We're all about securing the bag, but what do you do with it once you get it? While getting that bag is the goal, building wealth is the ultimate reward. Who wants to look up and wonder where all their money went? …Only to realize that Popeye's chicken sandwich and online shopping got way too many of our hard-earned coins.
From creating a habit of saving, no matter what your salary (or lack thereof) is, to planning for the future, our budget bae Pamela Capalad, founder of Brunch & Budget and more, offered up quite a few gems that will make building wealth easier than ever.
As told to Char J. Patterson.
Saving On A Budget:Giphy
"We're all told to have a savings goal of 3-6 months of living expenses, and we need to hit a certain number and have it in the bank. For a lot of people, it's really intimidating to hear that. You hear that and you think, 'Well that's never gonna happen, so I'm just never gonna save.' That's usually where our mind goes whether we know it or not. How are you thinking about saving? If you're thinking about it as this one goal that you're finally going to reach, and it just has to be the perfect time (you get a bonus, you get a tax refund, etc.), you need to adjust your mindset.
Make savings a habit, make it a part of your life.
Pay yourself first. Even though it sounds a little weird, think about your savings as a bill. Just like you pay your rent, just like you pay your credit card bill, pay yourself; integrate an amount in your budget that you won't miss. It's more important to get into the act of saving than to try to reach a certain number.
Have a savings account in a place that's totally different from where you bank for your checking account.
When you have your checking and your savings at the same bank, you tend to transfer one amount from your savings to your checking when you're running a little low. Also, most big banks aren't paying you much interest at all for parking your money there. An easy Google search of high-yielding savings accounts will lead you to banks that will help your money make money.
Have part of your direct deposit go directly into your savings.
This way, you never see it at all. You don't have to miss it, you don't have to wonder if it went into your savings. Whatever ends up in your checking account, that's what you have to spend."
Spend What’s Important To You:Giphy
"Budgeting is not this formula. We hear you have to X percentage toward food, X toward your necessities. Before you pull out the spreadsheet, figure out what you actually enjoy spending money on. The categories are your basics like rent, utilities, cell phone, internet, transportation, gas, groceries; all the things you need to physically live and survive. Figure out what this number is and set it aside, then you can see what you have leftover. This is where you get into what your values are. Remember, budgets are not restricting or denying yourself.
Psychologically, what ends up happening is you restrict yourself and then one day you spiral and splurge, and it doesn't end up working out.
After the basics, the other values are 'the details' and 'the nothings'. The details are those things that come to mind when someone asks you to create a budget. You think, 'Do I have to give up my coffee every day? Do I have to give up eating out? Do I have to give up shopping? Do I have to give up on getting my hair and my nails done?' When you have things you don't want to give up, those are your details. They get you through the day and feed you emotionally. It's important to spend money on these things because when we deny ourselves, we end up spending money anyway. You're not taking that $5 and putting it in your savings account. You still spend the money, just on the nothing's value. The nothing is where your money goes but you don't even realize it. The things that don't even come to mind when someone asks you where you spend money, because you don't remember spending money on it.
Before you come up with your budget, see where your money is going. Is it a detail or is it a nothing?
You'll find clear categories and realize that you can give yourself permission to spend money on the details and what's important to you. You'll feel good instead of guilty about it. Then, you can enjoy spending money and you'll be less likely to spend money on the 'nothings'."
Boost That Credit Score:Giphy
"The first thing is knowing what it is, knowing how to read a credit report, and knowing what impacts it. There are a lot of factors that go into your credit. But the ones that impact people the most is making sure you make your payments on time.
35% of your score is on-time payments.
One late payment can affect your credit score for seven years, which is ridiculous, but that's how it works. And that's just 30 days late. I would suggest enrolling in autopay for minimum payments on your credit card. No matter what, making your minimum payment on time, counts as making your payment on time. If you keep a very clean on-time payment record, that's 35% of your score your right there.
30% of your score is based on the balance of your card, compared to your credit limit.
A rule of thumb is you don't want to have more than 30% of the limit on your balance. For example, if you have a $1,000 limit, you don't want to put more than $300 on it at a time. So if you want to use your card, and you have a low limit, there are a couple of things you can do. You can call your credit card company and ask them to increase your limit. You can do this as often as every six months. Sometimes you're pre-approved and it doesn't affect your credit at all, but sometimes they do check your credit. It does affect your score negatively when they check your credit, but it will go back after a couple of months. I had a client who diligently called their credit card company every six months, and her limit is now more than her salary.
