My name is Patrina Dixon. I am a Certified Financial Education Instructor, international speaker, and award winning author. I am also known as the It’$ My Money Lady. I am truly grateful for the opportunity afforded to me to facilitate four workshops to the young ladies of St Jude’s All Girls School in Trinidad. This was the second consecutive year that my team and I was able to create meaningful financial workshops for the school.
The workshops were on: banking, savings, budgeting, credit, and entrepreneurship. The young ladies were able to learn the differences between banks, credit unions, the various ways to save their money, and how compound interest works. They gained knowledge about the credit process in Trinidad, which is different from what we are used to in the United States.
Furthermore, the students learned about online saving options, the pro and cons of becoming an entrepreneur, and the steps they must take to properly set up a business. On the last day, they received program completion certificates and a custom autographed copy my book - It’$ My Money, which includes the logos of all of the Silver Sponsor and collaborators.
The St. Jude School For Girls Administration stated that “the It’$ My Money workshops were much needed life skills for the girls which are not of their current curriculum” and that remark lead to their decision to have the It’$ My Money workshop at St Jude’s on an annual basis.
Some of the verbal highlights from the girls included:
“Miss - These sessions were Lit”
“Thank you for coming to teach us this important stuff”
“I learned the difference between wants and needs”
“Now I know what a budget is”
“ Now I see how I am spending my money, I can stop spending on hair stuff and save more”.
“We need longer sessions”
Students from last year’s session dropped in and another attended the sessions. I noticed the amount of material she remembered and it was fantastic to witness! She had such a confidence about her when I asked questions. She knew the answers about this year’s topics that she didn’t know before attending the sessions year prior.
Each year, I was fortunate to bring one of my interns with me to Trinidad. In addition to their support during the workshops, the girls were able to see someone close to their own age: working hard, travel for their job, and realize how that can be possible for themselves as well. It helped the intern see a different school setting while having a hands on experience of learning how the same topics differ depending on where you are teaching and how you may have to pivot on a dime as you gain more knowledge about your audience.
We successfully collaborated with PylarrTT this year, who provided the snacks for the girls and contributed to the credit session. We were supported by our Silver Sponsors: Howard K Hill Funeral Services, Traveling Gentleman’s Boutique, KB Development, Attorney King-Wade, Mr. Floyd Green of Aetna, and many others who donated.
Last but certainly not least, none this would be possible if it was not for the efforts of Taniqua Huguley, Former U.S. Fulbright Scholar, Trinidad and Tobago. She and I connected, emailed, texted and spoke numerous times prior to the first year’s trip. I was there while she was still doing her research in Trinidad. Once she returned to the states, her kind efforts didn’t cease! As we secured the dates for our second visit, she was right on board. Our team work made the dream work. I am forever grateful to her.
Taniqua and I have been successful at helping St Jude’s School for Girls in Trinidad to see the value and benefit of the It’$ My Money financial workshops. We are proud to announce that the students will receive the workshops on an annual basis. It is truly humbling when something you love to teach is received so well.
Additional information about It'$ My Money workshops can be found at www.itsmymoneyjournal.info or on Instagram and Twitter:@itsmymoney_ and FB@itsmymoneyjournal and her podcast “The Money Exchange”.
Several people have asked me my thoughts on buying stock via Robinhood. I am a fan of it! Even if you don’t know much about investing in stocks, it is no problem as they make it very easy. Essentially, you purchase “shares” of a company, which means you own part of the company. Think about it, if you drink Starbucks coffee or wear Nike sneakers, why not own a piece of each of their companies? With Robinhood, you can invest commission - free form you phone or computer.
It is easy. You can do in a few simple steps:
1. Create a Robinhood account.
2. Connect your checking account
3. Transfer money from your checking account to your Robinhood account
4. Once that money is available in your Robinhood account, then buy stock.
You can buy as many shares of the stock you want. You can transfer more money when you want to buy more. There are robust definitions as well as question and answer sections.
Join Robinhood by clicking here and we'll both get a stock for like Apple, Ford or Sprint for free. You will need to use my link to get the free stock. You can also sign up for Robinhood snacks which is an email that provides you financial news on a daily basis.It may be good to customize or turn off your notification so that you will not be tempted to take action every time there is a change in the stock’s performance.
This is a personal assessment of the app. You should always do your research on any service or app you use and read up on the company before buying stocks and if need be, check with an expert if you have questions.
Let's talk credit scores. Why? Because it is a major factor in your approval and interest rates for loans and other types credit, being offered employment, rates on car insurance and so much more.
I hope you have received and reviewed one or all of your free credit reports. If not, I encourage you to do so. You can find details on how to get your reports on my last blog post, click here
What is a Credit Score?
