Have the money talk: because your kids are watching

Over the past wimage1(8)eekend, if you follow me on Twitter or Instagram, you will know that I have been posting pictures from this weekend’s UNCF Mayor’s Masked Ball. I have to admit, I really did have a great time.  But more importantly, I was honored to be my dad’s guest.  And yes, these days we may not spend as much time as we should (I know dad, I will do better lol), but the time we do share I really do treasure.

As I reflect on our time together this weekend, there is one thing I will be forever grateful to my dad for. He was my first boss!

Many may know my father, James Roy Washington, Jr.  He is a well-known architect and co-owns Hewitt Washington & Associates with Mr. Lonnie Hewitt.  His designs gracefully cover the city of New Orleans. And as a teenager, when I decided I too wanted to be an architect, he quickly took me under his wings and employed me at his firm but he had another position in mind.

From architect to accountant

At that time, instead of working as an architect intern, I was given major responsibilities to carry out the accounting duties of the firm.  At the age of sixteen, I was meeting with many businessmen and learning about the “ins and outs” of a business.  One of my most important encounters was to meet with another CPA, Mr. Michael Bruno, Jr., who later became one of my mentors.

Your kids are watching you

While these little opportunities did not seem much to him or to myself while I was growing up, it plays a big part now for siblings and I.  I know that it was my experience as his accountant that helped me to get my finances in order after college and purchase my first home at 23 and learn how to create wealth.  Still to this day, my brother and I meet regularly to discuss business just as we did back when we would meet at my dad’s office!

If you have children, nieces and nephews, or a younger generation looking up to you, take time to have the “money talk” with them.  Teach them about saving for their future, building wealth, student loan management and tackling day-to-day finances.  And while my dad and I never had an official “money talk,” there were some things that I observed unknowingly that has continued to help me today.

Remember: your choice, your future!

Kemberley Washington is a professor at Dillard University and CPA.  She is the author of The Ten Commandments to a Financial Healing.

Are your finances out of order?

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The true way to conquer finances is first to get a handle on it all.  How can you be victorious in this area if you simply do not know whom you owe, how much is coming and simply how much is going out?

Each month we are bombarded with bills in our inbox, smartphone, or mail. And of course with anything, without having a sound system in place, we can easily be overwhelmed.  If your bills have gotten the best of you, here are few steps to help manage your monthly bills.

Create a system

Having a system for your bills is key. A great idea is to pay your bills according to your pay schedule. For example, if you are paid on the 1st and 15th, you may want to pay your bills on the same dates. Let’s say for instance if a bill is due on the 7th, paying this bill on the 1st will not only reduce late fees, but also give you peace of mind knowing this bill has already been paid.

Establish a financial home

For each financial document that comes into your possession, create a place for it.  This may require setting up file folders for tax expenses, bank statements, insurance, monthly bills and other financial documents that you may encounter.  This way, if you are in need of a document for tax or insurance purpose or simply need to verify income for a loan request, these items can be easily accessible to help you in your financial journey.

Prepare a bill calendar or go auto

It doesn’t matter where or how, but writing your bills and due dates somewhere visible can help you better manage your bills. Consider using a bill calendar or checklist to really get a handle on your bills.  Additionally, it may also be a great idea to set up auto payments for recurring bills to ensure your payments are made timely.

Remember: your choice, your future!

Kemberley Washington is a professor at Dillard University and certified public accountant.  Follow her on Twitter or connect with her FaceBook.

Is money causing strife between your spouse, family or partners?

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No matter if it is a business partner, family member, or significant other, money is often cited as the major cause of divorces, business failures and of course family feuds!

This is often the case, when one partner hides assets, opens “secret bank accounts” or simply spends without letting the other person know!

So, how should money be handled in relationships?

First thing, before entering any type of relationship that involves money, you need to have a money discussion.

For (potential) spouses: Discuss financial affairs such as how situations will be treated in the event an in-law needs to borrow money.  Determine how financial affairs will be handled, such as whether there will be one account or two. 

For business partners: Discuss how profits will be shared? How long will cash be held in the business? What will happen in the event a partner decides he wants to buy out?

How will this person be compensated?

Before entering a relationship, you have to come clean concerning your finances.  This means discussing past bankruptcies, financial mistakes, and/or credit issues.  It is not a good idea to discuss this for the first time while applying for a loan.  Come clean concerning current assets you own and more importantly who you owe as well.  This way, both parties can decide whether they have a desire to move forward concerning pursuing a relationship or take an alternative route.

Doing this beforehand can prevent financial infidelity. 

Both parties must be involved

One of the quickest ways to financial infidelity is one of the partners leaving the financial affairs to the other partner to handle.  For instance, at tax time, it is a good idea for both spouses and/or business partners to review their tax returns instead of leaving it to one person who may be better at handling the finances.  Both partners should review income and expenses to determine where funds are being generated.  This is also the case in business relationships.  All business partners involved should be involved in financial affairs. 

Make observations

Lastly, if you suspect your business/marriage partner has secret bank accounts and assets, be proactive.  Observe spending habits and become more involve concerning your finances.  This may take scheduling a date each month concerning your finances or seeking the help of a financial advisor or CPA.

Kemberley Washington is a certified public accountant and the author of The Ten Commandments to a Financial Healing.