Thursday, July 8, 2010

Thank Me Later

Actor/Rapper Aubrey Graham (better known as Drake of Lil' Wayne's Young Money Ent.) recently released his first full-length album titled, “Thank Me Later.” Despite our country's slumped economy and high unemployment rates, more than a few of us made it to Best Buy, Radio Shack, Circuit City, or hit up iTunes to cop Drizzy's latest music. Thanks to you, you, you, and you the album debuted at number one on the Billboard 200. With only three weeks in, Thank Me Later is still on the Billboard's Top 10 countdown. On behalf of Drake, a good friend of mine in my head, I'd like to thank you for your support.

Most of you know where I'm going with this, but some of you might wonder just what this has to do with personal finance. While I can't knock Drake's hustle 'cause it is STUPENDOUS, I can say a lot of young adults' lack a hustle or if they've got one, it's more than weak. Why do I say this? For starters, most young adults rarely seek guidance or use resources because we know it all or think we do. As a result, a bunch of us are floundering around and pretending to have it all together in the process when we clearly DON'T. Well, I'm ringing the alarm like Beyonce, and it's time to wake the hell up. Yeah, I said it. Now join me in class for lesson #2 for young strivers!

Young Money
I'm moving pass the music, so I can really school you today. Young Money isn't just an entertainment group or recording label; there's a personal finance web magazine that I adore with the same name. From advice on checking and savings accounts to career tips, suggestions on how to reduce your debt, entrepreneurship, and investing, this magazine has got you and me covered. I can't help but say, "Young Mula, baby" in my best Weezy voice whenever I log on 'cause I know that's where I'm headed by reading this magazine.

More Resources
  • What's the Dealio? Comparison shop for just about ERRthing and get discount codes at this website and others like Pronto, PriceGrabber, and RetailMeNot. Don't forget sites like Bankrate where you can find the best checking, savings, mortgage, car, and credit card rates among tons of other financial 411. I personally like to look for rates every six months or so to ensure I'm getting the highest interest possible on my savings.
  • Get government assistance, and no, I don't mean food stamps! Check out the government's way of supporting financial literacy with the FDIC's Money Smart finance program or the Financial Literacy and Education Commission's website. Both sites provide FREE guidance for managing and planning our financial futures whether we're in college, unemployed, single/married/divorced, starting a business, buying a home, or adopting a baby.
  • Save on cable by watching TV online at your favorite network's website, Fancast, Hulu, or Netflix. Watch PBS' Your Life Your Money episodes on the web, play games, or access a budget calculator, glossary, and other tools that'll help you get on financial track.
  • Read magazines? Well, Maghound offers reduced price subscriptions on all the best magazine titles. Get three magazines for just $4.95 per month; that's three magazines for the newsstand price of one! I stay up on all things money by ordering Kiplinger's, Money, and Black Enterprise from my friends at Maghound.
  • Be in the know, and order your FREE Annual Credit Report today. I suggest you review your report closely for any discrepancies and dispute them as soon as possible. You can also order your scores from each of the credit bureaus or at a site called MyFICO, one of my good friend's Suze Orman suggests. If you find it hard to sift through all the information on a credit report, some of you may like's FREE credit report card. The site pulls information from your credit file and gives you a letter grade. I hope we're all aiming for an A+!
  • Cut down your student loan debt with retail therapy. Yeah, I'm telling you to spend and save in the process. With Sallie Mae's Upromise, you can save by shopping at retailers in-store or online, dining out at the hottest restaurants, purchasing gas, lodging a number of hotels from the W Hotel to the Holiday Inn, or by taking brief surveys at e-Rewards. Guess what? It's FREE!
  • Get your hustle on and find your next gig online at QuietAgent where you can hunt for jobs anonymously. Be included before being excluded because of your race, gender, sexual orientation, ethnic name, or that hideous tattoo of your baby daddy or baby momma's name.
  • Still got questions? Seek the advice of a professional like the personal banker at your local credit union, a certified financial planner, a mentor, or maybe even a life coach like Kandice of Helping You Live the Good Life in Real Life.
In short, lesson #2 for young strivers:
To earn money, you've gotta learn money (and the resources available to you). Here, I've given you just a handful to get you started...for this, you can Thank Me Later! Class is dismissed.

Questions to Think About:

  1. How would you rate your hustle and personal finances on a scale of 1 to 10?
  2. Do you make use of resources and financial tools to get ahead? If so, what are those? If not, why?
Leave your comments below.


