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(My husband, Superman and I are working on our 1st baby (still trying). I keep having dreams about her, so I decided to prepare the way…)

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Dear Layla,

There’s so much I want to share with you. There’s so much I want to protect you from, especially relating to the way you navigate your financial life. There’s a prison that the majority of us live in every day. I am not talking about being locked away in a physical prison, but about the mental prison called debt. It can drain the joy out of life, it can keep you from your dreams and destroy relationships.

Why am I telling you this?

While you’re young you’ll feel invincible.

You’ll feel there’s an entire lifetime to figure things out. You won’t understand how the decisions you make today have a huge impact on your tomorrow.

And that’s okay. It’s my job to guide you.

I know it’s not easy having a mother that’s a financial educator. You may believe that my frugal ways keep you from the things you “need”. While you’re young, you may not understand some of the decisions I make, but as you grow older, you will. It’s my job to protect you, and some of the greatest pain I have ever felt was as a direct or indirect result of poor financial choices.

I have seen friendships of over 20 years break up over finances, marriages torn apart, people bring harm to themselves or others over money… Lives literally shattered over debt.

As a financial educator, the one thing I hear the most is that they wish they were given the financial tools they needed sooner. With that being said, I want to pass down a few words of wisdom to you in this letter.


 

The key is moderation….

As you know, I love nice things as much the next person, but I can AFFORD them vs. just PAYING for them. How? Because I understand moderation.

At age 23 I was a preschool teacher making $39,000/year. I managed to save over $40,000 in 2 years, by NOT giving into every retail marketing campaign…

I bought my 1st home on my own without my parents at age 25 with an 802 credit score by using the $40,000 I’d saved, and by NOT giving into my desire to keep up with my friends…

Unless you’re Donald Trump’s daughter and a “small” loan equates to one million dollars, you will have to save for things.

Although I won’t be giving you a loan of one million dollars, I’ll be giving you something even better; knowledge from my life experiences. This is the knowledge my parents passed down to me and now I’m passing it on to you.


 

Here’s what I want you to always remember:

 

#1. Know Your Self-Worth. In the wise words of Iyanla Vanzant, “Comparison is an act of violence against the Self”. Keeping up with the Jones and over-prioritizing material possessions will never bring you happiness.

Companies create BILLION DOLLAR marketing campaigns that will eat you up and spit you out. Their purpose is to make you feel like you can’t possibly be happy without the next, new “it” gadget, shoes, cars, and clothes. Yet the sad truth is the people who try and keep up with passing trends often end up going broke and unhappy.

You can not buy happiness. It’s cultivated within. Click To Tweet.

Don’t let what you see on TV or social media distract you from your purpose. When you know your self-worth you won’t need to find it in a pair of shoes, new clothes, and excessive spending.

Clarity: I am not against nice things… WE have nice things. I just want you to steer clear of “things” that don’t appreciate in financial or emotional value. Those things literally take away from your future.

When you know your self-worth, you’ll learn that money is just one of the tools you can use to pursue your real passion and goals, not the goal itself.

When you know your self-worth, you’ll learn that money is a tool, not the goal. Click To Tweet

 

#2 Use Technology to Save. You may not realize just how fortunate your generation is. You have endless technology at your disposal. There was a time when I had to physically go to a bank to manage my money; that’s not so for you.

The hardest part of saving is having the resolve to put away money before spending it. Take the thinking part out of the equation and let technology help you. Choose a percent to save every time you get paid, 20% is a good place to start. Schedule automatic transfers to your savings.

Start these savings habits early on and your money will grow abundantly. Here’s a savings tool I like because it’s automated, easy and fun, Digit.

 

#3 Build Good Credit. Your credit score will determine so many things in your life. My excellent credit didn’t happen overnight; it took time and discipline. When you go to buy a home or simple things like a cell phone plan, your credit score will determine how expensive the process will be for you. An innocent late payment can become a major setback for you, so stay focused. I have helped women in my classes go from a 400 credit score to a credit score of 700+.

Here’s a free tool that I’ve used and shared with your aunties. It helps you to understand why your score is the number it is and how to raise it, Credit Sesame.

 

#4 Get a Mentor. You don’t need to be an expert in everything. When I wanted to get in better physical shape I knew nothing about fitness, so I invested in a personal trainer. It’s the same with finances. If you need help, find someone who knows their stuff. Even though I’m in the industry, I still have financial advisors. As your mom and a financial educator, of course I will help you with this too.

 

#5 Be Less Impulsive. Always shop smart and sleep on big purchases. When we vacation as a family we spend as much as 50% less than people who are in the exact same resorts and flights because I hunt for deals and use cash back programs on free sites like Groupon and Ebates. These opportunities for savings can easily be overlooked if you rush to a decision. Persistence + patience = savings.