It is a three-digit number that represents how you have paid back money you have borrowed or how you used credit that have been extended to you. It summarizes your full report into three digits using a percentage scale. You can obtain your credit scores from TransUnion, Equifax, and Experian. It is important to get your scores from each of these national credit bureaus. The reason why you need it from each as the scores may be different on each as they have different information about your credit history.
The FICO Credit Score:
• Created by Fair Isaac Corporation
• Used by most top lenders
• Ranges from 300 - 850.
• The lowest number represents a bad score and the highest number is a good score.
• A good credit score is 720 or above
It is important to note, there are other types of credit scores, such as Vantage (2.0 and 3.) and Plus, and they use a number range and/or a letter grade as the measurement.
Below are the factors that affect your score:
1. Payment history - 35%
This has the largest impact to your score; The secret to this one is simple - pay your bills on time!
2. Amount of debt or amount owed - 30%
This is the next largest impact to your score. Try not to have more credit card debt then you can afford. Work each month to pay the balance(s) in full. A good rule of thumb is to not owe more than 30% of your credit limit. If you have a credit card with a $500 credit limit, try not to carry more than $150 if any balance if any at all.
3. Length of Credit History - 15%
How long you have had each line of credit is taken into consideration.
4. New Credit - 10%
Opening up too many accounts around the same time is not a great thing. Try to refrain from opening cards just because you get a % off the purchase the day.
5. Types of Credit or Credit Mix - 10%
It is good to have different types of credit, such as credit cards, mortgage, and car loan. It is not required but if you have a good mix and paying them all time or paying the full balance then that is favorable to your credit score.
Here are a few apps where you can get your credit scores. When accessing your credit score from these apps be sure to know which the of score method they use.
2. Credit Karma
3. Creditwise by Capital one
4. Credit Sesame
Stay tuned for our next blog post on this topic, which will show you different scenarios of how good and bad credit score can impact you!
Conversations about credit often make people feel intimidated or confused. Here is some information to help you understand credit reports.
Your credit report contains:
Who maintains all of this data?
One or all of the three national credit bureaus:
Businesses can send credit data about you to one, two, or all three of the bureaus. The bureaus are the data receivers not validators. You should ensure the information is accurate at each bureau.
You may ask yourself, “since my credit report has so much information, how can I get a copy?” Glad you asked! You are entitled to a free credit report, every 12 months, from each of the three above credit bureaus. I encourage you to get a copy from each. Why? Oddly enough, one report may contain a line item that they other does not. I also encourage you to use the following strategy in getting your credit reports; get one from one of the three bureaus in January, in February get a copy from the next bureau and in March get a copy from the next bureau. Using this strategy will allow you to get all three reports, in three different months which maximizes how often you can see you credit history for free and not overwhelm you to thoroughly review each.
You can obtain your FREE credit report in one of three different ways:
You should check for things like:
You may ask yourself, “ What if something is incorrect on my credit report?”
Please note, if you get a dispute corrected with TransUnion, it will not correct the item on the Experian credit report. If the error is on another one of your credit reports, you will have to dispute it with that particular bureau.
Monitoring your reports regularly will also help you detect any identity theft.
Did you know that your credit report is reviewed:
Based on the information contained on your credit report, you are given a credit score. This score will determine if you are extended new credit, denied additional credit, credit limit reduced or extended credit at a higher interest rate.
Stay tuned for the next blog for more information on credit scores!
Need help, I am here, Contact
I recently heard that a Side Hustle was defined as things you enjoy doing for income in addition to your main source of income.
Nowadays, having a side hustle is very common. Some people have more than one, in addition to their main job or career. People have side hustles for many different reasons. One may be saving for something special like a vacation, paying for college, a wedding, honeymoon, or additional life events. Other people may have a side hustle for a consistent flow of income to supplement their main source.
Either way, the important keys to starting a side hustle are:
1. Taking an assessment of your skills! Most people have skills that can be beneficial to others.
2. Taking an assessment of things you have a passion for!
3. Finding ways to monetize them!
Here are some ideas:
Social Media Management
Baker (cupcakes, cakes, brownies)
The list can go on and on. This gives you a sense of things people are out here doing. They are making great income in which they can utilize for various reasons. For your side hustle, you can determine the amount of time you want to spend in each. It can be an hour a day, two hours a day, or four hours a week! You own your schedule.
Remember that you are using skills you already have and the things you enjoy doing!
"Create the highest, grandest vision possible for your life, because you become what you believe."
- Oprah Winfrey
There is always a lot of talk about vision boards around this time of the year. Several people host vision board events. Some people love them, and some people think it is a waste of time. However, vision boarding is the perfect first step to achieving your goals.
If you have goals for the upcoming year, then vision boarding is perfect for you.
