The Financial Empowerment Blog

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Breaking Free from Financial Shame and Guilt: Steps to Progress


Breaking Free from Financial Shame and Guilt: Steps to Progress

In our society, discussing personal finances often carries a significant stigma. The fear of being judged for financial missteps can be overwhelming, leading to feelings of shame and guilt that stifle progress. Many people suffer in silence, reluctant to seek help or take proactive steps to improve their situation. However, it's crucial to understand that these emotions do not serve you; action does. Here’s a guide to breaking free from financial shame and guilt and making meaningful progress.

Step 1: Face the Situation Head-On

The first step in overcoming financial shame and guilt is to confront your situation honestly. This means getting a clear, comprehensive view of your financial standing. Start by making a detailed list of:

  • Savings: List all accounts and their balances.
  • Debt: Itemize each debt, including credit cards, loans, and any other liabilities.
  • Monthly Bills: Document all recurring expenses, from...
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Celebrating Juneteenth: Building Black Wealth: Financial Empowerment Beyond Juneteenth


Building Black Wealth: Financial Empowerment Beyond Juneteenth

Juneteenth is a time for celebration, reflection, and recommitment to progress. As we commemorate the end of slavery in the United States, it's crucial to acknowledge the ongoing struggle for economic equity faced by the Black community.

Here at Modern Money Education, we believe financial literacy is a cornerstone of building generational wealth. Let's delve into some key aspects of financial empowerment specific to the Black community:

Understanding the Racial Wealth Gap

The racial wealth gap is a harsh reality. Systemic barriers like redlining (denial of loans based on race) and discriminatory lending practices have historically disadvantaged Black families. Recognizing these challenges is the first step toward overcoming them. Addressing these disparities involves advocating for policy changes that promote economic equity and educating oneself about the historical context that has led to current inequalities.


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7 Essential Money Moves Every Financial Consultant Recommends


1. Setting Up a Solid Budget

Creating and sticking to a budget is the cornerstone of financial health. By tracking your income and expenses, you gain a clear understanding of your financial habits. Start by listing all sources of income and fixed expenses like rent and utilities. Then, allocate amounts for flexible spending categories such as groceries and entertainment. A budget helps you prioritize your spending and identify areas where you can cut back to save for future goals.

To enhance your budgeting efforts, consider using digital tools like budgeting apps that sync with your accounts and provide real-time updates on your finances. These tools can streamline the budgeting process by categorizing expenses, setting spending limits, and sending alerts for overspending. Monitoring your budget regularly allows you to adjust your plan as needed and stay on track towards financial stability.

2. Establishing an Emergency Fund

An emergency fund acts as a financial safety net,...

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The Power of Saying No to Lifestyle Creep (3 min read)


Imagine your closet. At first, it's pristine – everything neatly in its place, just the essentials. Over time, though, more and more items start to fill it up. New clothes, shoes, accessories – some purchased on a whim, others received as gifts. Before long, your once-organized space is overflowing. The abundance that once brought you joy now feels overwhelming and uncontrollable. You don't even know where to start to clean it up. Yet, once you do get it organized and simplified, you feel a profound sense of relief. You can see what you have and truly appreciate and use your things.

Lifestyle creep works much the same way. It sneaks up on you, subtly and slowly. You start making more money, and soon enough, you start spending more, too. A new gadget here, a luxury vacation there, and suddenly, you're living a lifestyle that requires every penny of your income. Simplifying and focusing on what truly matters can lead to a more fulfilling life, offering you greater...

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First Time Home Buyer's Guide

Buying a house is an inherently stressful process, but for first time home buyers the process can be especially complex. Many first time buyers purchase condos to take advantage of lower prices and reduce their responsibility to maintain the property.

This may appear to reduce mortgage default risk because the monthly payment is lower, but in reality making the homeowner’s association a party to the transaction adds far more default risk than the lower payment removes.

In addition, given the nature of the current economy, many millennial buyers have student loan debt, or work as 1099 contractors instead of W2 employees, which further compounds the risk and makes it harder to qualify for a home loan.

Despite the obstacles, it is possible for a millennial to purchase a home – Millennials were actually the largest segment of buyers for the past five years according to this study by the National Association of Realtors – however, millennials are likely to face greater...