 

#6 Diversify and Start Investing Early. Last, but not least, never put all your eggs in one basket. Multiple sources of income are essential. I lost my job at 29 and by 30 years old I was back at home living with grandma and grandpa. I couldn’t find another job and I ran through all of my savings. It was only then I realized the significance of earning money in multiple ways.

The average American millionaire has 7-streams of income. The more ways you can create income streams, the better. If you take anything away from this lesson, know that no job is guaranteed. Build up your savings cushion and have a fall back plan for income.

Also, start investing early. There is always a learning curve with every new skill you acquire. Investing may seem confusing at first, but with practice, you’ll get the hang of it. Start with free resources like this free, personalized investment plan from Ellevest.

Remember, the earlier you start, the less you have to invest to build wealth.


 

One more thing: I want you to know how proud I am of you. I’ve been proud of you since the minute you were born. You will always have me by your side.

Mommy is not perfect. I have had plenty of struggles, but I have learned from them. Know that I’ve rebounded from rock bottom. At 32 years old I had a NEGATIVE net worth of over $300,000 (mortgage, credit cards, student loans). Now at age 38, my net worth is 7-figures.

The journey has not been easy, but it has been worth it.

You will get knocked down in life. There’s no question about that. It’s how you get back up that counts.

Love Always,
Mommy


Hey Dream Catcher, thank you for taking the time to read my letter to Layla. Please forward it to a young woman you know. Together we can change the direction our younger “sisters” take by simply showing up and sharing.

A heartfelt letter for young women about money, self-worth, and purpose. Click To Tweet

 

Also, I created a number of free, financial resources with my sisters, future daughter and you in mind; the Live Richer Challenges. These FREE, online, financial challenges were made to help women achieve their financial goals with daily, step-by-step guidance, patience, and love.

There are over 600,000 Dream Catchers (members) that have already used the Challenges to work toward a better life. Choose one and join us here: LIVE RICHER CHALLENGES.

 

Do you have any advice for Layla or feedback on my letter? I’d love to hear from you in the comments.


 

My Lisa Rule: I have 4 sisters and Lisa is the baby (well she’s not a baby anymore). Of all of my sisters, I’m the most protective of her. Before I share any product or service with you, it must pass my Lisa Rule.

What’s the Lisa Rule? Lisa is a Dream Catcher and follows the advice I give here as well. If I would not advise Lisa to use a product or service, I won’t advise you to. YOU are my Lisas. I feel protective of you and your financial journey.

All of the resources I mention above pass my Lisa Rule. Some of the tools are also affiliate partners, but I would not recommend a product or service that I didn’t believe was helpful and useful.

 

 
  • Nafeesah Leverett

    This was so touching and heart felt. Thank you God for allowing Tiffany to help, guide and counsel us through our financial journey. We are blessed to have you Tiff and your daughter will be grateful for this.

    • Thank you @nafeesahleverett:disqus ! I’m blessed to be a blessing.

  • Kristal

    It’s funny my middle daughter’s name is Leila too. I was thinking of was to starting teaching her about budgeting and saving. This is the perfect way to begin. I wish I had these tools with my oldest daughter. But, I did teach her about budgeting and using coupons. She is so happy I did. I will also include the advice I got from my grandparents, parents and other family members, which is always have a separate account you spouse doesn’t know about or name isn’t on. I glad I did when I went into a bad divorce. The second time around doing the same thing, but had the beneficiary be our kids and got his signoff on that in writing. Also, I tell my daughters don’t give your money away easily to no one. Make sure you can afford and love the items you buy if it is outside food, shelter and medical.

  • Blondell Scott-Young

    First , I would like to say thanks for sharing, all your wisdom, experience and knowledge, have learn so much being a dream catcher know will learn more being apart of the live richer academy. This touch my heart, have a 24 year old daughter who has some struggles that I will share your letter with also expecting my first grand daughter in June, that I will save your letter for with my own words of wisdom and knowledge. Pray for you to received your desire for a healthy bundle of joy.
    Question what happens if Layla happens to be a Superman Jr. if nothing is in the oven already. You are a great blessing.

    • Thank you and I’ll be happy whatever I’m blessed with, boy or girl. This advice is still the same.

      It’s just that a little girl keeps visiting me in my sleep.

      • Blondell Scott-Young

        When the time comes you will be blessed with a beautiful/handsome bundle of joy, maybe twins. (smile)

  • Catrina

    This is so beautiful and necessary. I have a daughter who is 11 and I do not want her to make the same financial decisions I have made. I am slowly digging myself out of debt and increasing my credit score as well and want her and her brothers to have the financial freedom that I did not have in my twenties. Kudos to you for penning this letter to Layla. I am sure that she will appreciate it!

  • Abike Talent Company, AbikeFil

    Your mother is so genuinely the truth Ms. Layla. Most of all discover your gift. Your gift will make room for you and bring you before great people, and it’s your character that will keep you there.
    Layla, when you discover your gift, talent, and purpose please by all means use it for good. The world has enough bad, we need light. We need good.
    And Layla, listen to your mother, her words of wisdom will be precious jewel around your neck!!!!
    And if you heed them, they will keep you!!!
    Auntie,
    Abike O. Washington

    • Thank you Abike! I know she’ll cherish your beautiful advice.