You can also pay your credit card bill more often than once a month. They only report your balance every 30 days, so as long as you keep your balance low within a certain timeframe, you can keep using it, getting points, and all that good stuff. If your goal is to get your score higher, I would start paying your cards down to 30% of those limits. If you get it below that, you'll see it go up in the next months or two. Either way, your credit usage affects your score pretty quickly, whether it's above or below the 30%."
Get An Estate Plan Together:Giphy
"No one wants to think about an estate plan. No one thinks they need one. When you hear the word "estate", you think, 'Oh that's for rich people.' But we all have access and things we want to pass on to people.
The easiest thing to do is to name a beneficiary.
You can do this on your retirement account, your 401k, your pension at work, whatever it is. You just need to know their birthday and social security number, and you're done. You don't have to think about it unless something changes. As long as you have a beneficiary who's still alive, the money automatically passes to that person, and it doesn't go through the court system at all. When it goes through the court system, you have to pay court fees, lawyer fees, etc.; and when that happens, that chips away at the money that actually goes to your beneficiaries.
If you just want to pass on money from your bank account, you can complete a transfer-on-death. The name is really morbid, but you just ask your bank for the form, and you can list beneficiaries for all of your bank accounts – checking, savings, and any investment accounts that isn't an investment account.
If you have tangible things you want to leave to people, you can set up a will and name beneficiaries through the will. Anything mentioned in the will goes through probate court, but it's a pretty cut and dry situation. Your family might not need to hire attorneys through the process, they can just go through it themselves. If you own your home, you 1000% need to set up a will. If you have children, you need to set up a will to name guardians for your children in case something happens to their mother and father.
Another important document is the health care property. It allows someone to speak on your behalf for medical decisions, in case you can't speak on your own. The default is your spouse, then your parents, then your siblings, then your next of kin and things like that. I've seen situations where people don't have their parents speaking for them, and they have a significant other who they're not married to. I advise them to fill out a health care property document that be found right on Google, and just give it to their doctor.
Also, a power of attorney is another document that allows someone to handle financial matters for you, in case you couldn't do it yourself. This would be someone to access your bank account, pay your bills, etc.
In the end, I think what tends to happen is, we think of personal finances as something we'll get to eventually. But in reality, when we don't get into these things, we get taken advantage of. When we can get in control of our finances, that's how you can really empower yourself and others."
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Charmaine Patterson is a journalist, lifestyle blogger, and a lover of all things pop culture. While she has much experience in covering top entertainment news stories, she aims to share her everyday life experiences, old and new, with other women who can relate, laugh, and love along with her. Follow Char on Twitter @charjpatterson, Instagram @charpatterson, and keep up with her journey at CharJPatterson.com .
Exclusive: Gabrielle Union On Radical Transparency, Being Diagnosed With Perimenopause And Embracing What’s Next
Whenever Gabrielle Union graces the movie screen, she immediately commands attention. From her unforgettable scenes in films like Bring It On and Two Can Play That Game to her most recent film, in which she stars and produces Netflix’s The Perfect Find, there’s no denying that she is that girl.
Off-screen, she uses that power for good by sharing her trials and tribulations with other women in hopes of helping those who may be going through the same things or preventing them from experiencing them altogether. Recently, the Flawless by Gabrielle Union founder partnered with Clearblue to speak at the launch of their Menopause Stage Indicator, where she also shared her experience with being perimenopausal.
In a xoNecoleexclusive, the iconic actress opens up about embracing this season of her life, new projects, and overall being a “bad motherfucker.” Gabrielle reveals that she was 37 years old when she was diagnosed with perimenopause and is still going through it at 51 years old. Mayo Clinic says perimenopause “refers to the time during which your body makes the natural transition to menopause, marking the end of the reproductive years.”
“I haven't crossed over the next phase just yet, but I think part of it is when you hear any form of menopause, you automatically think of your mother or grandmother. It feels like an old-person thing, but for me, I was 37 and like not understanding what that really meant for me. And I don't think we focus so much on the word menopause without understanding that perimenopause is just the time before menopause,” she tells us.
