Style + Life + Fashion has launched a new empowerment series! Titled, BLOOM focuses on faith, fashion, and business; spotlighting dynamic women that are movers and shakers in the community.
Today’s feature will spotlight Financial Literacy Educator, and Business Consultant, Dr. JeFreda R. Brown.
BLOOM SPOTLIGHT: Dr. JeFreda R. Brown
- Explain why Financial Literacy is such an important topic for women of all ages.
Financial literacy is competence in personal financial skills and financial education to make effective decisions concerning family, goals, lifestyle, and desires. In many families, women handle the finances. It is important that women be good stewards of what God has entrusted to them. This is why it is vital that young girls receive a strong financial foundation at a young age. The first teachers of finance affect the future financial decisions that young girls will make.
- How can women empower themselves (or bloom) in the areas of personal finance, budgeting, and credit?
Women first need to ask themselves if they need to change their financial behavior. If you have trouble making money last for an entire month, that is a clear indication that you need to change your financial behavior. Also, it is so important for women to realize that everything we do revolves around finances. Therefore, a strong financial foundation needs to be in place. Getting financial literacy education is the first step to blooming in all areas of personal finance.
- What is the biggest misconception about repairing your credit?
The biggest misconception about repairing your credit is that you have to pay someone to do it for you. You can repair your own credit. I recommend doing it yourself because it helps you to gain a better understanding of how the credit system works. I also want to stress that repairing credit doesn’t help if you haven’t first changed your mindset about finances. Repairing your credit but continuing the same cycles doesn’t solve the problem. I am a featured contributor in a book called, “I Didn’t Learn That in High School: 199 Facts About Credit Scores“, which is available on Amazon. This book is full of details about credit, how it works, how to use it, how not to use it, how to repair your own credit, and much more. I recommend that women get this book to help learn more about credit.
- What are some of the specific financial obstacles that women are facing?
There was a sample conducted with 7,000 men and women. They were given a 5-question basic financial literacy test. Only 29% of the women were able to pass the test. That means 71% of the women were unable to answer 5 questions about finances. Also, there are a lot of single women raising children. These women have to take care of their households. Most of them only have one source of income, which still may not cover all the necessary expenses each month. These are critical financial obstacles for women. These are also more reasons why getting financial literacy education is so vital for women.
- What financial advice would you tell your 20-year-old self?
If I knew at 21 what I know now about compounding interest, whole life insurance, investing in real estate, etc., I would have really focused on making sure my credit was good. I would have started putting all these things in place then. I would have start building wealth then. 22 years later at 43, I would definitely be set financially. Thinking about how much interest would have compounded over 22 years! Jesus!
- How does faith have an impact as it relates to your personal finances?
I believe that trying to manage finances without faith will never work. There are over 2,000 scriptures in the Bible about finances. This tells us that God wants us to have the proper guidance in managing finances. Another reason that faith is important is that we must realize that it is not “our” money; it’s God’s. He owns it, and we are just stewards of what He entrusts us with. If someone puts something they own into your care, wouldn’t you take good care of it? Most importantly, we are required to pay tithes. It’s a command, not a choice. I’m a witness to how God has provided for me in tough times because I have been obedient to paying tithes. Tithes are paid on gross income, not net income. Tithes are paid on any money you receive from others, even if it’s $1.
- Tell us more about your platform and Provision Financial Education?
It is my mission to educate people about finances and help people develop financial health and wellness. My goal is for Xaris Financial Enterprises to be the preferred financial literacy education company in the world. I want to get financial literacy curriculum into schools for grades K-12 and colleges. It needs to be a required curriculum. I want to go into companies and organizations to provide financial education to their employees. It saddens me when I read statistics about how people are developing health problems because they are stressed about their finances. People have to work past age 70 because they haven’t properly prepared for retirement. If people would get rid of their pride and seek help, they can solve their financial problems. It first requires a mindset change. Realize there is a problem first and then make an effort to resolve the problem. Action is required for change. That action is getting financial literacy education. God, Himself said, “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge“. There is nothing to be ashamed of in getting help and letting someone know your situation. Many of us have had financial hardship; myself included. I’m not here to judge; I’m here to tear down the systems that have kept people in financial bondage. I have the compassion to help you because I have been through financial hardship.
- What’s the most important concept that we can take away from this interview?
A problem is no longer a problem once you take care of it. Financial literacy is the key to having a better, stress-free life. Financial literacy is the key to having the lifestyle that you desire. Nothing happens until you first take action. Provision Financial Education is here and ready to help.