I live in the Edgewood neighborhood of Washington, D.C. across the street from a school. When my wife and I bought our house, it was a public school serving a low to moderate-income population that was 95 percent African American, reflecting the neighborhood demographics.
Each morning when I headed to work I’d find a trail of discarded Little Hug juice bottles, honey bun wrappers and empty potato chip bags leading to the school. Weeds sprouted through the cracks in the asphalt on the school grounds and the play structure was tattered and rusty. The schoolyard looked more like a laboratory for tetanus rather than a playground for children. Inside, portable walls, not classrooms, separated the kids who were group two grades at a time (1st & 2nd, 3rd & 4th). When I visited the school to inquire about volunteering one morning, I heard several teachers instructing their students at the same time, and a disruption in one classroom affected the others.
The school closed a few years after we moved in and briefly became a hangout for older teens and young adults who smoked weed, drank and played dice.
Eventually, gentrification took over, the school was reopened as a charter school and the building was overhauled. The playground was upgraded. Sunflowers and a community garden replaced the weeds. Woodchips covered the fissured asphalt. A section of the sidewalk was replaced and white children soon made up about 40 percent of the new student body—although the neighborhood demographics barely changed. Former First Lady and President Obama even came to christen the new facility. Even the litter got an upgrade, with Honest Juice boxes and string-cheese wrappers in the gutter instead of the cheap, corner-store junk-food trash.
Parking is a little harder to find, hey, that’s life in the big city.
“Traditional financial planning says that you should have 3 to 6 months of living expenses … In a perfect world this is true,” Lea says. “Admittedly, this can be difficult to do. You should always have some savings, but while you’re working on the other steps, $1000 should be enough cushion to get you over most things that could come up.”
“This is the hardest one for most people,” Lea says of understanding how folks spend and on what. But, he says, “tracking your expenses will help you understand where your money is going and how it is used. Budgets also help you avoid spending unnecessarily.”
Listen to learn more! Here you can find out Wilson’s advice on saving for retirement and eliminating debt. Next week we’ll talk with Wilson about developing strategies to build and maintain a liquid savings.
“What I suggest is that you start with the smallest balance credit card and make bigger payments on that card and make the minimum payments on other cards,” says Lea of Parallax Advisors, a boutique wealth management firm based in Irvine, CA. “As you pay off the smaller cards take those payments and move them up with the payments on the next biggest balance.”
With over two decades of expertise, Wilson has a proven track record of helping businesses, executives, retirees and families meet their financial goals.
Listen to learn more! In case you missed earlier portions of our conversation, you can find them here and here. Next week we’ll be talking about creating a budget to better help you achieve your wealth aspirations.
In this segment of our chat we focus on saving for retirement.
“This is a must, must, must,” says Lea, a wealth managment advisor with over two decades of experience in finance. “If you are working full time, you HAVE to save your money … Zero percent is not an option. Pay yourself first.”
Brought to you in several parts (look for a new installment every Wednesday in January & early February) we break the conversation in to bite size chunks to help you focus on the key elements of getting your finances in order and setting you on a path to wealth accumulation.
Here we introduce the topic in a way that demystifies wealth and money management before methodically dissecting each of Wilson’s 4 Wise Wealth Tips for Your Wallet: Save for Retirement; Pay Down Your Debt; Budget and Build Up Your Liquid Savings.
Be on the lookout for subsequent parts of our conversation with Wilson each Wednesday for the next few weeks, and chats on other wealth related topics in the months beyond. But for now, lean in, lean back and enjoy!
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