Let’s face it, times are tough in the midst of this COVID crisis. Millions have lost their jobs and more people are worried about their money. No matter how young you are, now is the time to boss up and get serious about how you treat your coins. That’s why I chatted with Jacquette M. Timmons. She is a Black female powerhouse whose role as a financial behaviorist and CEO of Sterling Investment Management has earned her features with the world’s biggest media brands: Black Enterprise, CNN, NPR and more!
Timmons shared her tips to help young people get better with money. This info is right on time considering that it’s tax return season and most of us have a stimulus check coming our way.
TrueStar.Life: You have been described as a financial behaviorist. Tell us what that means.
Jacquette M. Timmons: I focus on people’s behavior, choices, and motivations behind money. I get them to understand how we relate to money, how we view its role in our lives and have that manifest in the choices that we make. That’s what I help people get a better grasp on, “Why do you do what you do?”
TSL: How has your advice about money changed the lives of others? Specifically, those in ethnic communities?
JMT: It’s changed lives in a few different ways. First, I do not like the term “financial literacy,” because money is a language. If you are learning Spanish or French, you don’t say, “I’m taking a Spanish literacy class.” You just say, “I am studying Spanish.” Money is its own language. We are taught about it through our families, our environment, and eventually on our own.
One of the ways I’ve had an impact, especially on ethnic communities, is getting them to understand that they already know how to handle money. There’s nothing wrong you. I also teach them that no matter how much money they have, never think that other people have more access to knowledge than you.
TSL: What would you say is the biggest mistake that young people ages 15-24 make with their money?
JMT: Believing that time is money. You can’t make more hours in a day. We can’t control that. You use time, but you can’t replace that. You can always control and replace money. If young people understood that, they would treat their time and money differently.
TSL: Can you give us some tips on what we should do with our money right now in order to make the most of it and even see it grow?
JMT: Save it! One of the things that we see with younger folks is not starting small. If they can get in the habit of saving 10 percent every time they get paid, that develops their muscle of saving. Regardless of what’s going on in life. That also gets you into the habit of not thinking that your entire paycheck is meant to be spent however you want to. [Laughs].
Savings will not happen unless you are intentional about it. If you develop that habit now while you’re young, then it is likely to be something you will continue moving forward.
TSL: Tax return season is upon us right now. It’s so tempting to take the refund and go crazy with it. What do working youth in Chicago need to remember when it comes to managing their own cash?
JMT: Save 70 percent, give 10 percent away if you donate and use another 10 percent to buy yourself something special that you’ve been waiting for. Do whatever the heck you please with the rest.
How to make money is the easy part. Being disciplined and knowing how to keep it is the real challenge. With all the craziness of 2020, let’s agree to be smarter when it comes to our coins.
By Marilyn Koonce, Northern Illinois University Alumna