Real, Honest Advice for College Grads #MoneyMonday

If you’re a member of the collegiate class of 2014 you’ve most likely wrapped up your final exams, donned your cap and gown, and walked across the stage to receive your degree (as long as those parking tickets were paid.)

Most likely, you also sat through a somewhat inspirational, borderline boring and almost certainly cookie cutter keynote speech in which some notable person implored you to shoot for the stars.

Whether the speech fired you up or simply served as an opportunity to take a few more graduation selfies, that type of speech was probably appropriate for that occasion.

Now, it’s time for you to get some REAL advice.

The skills that got you through school aren’t the same skills that will lead you to success in life. You’re going to have to think differently if you ever want to pay those student loans back in a reasonable amount of time.

Since my invite to speak at your graduation must have gotten lost in the mail, I’ve put my best tips for you (the recent grad) and for the no-so-recent grad to implement to enhance your chance at success in today’s environment.

Understand WHO You Work For

The idea of having a “career” is cute, but it doesn’t exist anymore. Face it, your parents had “careers”, but you won’t.

Pensions are a thing of the past. No one goes to work for a company for 40 years and then has the company pay them for the rest of their lives.

Because there are no more pensions, you and you alone are responsible for your retirement. This means, you better get good at managing your money…fast.

Because of these major shifts in business, you no longer work for a company.

Everyone is their own business now. You work for yourself. Period. You are not a businessman, you’re a business…man (thanks Jay-Z), your “boss” is your client.

Now, a business with only one client is a business that can go out of business any day. Do you think it’s smart to run a business and serve only one client? No? Well why are your running your business that way?

Think differently.

Understand WHY You’re Working

I’m sorry, but I have to tell you something. It IS about the money.

If we agree that you are a business, then just like any other business, your obligation is to make as much profit for your shareholders (you and you family) as possible.

I’ve said before that you’re probably in a race to save $2.5 million as soon as you can, so that you can live on at least $100,000 in retirement.

With that goal in your mind, are you going to sit around and wait for your boss to give you a 3% raise this year? I doubt it.

You’ll Be Successful WHEN You Stop Waiting for Permission

College was very regimented. You knew what you had to do to succeed. Write your paper. Cram for your exam. Rinse and repeat.

In real life, there is no guidance counselor to make a success schedule for you. In fact, outside of your spouse, your parents and your dog, no one cares if you are successful or not.

It you’re waiting on someone to “discover” you, pick you, promote you or tell you its ok to do something great…you’re going to be waiting for quite sometime.

Most people W.A.I.T because they’re too busy asking themselves Who Am I To…? (See what I did there?) You know how it goes:

“Who Am I To truly enjoy what I do everyday?”

‘Who Am I To be this good looking?”

“Who Am I To give other people advice when I’ve made my own mistakes?”

Get over it. You deserve it as much as the next person. It’s action that determines who gets the spoils.

But wait, there’s more…

For the rest of my golden rules for college grads check out this week’s #MoneyMonday video (above) where I’ll tell you two major things that will deterrnine where you end up in life and the one person that can speed up the process of getting there.

You’ve spent 4 (5? 6?) years of your life and nearly $100,000 (even if you had grants and scholarships, that’s the sticker price) learning.

You have what you need. Now go get what you want.

How to Make $100,000 #MoneyMonday

Wouldn’t it be great to make six figures per year? Congratulations if you already do, but the fact is only 1 out of every 10 working Americans makes $100,000/year or more.

That statistic makes it seem like getting into the six figure club is a hard thing to do.

Now, I’m not here to suggest that it’s a piece of cake, but I also know that it’s not as difficult as you think it is. You’re just going about it the wrong way.

Allow me to introduce you to a framework that I call “The Money Tree.” It’s a new way of thinking about how to earn the amount of money that will allow you to live the life that you want to live.

The good news is, you already have everything you need to get there. Watch the video above and I’ll show you how.

