Personal Finance Repost from

Here is some financial advise I found on another blog Check it out.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

The Hood vs. Harvard Debate by Patrice Cunningham Washington
Remember the first time you heard the pastor say that “Sin is sin,” meaning if you told just a little white lie or savagely murdered someone you were pretty much in the same boat with God. Wasn’t that a hard pill to swallow? Apparently, it’s a hard pill for many even when this concept is extended to talk about money matters.  There’s no separation of what bad decision you get to make because you did or did not go to college. If your issue is renting spinning rims or leasing a car you really can’t afford, the principle remains the same in my holy book of personal finance: poor money management is poor money management. Period.

It makes no difference whether you were educated in “the hood” or at Harvard, if you don’t have personal finance education you will continue to make poor decisions and therefore limit your potential to compete successfully.  But, it never fails that when I write a blog post about poor spending behavior, I receive an overwhelming amount of comments from people who want to justify their opinions with “I’m a college graduate . . .” as if that means that A. their thoughts are superior to others or B. they don’t share in the same mismanagement.  Let’s be clear: Having a college degree does not somehow make a person intellectually superior in the area of personal finance. Trust me. I know firsthand. I’m a college graduate who left one of the best institutions on the West Coast with an embarrassing amount of debt that did not include student loans. I had grants, scholarships, parental support and a full time job all four years. I was a Dean’s List student that unfortunately was just ignorant about money. I wanted the t-shirt and frisbee being offered for signing up for credit cards and eventually received way more than I bargained for, i.e. high interest rates, annual fees and 18 months of putting every extra penny I earned towards debt. Today, more than two thirds of the women I counsel are actually college educated.  I have coached women with degrees in finance who run corporations for other people, but can’t balance a checkbook if you paid them extra to do it. I wasn’t alone in my ignorance.  Last I checked, to our own detriment personal finance has yet to be made a federally mandated course on high school and college campuses throughout this country.  Many college graduates make financial mistakes just as much as non-grads do, but somehow it becomes masked in some sort of warped superiority complex.  In child’s play, it’s a conversation that sounds something like, “Betcha my debt is better than your debt . . .  because I went to college!” The reality is that most people who are financially savvy fall into two categories.  Either they were taught to make wise money choices growing up or they, for one reason or another, sought out personal finance education on their own. Neither of those groups are necessarily determined by this idea of “Hood vs. Harvard.”  Sure, one might argue, that going to college makes you more aware of the need for wiser choices, but it can’t make anyone actually choose wisely.  It takes a personal decision and personal responsibility, hence, the term personal finance. It’s not about just knowing better, but doing better.  What good is your college degree in a debate about personal finance if you haven’t learned and applied the principles? While it’s flattering to receive any comments of praise for my thoughts, if they are encompassed in the fact that my “keep it real” spin on financial literacy education is just for “those people,” i.e. the “uneducated, low-to-moderate income people from the hood” then keep the praise.  I’m not writing to impress fellow college graduates in putting “those people” down. I’m writing to assist and encourage any and everyone who could use a little help in changing their mindset towards personal finance education and wealth creation.

Personal Finance Advice You Never Hear by Patrice Cunningham Washington

Last July, the unthinkable happened. My father-in-law died suddenly at just 58 years old. Both devastation and reality gripped our family. For my husband (his eldest child) and I, it was probably the first time we had considered as a couple the “what-if’s” that surround mortality and the fine, yet vastly important details which frame it. The truth is, even as a professional in the personal finance industry, I hadn’t invested much thought beyond making sure we had life insurance and a last will and testament. We were like so many who never think about preparing for our demise until we lose someone close. But in actuality, at some point, this type of circumstance will hit everyone in some capacity. Either we will experience the tough decisions associated with the possible demise of a loved one OR we will leave a loved one to make such difficult decisions on our behalf.
This month’s issue of Black Enterprise features a great article, Why You Need A Living Will, by writer Bridget McCrea. According to the article, there is a recent report from the National Center for Health which estimates that 13% of African Americans have a living will in place compared with 32% of whites. The problem is that living wills are a personal finance topic rarely, if ever discussed. Because of that, most people don’t even know what it is or how it is used. “A living will, also known as a healthcare proxy, is a document that allows people to express their wishes regarding specific medical treatments in the event that they are dying, incapacitated, or otherwise unable to communicate their preferences.”

Unfortunately, it’s easy to slip into selfishness when the life on the line belongs to a loved one. Although we might make the decision to keep them alive for as long as possible no matter what the cost, knowing their true wishes may technically dictate otherwise. Creating a living will is not easy, but very much necessary. McCrea suggests that we “start by envisioning a scenario where you are unable to make your own decisions. Consider exactly how you’d want your healthcare handled.” As difficult as it may be, remove the emotion. Think about the relief your family will experience because you are clear about your expectations. For many, these type of circumstances only make an already challenging situation that much more stressful.

Here are just a few of the Living Will Do’s & Don’ts as featured in the article:

DO take some time to plan ahead and consider what your wishes would be if you couldn’t make decisions on your own.

DON’T think that you don’t need a will because you don’t have a large amount of assets.

DO consider as many “What If?” scenarios as possible when drafting your living will.

As someone who is surrounded by personal finance information on a daily basis, I’ll admit that I am not a part of the 13% of African Americans that reportedly have a living will. I will promise, however, that I will be within the next 30 days. By the time my husband or I need it, it’ll be too late to think about writing one, so I’m starting today. Will you?

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