Your goals may include:
As you can see, goals are things you want to accomplish. The vision board is simply the visual that you place in your home that frequently reminds of you of your plans and objectives for the year.
“The road to success is always under construction.”
Steps to Creating Your Vision Board:
After you’re done putting together your vision board, review it to ensure you have a picture for all of your 2019 goals. Hang the vision board somewhere so it will be a constant visual reminder of what you are set out to accomplish in the next 365 days.
I hope you have created or will create a vision board. Hang it up and start to execute the steps to see your goals manifest.
Let’s rock in 2019!!!
It is nearing the end of the year and some companies give holiday bonuses. If you get a bonus and you are trying to think what to do with it, you are probably saying to yourself “I worked hard all year, so I am treating myself.” I agree! Treat yourself to some stock.
Don’t know much about investing in stocks, no problem. You basically purchase “shares” of a company, which means you own part of the company. Think about it, you drink Starbucks coffee or wear Nike sneakers why not own a piece of each of their companies.
You can do that in a few easy steps:
1. Click here to create a Robinhood account.
2. Connect your checking account
3. Transfer money to your Robinhood account
4. Once that money is available in your Robinhood account, then buy stock.
You can buy as many shares of the stock you want. You can transfer for money when you need to buy more.
Join Robinhood and we'll both get a stock like Apple, Ford, or Sprint for free. Make sure you use my link to get the free stock.
Notifications: It may be good to customize or turn off the regular notifications so that you would not be tempted to take action everytime there is a change in the stock’s performance. .
I had the wonderful opportunity to attend FinCon18 earlier this year. It was held in Orlando, FL. This was, by far, the best conference I have attended for my business. I met so many wonderful people and learned so much on how to grow my business and how to broaden my reach.
Once I checked into the hotel, freshened up and headed to the registration table. I got my name badge and pins. It was official - I was at FinCon18!!! I was ready to learn.
I had 3 goals:
1. Meet as many people I can can.
2. Get ideas to monetize both the It'$ My Money blog and The Money Exchange podcast
3. Learn how to grow my client base.
Ok now it is time to grab a bite to eat. Not really knowing anyone there, I went to each lunch alone. I sat down and as I was looking over the menu, then Madame Money walked in. She and I followed each other but had never met in person. We ended up eating lunch together.
Soon it was time for the first timers orientation. I said “this will help me understand what to expect, I can take notes (I am a big note-taker) and then I will be a set for the rest of the conference”. No, no, no when I finally found the room the orientation was being held in I opened the door and there was standing room only. It was overwhelming. There were so many first timers in the room. Oh no, I can’t take notes, I can’t hear, I can’t see who is speaking as there were people taller standing in front of me.
Then someone said the facilitator wants us to introduce ourselves and that broke the ice for me. I actually got excited as this gave an opportunity for me to share who I was and why I was there and to hear the same from those standing near me. Once I finished the initial introduction I turned to the person on my other side and to the next person and continued the introductions for several people. I began to feel more comfortable. I was in my lane!!
Now, I had to rethink goal #1 because there were so many people there that I wished I had done more homework and had a strategy for meeting people and doing more pre-planning for connections. That said, I actually met a lot of people. Many I have stayed in contact with and plan to work with in the future.
Later that evening were the Big Idea and Keynote speeches. I made my way to the front and found a seat - I was ready to learn. Minutes later the one and only Jean Chatzky came and sat down right next to me. Yes, she and I chatted and took a picture together. Now I am even more excited. Then the action began, “The Big Idea” came from they dynamic duo Talaat & Tai McNeely of His and Her Money. Their story was great. They took us on a journey and all were engaged the entire time. Then Jean Chatzky spoke, told her story and she introduced her new venture - Her Money. Next up was Rachel Cruze. If you don't know her she is the daughter of Dave Ramsey. Rachel was very good and such a great storyteller. She took us on the journey from when she use to go around with her dad to her going to remote places for speaking engagements, for free, as she was growing her brand.
I was a little tired so I headed back to my room and went through the conference booklet and it was jammed packed with tons of tips to help grow your business.
Over the next few days, I attended so many breakout sessions that aligned to the goals I wanted to accomplish. The facilitators were awesome and freely shared information and took pictures. I took so many notes. I was fortunate to have some great impromptu meetings and a really good mastermind in the dining area.
The Plutus Awards was also a big hit. The event was set up like the award shows you see on TV. Very well attended. It was great to see the faces behind a lot of the podcasts and blogs that I follow. It was also great to see other colleagues cheered on the award winners.
The last day we were favored by “The Big Idea” from Emma Johnson and Mr Money Mustache and PT followed by the Keynote delivered by the one and only Chris Hogan. It was such a great way to end a fabulous conference. I have been talking about FinCon since I left. I was so motivated to do more in my business. I tried to pour all I learned into the It’$ My Money team. I have encouraged others in the financial space to attend FinCon19.
