! Ok so time to blend! Just gather either 2 or 3 of your fave fruits,veggies,ice and create a smoothie. You would be surprised how full you would get off a good ole’ smoothie. $4.50-$5.00

Nuts- Walnuts, Peanuts, cashews…all you can snag under 5 dollars. Toss a bag or a can in your bag and you will make it through the day without starving but will are keep your heart ,hair and nails healthy. Also they contain tons of protein. – $0.99-$3.50

Whole Wheat Pretzels- Time to start crunching and grab for the bag of pretzels! Pretzels not only fit in you price range but whole grain pretzels add fiber to your diet. Fiber is important for a healthy digestive system, and most teens don’t get enough -$1.50-$4.00

Trail Mix-If you need a mixture grab or even make trailmix. You can just blend one cup each of two different whole grain cereals, like whole grain Cheerios and Shredded Wheat. Add one cup of mixed nuts and one-half cup of raisins or other dried fruits-$3.50- $5.00

-C.O.R.E Family

Overcoming Holiday Hangover

By the time you read this article, you will have realized that you are:

  1. 15lbs heavier as a result of your binge holiday feasting and
  2. Broke as a result of being twenty-five dollar’d to death from buying Christmas gifts for your loved ones.

Do not be alarmed. You along, with millions of other Americans, are showing the symptoms of the Holiday Hangover. The initial symptoms are physical and financial regret, followed by a week of strategic planning for preventing being in the same position again at this time next year. The Holiday Hangover is like a virus; it cannot be treated, it has to run its course and you can only hope you don’t catch it again. The key to building immunity against this virus lies within the strategic plan you set for yourself next year.
To the over-simplistic mind, this sounds like I am encouraging New Year’s resolutions, but I am not. New Year’s resolutions are so 2012. Besides, depending on whom you ask, 65-90% of Americans break their New Year’s resolutions. So, to paraphrase one of my favorite quotes, if you want something you’ve never had, you must do something you’ve never done. This year we will simply call them GOALS. Now that’s a novel idea!! Establishing goals doesn’t have the same commercial appeal as setting New Year’s resolutions, but it is much more effective.
There is a strategy to setting goals whether it’s for the New Year or related to your personal growth. When setting goals, be sure they meet the SMART criteria.

S – First, your goal should be “Specific”. Goals should be straightforward and should specify what you intend to achieve. Your goal should be well defined.

M – Next, you want your goal to be “Measureable”. If you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it. Establish concrete criteria for measuring progress toward the attainment of each goal you set.

A – Your goal needs to be “Attainable”. When identifying a goal, it needs to be something you can
realistically accomplish. If you set goals that are too far out of reach, you probably won’t fully commit to working towards them.

R – Be sure your goal is “Relevant”. This term stresses the importance of choosing goals that matter. A
relevant goal can answer yes to these questions: Does this seem worthwhile? Is this the right time? Does this match your other efforts and needs? Are you the right person?

T – Lastly, it is important to establish a timeframe for your goals. Setting a time limit for your
goals gives you a clear target to work towards. If you don’t set a timeframe, the commitment can be too vague. Achieving the goal tends not to happen because you feel you can start at any time. Without a time limit, there’s no urgency to start taking action now.

At the end of every year, millions of people vow that the next year they will be smaller, richer, smarter and braver.  But somewhere around March, 65-90% of people lose their motivation and by Thanksgiving they realize that they are still the same person from 12 months ago. In 2013, I challenge all our readers to utilize every ounce of your inner strength and embrace a level of discipline that you never have before. For 2013, set SMART goals instead of dumb resolutions and by this time next year the best gifts you will have given will be the ones you set for yourself today.

Time to S-A-V-E!


Finance, Latest | by — September 3, 2012


So you already gave yourself a goal of how much you want save this year, all you need now are the steps  to get you to that magical amount of money. Hmm it might seem a little difficult to save when spending comes second nature to you but it’s not as hard as it seems. Check it out…

Non-Negotiables– Not only in dating you should have your non-negotiables but in finances too! Now, when you first receive your check you should have a list with the breakdowns of departments you need to pay. For example it can be easy Your list can be…1. Tithes 2. Savings. 3. Phone Bill. Now you know that every month that these are your non-negotiables. No matter what, these items need to be paid. From here you can base your budget of what you need.

Time to Take Inventory!– Yeah,yeah you might be what we would call a “Repeat Offender.” The one who goes out and buys 5 more items that almost look identical to the ones you have in you r closet. No one’s pointing fingers because I stand here GUILTY. But you would be surprised how much money you would save if you take inventory before going shopping. There is nothing worse than wasting money on replicas.

No Impulse Buys– So every time you head out to the stores set a plan before you head out the door. If you just need to buy a pair of jeans or a cd, that is what you should come back with. Or even if you give yourself a total amount that you’re going to spend, stick to the amount. This way you can have the freedom to buy what you want to  and even indulge in that sale but still stick to the amount you want to spend. Trust me, the best feeling is going out shopping and coming back knowing you stuck to your budget and bought something you wanted! Score!

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