Photo by Brian Thomas
"But you can experience a lot of the same things during that period that people talk about, that they experienced during menopause. So you could get a hot flash, you could get the weight gain, the hair loss, depression, anxiety, like all of it, mental health challenges, all of that can come, you know, at any stage of the menopausal journey and like for me, I've been in perimenopause like 13, 14 years. When you know, most doctors are like, ‘Oh, but it's usually about ten years, and I'm like, ‘Uhh, I’m still going (laughs).’”
Conversations about perimenopause, fibroids, and all the things that are associated with women’s bodies have often been considered taboo and thus not discussed publicly. However, times are changing, and thanks to the Gabrielle’s and the Tia Mowry’s, more women are having an authentic discourse about women’s health. These open discussions lead to the creation of more safe spaces and support for one another.
“I want to be in community with folks. I don't ever want to feel like I'm on an island about anything. So, if I can help create community where we are lacking, I want to be a part of that,” she says. “So, it's like there's no harm in talking about it. You know what I mean? Like, I was a bad motherfucker before perimenopause. I’m a bad motherfucker now, and I'll be a bad motherfucker after menopause. Know what I’m saying? None of that has to change. How I’m a bad motherfucker, I welcome that part of the change. I'm just getting better and stronger and more intelligent, more wise, more patient, more compassionate, more empathetic. All of that is very, very welcomed, and none of it should be scary.”
The Being Mary Jane star hasn’t been shy about her stance on therapy. If you don’t know, here’s a hint: she’s all for it, and she encourages others to try it as well. She likens therapy to dating by suggesting that you keep looking for the right therapist to match your needs. Two other essential keys to her growth are radical transparency and radical acceptance (though she admits she is still working on the latter).
"I was a bad motherfucker before perimenopause. I’m a bad motherfucker now, and I'll be a bad motherfucker after menopause. Know what I’m saying? None of that has to change. How I’m a bad motherfucker, I welcome that part of the change."
Gabrielle Union and Kaavia Union-Wade
Photo by Monica Schipper/Getty Images
“I hope that a.) you recognize that you're not alone. Seek out help and know that it's okay to be honest about what the hell is happening in your life. That's the only way that you know you can get help, and that's also the only other way that people know that you are in need if there's something going on,” she says, “because we have all these big, very wild, high expectations of people, but if they don't know what they're actually dealing with, they're always going to be failing, and you will always be disappointed. So how about just tell the truth, be transparent, and let people know where you are. So they can be of service, they can be compassionate.”
Gabrielle’s transparency is what makes her so relatable, and has so many people root for her. Whether through her TV and film projects, her memoirs, or her social media, the actress has a knack for making you feel like she’s your homegirl. Scrolling through her Instagram, you see the special moments with her family, exciting new business ventures, and jaw-dropping fashion moments. Throughout her life and career, we’ve seen her evolve in a multitude of ways. From producing films to starting a haircare line to marriage and motherhood, her journey is a story of courage and triumph. And right now, in this season, she’s asking, “What’s next?”
“This is a season of discovery and change. In a billion ways,” says the NAACP Image Award winner. “The notion of like, ‘Oh, so and so changed. They got brand new.’ I want you to be brand new. I want me to be brand new. I want us to be always constantly growing, evolving. Having more clarity, moving with different purpose, like, and all of that is for me very, very welcomed."
"I want you to be brand new. I want me to be brand new. I want us to be always constantly growing, evolving. Having more clarity, moving with different purpose, like, and all of that is for me very, very welcomed."
She continues, “So I'm just trying to figure out what's next. You know what I mean? I'm jumping into what's next. I'm excited going into what's next and new. I'm just sort of embracing all of what life has to offer.”
Look out for Gabrielle in the upcoming indie film Riff Raff, which is a crime comedy starring her and Jennifer Coolidge, and she will also produce The Idea of You, which stars Anne Hathaway.
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Have you ever been in a relationship with someone and felt so deeply connected to them? Everything about the relationship was intense – good or bad? Then you might be in a part of a soul tie.