M&S 013: Farnoosh Torabi Shows Us What Happens When She Makes More



When times change and the world evolves it can often put us in uncomfortable positions when “conventional wisdom” doesn’t change at the same rate.

One such shift that is creating a challenging environment for some couples is the increasing number of women that earn more money than their husbands.

According to a recent US Census study, 4 in to households with children under 18 have a woman that is the primary or sole breadwinner.  That number is 4x what is was in the 1960s! Sorry Mad Men, but times, they are a-changin’.

To help us learn how to still have a great relationship under these circumstances, personal finance expert Farnoosh Torabi joins us on Episode 13 of the Movers and Shakers Podcast with tons of advice from her new book, “When She Makes More.”

Farnoosh has been featured on the Today Show, Yahoo, the NY Times, the Wall Street Journal, The View, CNN and many other national media outlets.

Plus, she knows this topic from experience.  She too, makes more than her husband.

Continue Reading

So THIS is What McDonald’s Thinks of Highly Paid Black Athletes?

I generally try not to be too sensitive, but perhaps the whole Donald Sterling thing has me on edge.

So when I was minding my own business, watching an episode of the Big Bank Theory, and I came across this McDonald’s commercial that portrays a highly paid black athlete with way too many cars, a giant house with a basketball court inside of it, with a bunch of passed out people in his house the morning after night of presumed partying, I must say that it really got under my skin.

Now, this may bother me more than the average person because I have a number of pro athletes and entertainers as clients, and as a financial advisor I have to try my hardest to get them to not live up to stereotypes like this.

I’m not certain when the commercial first aired, but it may not be a coincidence that the commercial is running during the same timeframe as the NFL Draft (although the character in the commercial appeared to be a basketball player).

Is there any wonder why so many athletes end up broke? This is the type of image that they feel like they must live up to.

The power of television cannot be understated. It’s that power that makes me feel as though it’s pretty irresponsible for McDonald’s to perpetuate these images of “rich” black athletes (I won’t even get started on the the inclusion of the black woman waking up an peeling herself off of the couch when the butler wakes everyone up!)

There are better ways to sell breakfast sandwiches, McDonald’s. I’m going to need you to do better.

(Full Disclosure, I own shares of MCD)

10 Tips to Clean Up Your Finances This Spring – MoneyMonday

When it starts getting warm again, don’t just spend all of your time cleaning out the garage. It’s also a great time to spring clean your finances.

Here are the steps:

(1) Get Organized
(2) Tidy Up a Few Things
(3) Spring Forward with Your Goals

Check out this video for detailed tips for all three steps.

What are your best financial spring cleaning tips?

The 4 Ps of Financial Prosperity #MoneyMonday


I came across a pretty disturbing study that uncovered the fact that the richest 85 people in the world own as much wealth as the bottom 50% of the world population. Thats’s right, 85 people own as much as $3.5 billion people!

People hate to talk about wealth inequality for fear of being accused of hating capitalism. I, on the other hand, feel as though it must be discussed because I believe such a great disparity threatens our future security.

After all, when people are hungry, their politeness goes out of the window.

I do believe that people that want to build wealth can do so if they understand how to play the game. Here is my simple framework on how to start building wealth in 2014 in the form of my “4 Ps.”

The 4 Ps of Financial Prosperity


      1.  Potential – I frequently say “If you focus on living up to your potential, you’ll never have to worry about living within your means.” Get intense about being the best at your craft, and you’ll have enough resources where you won’t be worrying about whether you can afford latte today or not.
      2. Products - The wealthiest people have something to sell.  You may beed to start selling a service (i.e .bookkeeping, grass cutting, etc), but eventually you want to sell products that don’t require your ongoing time (i.e. books, courses, packaged goods, etc.)
      3. People - If you’re trading your time for money, you soon realize that there are only so many hours in the day.  You need to have people working for you in order to have a real, scalable business
      4. Property – Wealthy people own assets that they generate income from.  These assets could be in the form of stocks, bonds, annuities, real estate, etc.

