Homeownership Guidance, Advice and Blogs

As the Director of Affiliate Relations at HomeFree-USA, I’ve always been fascinated with how people handle their money. Like everyone else, I’ve had my financial ups and downs. In fact, it took me 32 months to pay off $32,000 in credit card bills and build up a six-month emergency fund. While that was a very difficult period, I am grateful – and wiser -- for the experience.

Through my personal experiences and working at HomeFree-USA, I’ve gained a ton of insight that I feel compelled to share. You’ll find those lessons here. Feel free to take the thoughts and ideas that resonate with you most and put aside the rest for later. I look forward to sharing my journey.

It’s raining Purple Lemonade

Last week was a doozy. Between Harriett Tubman being placed on the $20 bill, Prince’s untimely passing, and the unveiling of Beyonce’s Lemonade, I was spent! In the span of a few days, we paid homage to a woman who carried so many to freedom, celebrated the life of an incredibly talented artist who played by his own rules and were taken in by another entertainer’s visual album about turning lemons into lemonade. Whew!

Here’s what this has to do with you and your money:

1.  Surprising for such a great businessman, Prince did not leave a will. So who gets the estimated $300 million he left behind?

Since he wasn’t married nor had any children at the time of his passing, Prince’s closest living relative is his sister Tyka, who stands to inherit those millions, along with royalties from future record sales (he’s already made a ton of money from music downloads since last Thursday). BUT while Tyka is his only full sibling, they have 5 living half-siblings and in Minnesota there’s no legal difference between full and half. So regardless of who he would have liked to get what, all 6 are entitled to his money (she’s agree to comply with this law).

What This Means For You:   Whether you have $3 or $300 million, create a will so everyone can be clear on your wishes for your money, home, car, etc. Barring any major complications, multiple properties in several states, businesses or the like, you can do what I did and use a site like legalzoom.com or uslegalforms.com to file. Note that a will is based on state law, so you have to update it if you move to another state.

2.  Prince was notoriously private and likely wouldn’t be pleased that his personal affairs are now available for the world to see. He could have controlled that by creating an estate plan with a trust, which keeps his court records sealed.

What this means for you:  Wills are public record, which means that when you pass away anyone can see how much and to whom you’re leaving money behind. If you’d prefer to keep that private, there are options that you can speak to an attorney about.

3.  Harriett Tubman helped thousands escape to freedom, but has been quoted as saying she could have helped thousands more had they known they were enslaved. Today, it is fitting that she is being honored on our money.

What this means for you:   Make sure you’re in control of your money, and not enslaved to allowing consumerism, other people’s issues or even ego get in the way of taking financial care of yourself, your spouse and kids.

4.  Beyonce did a masterful job conveying the complexity that comes with being a woman. Between love, parenting, career and looking flawless, we have a lot on our plate.

What this means for you:   According to the Center for American Progress, for every dollar earned by a non-Hispanic white man in America, white women earn $.79, black women earn $.60 and Hispanic women earn $.55 for the same work. Beyonce knows her value and she gets paid for it. So the next time you’re up for a promotion or new job, make sure you do your research and ask for the same salary as your male counterparts. Whatever that may be, I’m sure your employer will get more than their money’s worth.

#RIPPrince. Thank you, Ms. Tubman. Continue to slay, ladies.

And so it is.