I Became A Financial Planner To Take Back My Power & Help Other Black Women Do The Same

By Jala Eaton

Let me start by saying the majority of my life I ignored my money. I spent it. I hid it from myself. I obtained thousands of dollars in student loans for two degrees during a recession. I ended up working in a field I never expected to work in. For years I worked as a trust administrator protecting money left in trust funds, decades ago. Despite the degrees I have, they never made me feel 100% self-sufficient. This might be because I questioned whether I knew enough and felt there was always more to learn. 

Seeing millions of dollars daily was a regular occurrence for me. It wasn’t until I saw one-hundred-million-dollars ($100,000,000)  in one trust that my relationship with money changed forever. Maybe the shift occurred because I knew that the money belonged to one person who still went into his local branch to do his banking.  For some reason it just made me want to build my own wealth and empower others to do the same. If he could do it why couldn’t I?

I continued to work and research and I decided that the steps to obtaining wealth were:

  1. Financial Planning & Financial literacy. Even with Millions in the bank, trust beneficiaries are expected to submit budgets and know their assets and liabilities.
  2. Investing. I have never seen a trust that didn’t have marketable securities and other investments. Additionally, trusts that included a business usually were the larger trusts. Investing is one way to ensure that your money grows.
  3. Estate planning. Generational wealth and Trusts are not possible without an estate plan.  Money may transfer successfully to one generation but rarely does the money continue on to a second or third generation.

What did I do to implement this new understanding of what it takes to build wealth?

I walked out of my comfort zone and decided to take action. I learned all I could. I took control of my finances, quit my job, started a business, and discussed the requirements to build wealth with the group that needed it the most, women. This led to an increase in confidence and better advocacy for myself and others. 

Once I realized helping others was my purpose, I sought to ignite a fire in women to change the way we manage our money and view our financial future.

FINANCIAL PLANNING

Self-sufficient can mean needing no outside help in satisfying one’s basic needs OR being emotionally and intellectually independent.  

Confidence and education go hand and hand.  Confidence will increase your emotional independence and proactively using what you have learned will increase your intellectual independence. 

It takes education and implementation to become self-sufficient. 

Ask yourself this: do you feel financially self-sufficient when it comes to financial literacy,  investing, and estate planning?

If yes, I commend you, please feel free to contact me and let me know what your path to financial self-sufficiency was.

But if your answer is no, then here is what you should do.

Step 1: LEARN. Take a self-inventory and find out your money strengths and weaknesses. Write down your goals.

Step 2: Figure out where all of your money is and what it is doing? Take time to learn how to fix any issues you see. This will help you TAKE CHARGE OF YOUR MONEY. 

The inventory results will give you actionable insight on what you need to do to achieve financial self-sufficiency. 

The goal of this exercise to get you to stop thinking about what you’ve been through and the mistakes you’ve made, and what you don’t know or understand. 

Instead, begin thinking about who you are, what you are capable of, and what you are committing to learn more about. You don’t deserve to live feeling guilty and condemned about past mistakes. Forgive yourself and move forward so you can get what you desire. Lesson learned. With this attitude, you will act with a boldness and the confidence you need to make the right decision for your life.

My Experience With Step #2 

When I went through this inventory process I realized my focus had to be understanding investing.  I had an employer-sponsored brokerage account and my retirement account had a -15% return. I was losing money. Once I learned what I needed to know, my account quickly changed to a positive 9.45% return. Why? My employer was initially investing the money I saved into their stock and this strategy wasn’t in my best interest. I needed to take control of my money. 

You have to be willing to learn what you are doing and it will save you money. No one cares about you and your success the way you care.  

Confidence Matters

After you set your goals and understand your money, don’t listen to the naysayers or better yet  your negative self-talk saying, “It’s not a good idea for you to do your own investing or managing your money.” 

Self-sufficiency doesn’t mean you shouldn’t ask for help, it just means you have to have some idea of what needs to be done, i.e. saving, investing, taxes, retirement, estate planning, and what is in your best interest based on your goals. THEN you can consciously decide to delegate tasks to others. Ensuring that it is harder to take advantage of you and you can advocate for yourself should someone try to tell you, you are wrong about what you need.    

ESTATE PLANNING

Have you written down who will manage your money and where your money should go?  Yes, we have to think about this too! Because at some point you and I will need help. An accident, old age, or being out of the country could trigger the need for a proper estate plan. Worst-case scenario you aren’t physically on earth anymore but your goal was for your money to grow and impact future generations.  You must have your estate plan in place. If your goal during life was not to be taken advantage of DON’T let it happen to you in death. Many families and charities never see the money they were promised if there is not an estate plan in place.

Estate planning is for everyone and your plan should be updated once a year at minimum to ensure you are effectively controlling and protecting your legacy.

We must be able to advocate for ourselves. Women have historically been left out of financial planning and estate planning because it is a male-dominated industry. Despite the fact that we outlive our partners and women business owners account for more than 8.6 million businesses and control more than $14 trillion in assets. We are capable of advocating for ourselves but the  majority of us shrink when we feel like we don’t understand money/finance because it’s “complex”. 

We have to build and protect our wealth. 

I’ve witnessed a very successful woman enter her favorite bank with a plan to take control of her finances and her investments, only to be told by her male financial advisor that he didn’t recommend that she learn to invest and should just allow him to do it for her. Better yet, if she really wanted to manage her own accounts she could do so, but she would have to call him first so he could approve what she was doing with HER MONEY! If you know what to look for you can avoid expensive stockbrokers and their hidden fees. 

Take back your power!

Getting the right guidance is crucial. Financial and emotional education is important.  

The more financial literacy women have the better off we will be. As an attorney and certified financial advisor, I have made it my mission to teach financial literacy and estate planning. In hopes that if you teach a person to fish they will eat for a lifetime AND teach others what they have learned. My business is dedicated to empowering you to build and protect your wealth through financial literacy, investing, and estate planning. 

For example, empowering a black woman through financial accountability usually results in improved financial health and well-being for her entire family.  Why, because this is the group affected most by the racial wealth gap often resulting in perpetual stress, anxiety, depression, unresolved trauma, and a situation that never gets better, from generation to generation.

Many minority groups have been unable to manage and create transformative wealth (wealth that builds other wealth). Preventing the wealth gap from continuing to widen by increasing and transferring wealth is critical to improving the lives of future generations.

My promise: if you’re willing to do the work I will be there to support you. Most institutions offer bias advice –  I offer myself as a resource of financial knowledge and accountability based on the person sitting in front of me and the goals you would like to achieve. 

Jala Eaton, Esq, CTFA is an optimist, estate planning attorney, and certified financial advisor with a mission to help black women build and protect their assets through learning to invest and creating an estate plan. The racial wealth gap is the problem and generational wealth is the goal and the solution. When not advising her clients or talking about money on Instagram (follow her @onmyownfinancial) she likes to attend the private dance parties her daughter holds in their living room.

One Comment

  1. Pingback: Success Stories Of Powerful Women To Inspire Your Journey - GirlTalkHQ

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.