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Why You Should Be a Mentor #MentorMonday

NOTE: I am participating in a compensated campaign to promote Pittsburgh Public Schools We Promise program. I am a strong supporter of mentoring programs, therefore all opinions remain my own. #IAmWePromise #PPSMentorsMatter


You Should Be a Mentor

Are you a talented, experienced professional with many life lessons learned that could be of benefit to others?  If you read my blog, my assumption is that you are.

As such, I’d like to make a strong suggestion that you should be a mentor.  Especially if you are in the Pittsburgh area.

There are a number of African American male students in the Pittsburgh Public Schools that could use advice from someone life you!

Not quite convinced?  Check out this week’s special Money #MentorMonday video for the top 3 reasons that you should become a mentor.


Remember All of Those Mistakes YOU Made?

When I talk with clients about financial mistakes they’ve made in their lives, I hear one statement over and over again:

[quote style="boxed"]If only I knew then what I know now”[/quote]

Here’s your opportunity to make sure that other young people don’t have to utter that statement.


The Media Isn’t Going To Do It

Have you watched TV lately? Our young men need to see more people like you in the flesh, because according to the media, you don’t exist.


Everyone Can Use a Cheerleader

When I was very young, my parents and my teachers made me feel like I was smart. I’m not sure if they were lying to me or not, but I believed it. They gave me confidence and a sense that great things were expected of me. Those feelings drive me to this day.

Spend some time mentoring a few young men and you can inspire them to do things they’ve never dreamed of.


Interested? Here’s the next step:

If you’ve ready to share your knowledge, expertise and encouragement with young African American males with great potential, please take a look at the Pittsburgh Public Schools’ We Promise Program, and initiative designed to ensure that these young men become eligible for the Pittsburgh Promise.

Eligibility for the Pittsburgh Promise means that these young men can obtain up to $40,000 to fund their college education.  As you can see, there’s a lot at stake.

Head over to the We Promise Program fort more information on how you can get involved.

It will be beneficial for you, and priceless for the young men.


Financial Lessons Learned for 2013 #MoneyMonday



Have You Learned Your Lesson?

There were a number of significant events that impacted our wallets in 2013.  Here are some of the lessons that we take with us into the new year.

      1.  Diversify Your Income – The bankruptcy filing by the City of Detroit shows how dangerous it can be to rely on one employer for your entire financial future. Don’t put all of your retirement eggs in one basket.
      2. Get Comfortable With Investing – All of the major stock market indices are up more than 25% this year.  Now more than ever, you are responsible for your own retirement. You must learn how to manage and grow your assets.
      3. Commit to Lifelong Learning – You must continuously reinvent yourself to keep pace with technology and the changing economy.  As Blockbuster and Blackberry if they wished they had done the same.
      4. Take Your Health Seriously – The Obamacare rollout, and its problems, highlight just how big of a deal health care is. The thing is, 75% of healthcare expenditures are largely preventable.  Take care of your health and you will lower your costs and increase your earning potential.
      5. You Are Not Invincible – Unfortunate events can happen at any time.  Make sure that your life insurance and your important documents are in order.

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My Favorite Things 2013 #MoneyMonday

Check out the links below to find more information on my favorite things of 2013:


The stock market has done well this year!










Jab, Jab, Jab Right Hook










Get an Elite MBA for free





















MagicJack Plus






















Google Chromecast













How to Keep Your Holiday Spending in Check #MoneyMonday



How Much Will You Spend This Year?

Merry Christmas can turn in to Bah Humbug very quickly if you go overboard with your holiday gift giving.

Here are tips to help you keep your spending budget in check during this holiday shopping season.

Can you think of a gift you’ve received that meant the world to you, but cost very little?

Leave your comment below and give us some gift ideas!