  • Elizabeth MJ

    Layla, your mom has been a blessing to countless women, including myself. Always remember, personality is what others say or think about you but character is what you define for yourself.

  • khadijatu lindsay

    This was so beautiful and brought me to tears. It’s my prayer that my daughter will also learn from my mistakes and will supersede everything I do. Thank you Tiffany for sharing this with us. God bless you and your family😘

    • You’re very welcome @@khadijatulindsay:disqus . God bless you too.

  • Charmaine Boulieu

    You’re an awesome young woman Tiffany and I’m so grateful that our paths crossed. This letter to Layla is sincere and honest. It is heartfelt. Your daughter will cherish your advise and pass it on to her own child/ren. Thank you for being such a caring, kind, selfless Budgetnista…May God’s peace and protection be with you and your family forever and ever.

  • Kelley

    Hi Tiffany,

    I’m glad that I stumbled on your information. I thank you for your words of wisdom. I wished my family had given me the financial tools about saving, credit and student loan debt. None the less, I’m working towards a few goals of my own this year to alleviate the burden that I’ve placed on myself in terms of debt. I’m learning everyday to do better. The saying is if you know better you do better. I hope is that one day when I have children; I will be able to share my burdens of financial woes and ensure they have a better financial future and not follow in my mistakes.

    • You know and are doing better, so will your children now. 😉

  • Nicole

    What a beautiful letter! You’re future daughter will be so blessed to have you as her mother! Peace & blessings to you and Superman. May your dreams of your daughter come to fruition soon.

  • Stacey Humbert

    Thank you so much for sharing real life,
    your letter to Layla touched my heart..god bless you and your Superman. Your going to me a wonderful mother. My goal is to fix my credit, your tools are so helpful so far I have saved 900.00 dollars in my savings this year. Self discipline and I’m a SHOE GIRL.. I’m determined to stay focused never own a major credit card, my bad credit comes from bills,(no medical bills) I’m working to put my life in order because I do believe in happier ever after, Stacey

    • Yes! I love your progress Stacy. Thank you for your kind words.

  • Veronica Kelsey

    Tiffany this was an awesome letter thanks for sharing

  • Lee

    Beautiful and inspirational. Thank you for sharing and giving so much of yourself.

  • Chanel Elizabeth

    Awesome exactly what u stated is how ive felt the past 10 years and if i have children i would write the same letter! 😢😭

  • Zia Bellaz

    Impressive! Inspirational ! Debt Free Within 6 Years! 🙂 😉

    • Thank you @Zia@ziabellaz:disqus . It was a JOURNEY and hard at times, but possible.

  • TheSavvyAccountant

    I loved reading your letter to Layla, Tiffany! It was beautiful and had so many important advice. You are definitely my mentor in my head and I am so grateful I found you! I am praying you get to meet Layla soon and she can get to see how awesome her mommy truly is!

  • Delores A Rocker

    Tiffany how wonderful your thoughts and teachings, so many times I’ve started the process and have fallen in, but yet continue toshow my daughter a better way, there are some mental obstacles that block the way, which also causes discuss, the motivation and tools are great my time is winding down for college, but my physical health situation holds me back from taking on the streams of income I would like to challenge. I will share this letter with my daughter and sons, they will definitely move forward to secure a more financial understanding through your words.
    Thank you Queen

    • Thank you for your kind words @de@Disqus2018:disqus ! I truly appreciate them.

      I know that Challenge can help you.

  • MyLadyToYou

    I’m still young with young ones. I’m taking your advice and I’m trying to get my life together so that we can all live more abundant lives. Not just wisely or financially but happily without worry. These are great words and I love he name you choose for her. This is great advice. I pray the Lord blesses you with twins! Thank you for sharing this with us!

  • Jessica Oneal

    This is such a beautful letter.. I love that you wrote a letter to her. So many children out here needs to hear these words. If it wasnt for your group and books i would be still looking for the financail tools to get me to where im at today. So thanks Tiff! You will make a wonderful mom.

  • Sally Russell

    Hi Tiffany these are beautiful words of wisdom to your unborn princess I have two princesses in my life and I hope I will be able to be this wise to stir them the right way physically, spiritually, mentally, and financially you are wise beyond your years. 😍😘😍😘😍😘😍😘😍😘😍😘

    • That’s beautiful @@disqus_9P5GFM3OZK:disqus . Thank you.

  • Connie D. Coleman

    Hi Tiffany,
    Thank you for sharing your letter to your future daughter. She is going to be such a luck little girl to have you as her mom. I appreciate all of your helpful tools for us. Even though I’m stuck and just can’t seem to get over my procrastination I’m still determined to succeed. Continued blessings to you and Superman.

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