The concept of a soul tie binds individuals on a level beyond a relationship's physical and emotional aspects; it’s more than a mere connection. You can form a soul tie with anyone – lover, friend, colleague, etc.- but we are discussing romantic partners for this article. Think of you and your partner as an intensely burning flame. The flame can burn passionately to light the relationship’s way or chaotically burn everything in its path. Either way, it leaves an indelible mark on the souls involved.
A soul tie should not be confused with the term “soulmate.” The main difference is that a soul tie can be positive or negative, while a soulmate is a mutual, harmonious connection. Unlike a soul tie, a soulmate relationship is generally characterized by mutual understanding, support, and shared values.
However, the more we learn about soul ties, the more it becomes evident that they are not monolithic; they vary in nature and intensity. As someone who has experienced a negative soul tie, it is crucial to discern whether they contribute positively to personal growth or hinder you from flourishing.
If Your Soul Tie Is Positive
A positive soul tie creates a deep and affirming connection between individuals. One key indicator of a positive soul tie is effective communication. If you’re experiencing a positive soul tie, a shared understanding fosters open and honest dialogue, contributing to a sense of connection and support.
Mutual growth is another hallmark of a positive soul tie. When individuals in a relationship encourage each other's personal development and evolution, it signifies a positive and uplifting connection. This mutual support leads to an environment where both parties can thrive individually and together, contributing to the overall health of the soul tie.
Emotional security is a crucial element in identifying a positive soul tie. In such connections, individuals feel a deep sense of trust and comfort with each other. This emotional security forms a stable foundation for the relationship, allowing both parties to express vulnerability and foster a strong, positive bond. These three indicators—effective communication, mutual growth, and emotional security—underscore the positivity inherent in a healthy and affirming soul tie.
If Your Soul Tie Is Negative
A negative soul tie manifests as a detrimental and draining connection between individuals. One clear sign of a negative soul tie is the presence of emotional turmoilwithin the relationship. When the connection becomes a source of constant distress, causing emotional upheaval and hindering personal development, it indicates a negative soul tie.
Codependency is another red flag for a negative soul tie. In such connections, individuals may become overly reliant on each other, impeding their ability to thrive independently. Codependency often leads to unhealthy dependencies and can result in a toxic dynamic that hinders both individuals' growth and well-being.
A lack of effective communication is a third indicator of a negative soul tie. When there is a breakdown in communication, misunderstandings and unresolved issues can fester, contributing to a strained and unhealthy connection. In negative soul ties, the absence of open and honest dialogue can perpetuate a cycle of negativity and prevent the resolution of underlying issues. These three indicators—emotional turmoil, codependency, and poor communication—point to the negativity associated with an unhealthy soul tie.
Putting Out The Fires And Breaking Your Soul Tie
Unfortunately, my deep, intense connection only caused destruction. And despite the obvious red flags, it took a minute before I broke the connection. Why? Because I was addicted to the relationship, we both were. But it is possible to break a soul tie if and when you are ready because if you are not, pretending you are when you are not is a waste of your time.
Breaking a soul tie requires intentional and purposeful actions. Establishing clear and firm boundaries is a fundamental step in severing the connection. By limiting contact and emotional engagement with the person involved, individuals can gradually weaken the tie and create space for personal growth.
Seeking professional support is another effective strategy to break a soul tie. Guidance from therapists or counselors provides valuable insights and coping strategies. Professional assistance can help individuals navigate the emotional challenges associated with breaking a soul tie, offering a structured and supportive environment for healing.
Redirecting energy toward personal growth is important in breaking free from a soul tie. Engaging in activities that promote individual well-being and create a sense of independence allows individuals to refocus their attention on their own growth and development. This redirection of energy is essential for breaking the emotional bonds of a soul tie and moving towards a healthier, more fulfilling life.
The last step I advise everyone to go through is the mourning period. My partner and I did our song and dance for years before I walked away. And I would be lying if I didn’t say that I mourned our relationship while I healed.
Recognizing the presence and nature of a soul tie in your relationship is crucial to understanding its impact on your well-being. Whether positive or negative, the intensity of a soul tie can shape the course of your personal growth and happiness. Breaking free from a negative soul tie demands intentional efforts, from setting clear boundaries to seeking professional support. Redirecting energy toward personal growth and allowing oneself a necessary mourning period are vital steps toward healing and liberation from the intricate ties that bind.
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