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Going Green to Save Green


While financial planning and environmentalism may not appear to have much in common, both focus on making the most of limited resources by reducing excess consumption, efficiently utilizing available assets, and recycling waste. These guidelines are not only good for the planet, they are also good for your wallet. Check out these 6 ideas to help you save green by going green:

1. Eliminate Food Waste

Food waste has a huge impact on the environment and on your budget. To reduce waste, plan and prep meals ahead of time and buy only what you need for that week, and bring your reusable produce bags.

If you have leftovers, store them in Beeswrap and bring them for lunch the next day. Compost any remaining leftovers and scraps.

The Mealime application (iOS and Google Play Store) is a great companion. The app creates a shopping list, making it super easy to shop. Just try to plan around what’s currently in season.

2. Combine Trips

Plan your errands for the upcoming week...

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Honor Your Family With A Simple Estate Plan

By Angela Moore, CFP® of Modern Money Advisor

Estate planning is for the unselfish. Yeah, I said it!

The first time I ever experienced it, I was a finance director at a car dealership, and I was sitting across the desk from a woman in her mid-50s to early 60s. We were in a cold grey office and I could tell she was tired, exhausted and frail. She seemed to be so uncomfortable being at the dealership. It’s an uncomfortable place to be. It’s like walking through a flood of predatory salesmen waiting to devour you. I get it! I was happy that she had landed in my office because, out of everyone there, I knew I had the patience and gentleness to help her and make her feel more comfortable. I was probably about 25 years old then. Her husband had passed away and she was trying to find out who their car was financed through. She cried to me and told me of her husband’s sudden passing. I tried to console her and it was a super uncomfortable situation to be in. I...

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Student Loan Series: What You Need to Know About Student Loans

The student loan crisis is nothing new. But that doesn’t mean its effects aren’t profound.

For years headlines and news stories have reported the uptick in student debt and the impact it has on people for the rest of their lives. Student loan debt is a big issue in our country and with the cost of education on the rise, it becomes an even more important topic to discuss. 

Today, our team wanted to bring you up to speed on what you need to know about student debt: what it is, how to prepare for it, and ways to keep the costs at bay. 

Startling statistics

Student debt is on the rise. According to the most recent data from the Federal Reserve, the country is in over $1.64 trillion dollars of student debt alone across about 45 million borrowers and this number is projected to increase.

To put those numbers in perspective, student loan debt has become the second-highest consumer debt category behind mortgage debt and surpassing credit card debt by almost $600...

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Student Loan Series: How can I pay off my student loans with low income?

This post is part of our “Ask An Advisor” series where we address your most urgent money questions. Names have been changed to protect the identity of the requester.

How can I possibly get out of student loan debt? (It’s over 50,000. I was not able to complete my last year of college due to finances. I can't find work willing to pay more than $12 where I'm located.)

Dear Ashley,

First, let me sympathize with your situation. Both Angela and I worked while in college and had to maintain our GPAs to keep our scholarships. Completing your schooling while balancing other responsibilities is hard and not always feasible. You should be proud of yourself that you made it through most of your schooling even if you weren't able to graduate yet.

That leads me to my next point, which is the emphasis on the "yet." It sounds like you are looking for work right now, or maybe you are already working in a job that's paying lower wages than you'd need to pay the bills. As you've...

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Student Loan Series: Student Loan Forgiveness Options

Student loan forgiveness may sound like a fairy godmother swooping in and saving the day, but her magic wand comes with layers of government red tape and rules to wade through before your loan balance hits $0. 

Today, we want to walk you through the basics of a few loan forgiveness programs that provide student debt relief. Let’s get started.

Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF)

PSLF was designed to help employees in public service repay their loans. Here’s how you can qualify for this program:

  • Full-time employment for U.S federal, state, local, or tribal government or non-profit.
  • Have Federal Direct loans
  • Payments made through a qualified income-driven repayment plan (remember those?). 
  • Make 120 qualifying payments

After 10 years (assuming you make the qualifying payments consecutively), your loan balance will be forgiven. This system can be complex and depending on your provider, the information could get lost in the shuffle. We recommend keeping all...

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