(Part 3 of 3)
As a child, I remember that if Betty Wright’s “No Pain, No Gain” was playing that it was likely the women we’re having ‘grown women’ talk. As children, these sort of songs were the warning to stay out of the adult’s business and definitely out of view. Of course, we crept around and kept them in our peripheral view while dressing our Cabbage Patch dolls. Maybe it was our aunt who was upset about her husband forgetting her birthday or our mother’s friend was happy about a new job.
No matter the topic of discussion, this space was sacred and supportive. From the delicious smell of greens on the stove to Roberta’s smooth voice telling us how “he sang a good song” to the laughter and fingers snaps – the women who loved and raised us held each other down, too. It is this tradition of creating genuine spaces to thrive and be loved that I’m proud to continue on with the many black women and girls in my own circle – where Lauryn picks up and tells us “he had a style.”
Part 3 of the Back to School gems for black girls wraps up with the love and friendship shared between best friends and mothers and daughters. Thanks to each of the women who dropped a few gems on us. Knowledge is power … and from black women, it’s magic.
Barbara Boustead, founder and CEO of Mary’s Daughter, LLC
MADISON365: Barbara, I’m loving the wealth of financial information you share! What are some financial education gems you can share with young black women that you shared with your own daughters to help them make good choices with their money?
BB: I believe in a strong work ethic, because if it is your own money you’re spending, it’s different than if mama gave you cash or the credit card. My daughters have learned to be “frugal aka stingy” although they have NO problem spending mine. (ha-ha)
Lesson # 1 – Develop the appreciation of working so whether it’s babysitting, a lemonade stand or selling girls scout cookies, it is essential to take pride in one’s earning ability. I never grew up with “marrying a man will take care of the money” cause as you know that didn’t exist for so many of us and didn’t for me.
Lesson #2 – Learn to depend on yourself and that means saving some of everything you make for that eventual “rainy day.” For many of us, it’s storming every day but that is how we begin to get out of our situations. Start earning early, and if possible always spend less than you earn (once basic needs are met).
Lesson #3 – Needs are not wants! Don’t let the advertising or trying to look cute put you in debt. Debt ain’t pretty, it can cause stress, anxiety, depression and bankruptcy so shop at the thrift stores, consignment and swap with friends to change it up once in awhile.
Finally, surround yourself with people who are financially smart with their money, are talking about saving, 401k and 403B and reducing debt. Maybe renting with a friend rather than purchasing. Maybe sharing a vehicle rather than buying. My daughter is putting $$ into Uber but even that can get expensive. I believe in having financial goals. First, is to establish an emergency account separate from savings and then begin to build a cushion. One step at a time but it can be done
Lisa Peyton-Caire, founder and president of The Foundation for Black Women’s Wellness and Assistant Vice President of Life, Learning and Events at Summit Credit Union
Madison365: Lisa, you and Kaleem have just moved your daughter into her dorm room, tell me — what is it that you and Kaleem hope for your daughter for her freshman year of college?
LPC: We hope for our daughter a magnificent first year of college where she stretches herself to experience as much as she can. We trust that she will build powerful friendships and networks that support her in reaching her dreams to be an artist and filmmaker, and that she will continue to exercise her leadership by getting deeply involved in campus life. She’s so uniquely talented, and we want her to seize every opportunity to flourish. We know she will.
Keena Atkinson, Owner of K Naturally Hair
MADISON365: Keena, you and your best friends have supported each other through so many goals including educational goals, too! What advice would you give other groups of best friends on supporting each other through their own educational goals?
KA: Encouragement and accountability are the two main things that my friends and I do often to support each other across the board. We encourage each other when school and life gets overwhelming. It can be easy to fail or quit with so much on your plate. So just calling or visiting each other to check on that paper or that math assignment that we heard one another talking about last week or asking about that class that we know she likes or dislikes to give her a chance to process out loud what she learned, or work through the problem she is dealing with.
Just being open to that dialogue is important, and as someone not taking that class, you learn a lot, too. We tried studying together, but then we barely got any work done at all. So we did homework independently most of the time. “Studying together” became our beloved social time instead! We were all students at the same time but at different colleges, so I think most of our conversations during college were either school, our kids, or men.