I collected so many business cards. I have made so made connections with people I met and I look forward to engaging with even more. Did I mention the swag, I have more swag then I can tell you about. Some of the booths gave me a t-shirt for my husband as well. I also had the wonderful opportunity to be interviewed by Jared of the Podcast Movement. I also spoke to the companies that I wanted to partner with or be an affiliate of. I truly enjoyed my first FinCon experience.
My advice for those considering FinCon19:
1. Do it! You will not regret it. Plan for it now. The dates are September 4th-7th in Washington, DC.
2. Book your hotel room as soon as you get the information. The rooms go fast.
3. Prior to attending the conference, use the FinCon app to engage with attendees, learn more about them and potentially set-up time to meet.
4. Wear comfortable clothes and shoes. If you want to bring awareness to your brand, do like I did and wear your brand on your shirt. I know everyone at FinCon18 saw It’$ My Money was in the house.
5. Consider getting the virtual pass as there are so many sessions that you will want to attend and some will happen at the same time and you can’t be at two places at one time.
6. Have business cards with your email address, phone number and picture. This will help people remember you when they get back home and sort through everything they collected..
7. Network, network, network. Meet new people. It is great to see and be with those that you know but you already know them. Use this opportunity to expand your network. I read somewhere: net worth = network.
8. When you get home, or maybe the next day, go through everything you collected - the business cards, materials and swag and make meaning connections. Again, net worth = network.
We are all starting or planning to shop for the holidays. Just thinking about those fantastic Thanksgiving meals with family and fun Christmas gatherings makes me smile inside and out.
It is important to plan for each of the things or categories you will spend money on during this “overspending” season. One way that can help you plan your spending is using the It’$ My Money Budget Envelopes.
There are 4 easy steps to use the envelopes:
1. Determine the categories that you need to spend money on. Examples:
• Thanksgiving food shopping
• Thanksgiving decorating shopping
• Black Friday Shopping
• Cyber Monday shopping
• Christmas shopping (you can even use a different envelope for each family member or one for people from work)
2. Create an envelope for category
3. Set the amount you will spend on each category
4. Get that set amount of cash out the bank and put in its envelope.
The key is not to spend anymore on that category than what you have set and put in the envelope. Be sure this amount(s) are also included in your overall budget.
Click here to sign up for our newsletter and get a free set of the It'$ My Money budget envelopes.
If the budgeting envelopes are not ideal for you, no problem, you can download a free, editable It'$ My Money Budget Sheet that can help you as well. The key is to not blow your overall budget by not planning for the upcoming expenses.
Need help staying on tracking with your spending plan? You can work directly with me by clicking here.
Enjoy the holidays, Patrina
Some may say it is too early, but this month is a great time to start mapping out 4th quarter spending. This is one of the most expensive quarters of the year, and for many it includes extensive holiday shopping for both dinners and gifts.
Easy Ways to Save for the Holidays
The holidays are a special time of year for sharing good cheer, great food and generous gifts with the ones we love. But before you head over to the nearest shopping mall or plan that extravagant holiday party, consider how you could save some cash this holiday season.
Here are a few ways to keep your spending in order from now through December:
1. Set a holiday spending budget
When it comes to the word “budget” many people often think of complicated spreadsheets and restrictions, but that doesn’t have to be the case. A budget will help you set boundaries on your spending and ensure there no surprises at the end of the year. No matter how big or small your holiday spending budget, make sure it is realistic. Shop around to find the best price for what you are looking for.
2. Plan your shopping-make a list
Shopping for the ones you love may lead to overspending. To help avoid going over budget make a shopping list. On your list include the individuals you plan to shop for and a budget for each person. This will also help you narrow down who really needs a gift and who could receive a special phone call or card instead. You can actually get very granular and add the actual gift to leave no room for overspending.
3. Start early
Many holiday deals start following Veterans’ Day. This year in the US Veteran’s day will be observed on November 12th. Don’t miss out on savings by waiting until the last minute to do your shopping. Starting early will help you stick to your shopping list and allow you to shop around for the best deal.
4. Unused gift cards
Check in your wallet to see if you have either unused gift card or several with small balances. These may be a way you can fund a gift. Example: Small balances on several Starbucks gift cards may be enough to get a gift for a coworker.
Remember, making your money stretch during the holidays comes down to preparation. If you set your budget, make a plan and start early you can avoid excessive spending and bring in the New Year stress free when it comes to your money.
Lastly, a great gift to help encourage young people to be more financially literate, is my book It’$ My Money... A guided journal to help your finances. Click here to purchase your copy.
Need more tips on making your money work for you? Sign up for the It’$ My Money™ Newsletter.
Write something about yourself. No need to be fancy, just an overview.