  1. Why are young americans so lazy?? In this world u have to fight and hustle your way to the top plus it builds character? Thanks for the lesson professor MaShar! I think you called out all the lazy americans haha... to give some the benefit of the doubt ill say what i said on ur last blog.... some just dont know the resource is out there... i wish i knew about upromise before i paid off my loan with sallie mae (ememy for life!) Lol

  2. I don't think Americans are lazy (entitled maybe), and I actually hate it when people suggest that. Many of the Americans I know work hard as hell (half of them got two jobs) and don't know how to take a break from work and just chill out (and not think about work).

    But yeah, I do agree that a lot of people (probably myself included) just aren't aware of the resources out there. Thanks for enlightening us all, Mashari!

    Btw: I co-sign Mz. Kewe on one point: you do have to fight and hustle your way to the top and it builds character. Thing is though, not everyone wants to be on top...and, truth is, you have to hustle and fight to be anywhere in this world--be it on top or not. Just to eek out a comfortable, humane existence requires a substantial fight and hustle.

  3. I can attest to MyFICO and Upromise...great resources!!

    Ms Qui~

  4. @Mz.Kewe Unfortunately, I cannot offer a concrete answer as to why so many young adults lack a hustle or drive to move themselves forward. Maybe their environments tell them they aren't good enough or maybe their parents never encouraged them or maybe they have no parents at all. Who knows? Luckily, some muster up enough will to do better. You said, "some just don't know the resource is out there." You may be right about that; however, the tools are available to them to find resources. It's funny how we can use the Internet to find the very last special edition handbag or sneaks or music, but we fail to apply those same information searches to better ourselves and our quality of life.

    I'm glad you found this week's lesson enlightening. One thing I'd like to add is Upromise is a great program for even those without student loans because you can open a 529 account to save for college or fund your children's college education with your regular spending. In addition, Sallie Mae is currently offering some of the highest interest rates on savings and certificate of deposits in the country. So don't think of Sallie Mae as your enemy (especially not for life)!

  5. @Miss Berneta Please see my comment to Mz. Kewe for my response on young adults not knowing where to find financial tools.

    Moving along, I liked when you said, "Just to eek out a comfortable, humane existence requires a substantial fight and hustle." I imagine you do know quite a few people who you can accurately describe with your comment, but does that represent young adults as a whole? I certainly don't think so. When I say hustle, I mean they are actively pursuing their passion or ways to improve themselves. It doesn't mean being a hip-hop artist like Drake, flashing cash, having a college degree or climbing the corporate ladder. I mean being in tune with who are you and being the best you that you can be - that you are created to be (in this blog, financially). Since you mentioned it, I'd like to ask how humane is it to live homeless, to kill each other, to be drug addicted, to be baby-making machine, or even worse dead? Some young adults are productive while others may be working mindlessly and going through the motions at jobs they hate. They cannot afford to quit, or they don't know what their next move should be. When I travel from city to city, I often see people who are truly zombies and unconscious to where they currently are in their lives, who they are, or who they want to be. Until very recently, I was a zombie and "walking dead" as Janelle Monae sings in a track called "Sincerely, Jane." See the video at

    @Miss Qui Vive I'm glad you've made use of financial tools, and I'm proud of all you've accomplished too!

  6. Do you think the public library is a good place to help with finances? You can read magazines, get books on finance and rent movies there.

  7. @Anonymous The public library is an excellent resource, and many are offering free elibraries with access to books, music, and movies online nowadays. For beginning strivers, I suggest Get a Financial Life by Beth Kobliner. After that, I suggest experts like Suze Orman and Dave Ramsey (for more spiritual financial guidance). In addition, Michelle Singletary's Power to Prosper offers more tips for leading a life of prosperity and financial freedom.

  8. Mashari, help a sista out Lol aka ur cousin... I became debt free two yrs ago. "The Money Coach" is off the chain. God spoke to me: (for those of you who believe) and told me to start saving my money years ago before the economic crisis. I played around and kept becoming more and more irresponsible until I went through a personal situation and while I was in prayer about that God spoke to me again and said " You need to save your money because there is coming a season when you will wish you had---I got the point..later a friend bought me "Zero Debt" ( I think) by Lynette Khalfani. God's Word and Lynette's intellegence changed my life. I am not one of those Christians who soley rely on catch phrases such as "blab it and grab it" or "Name it and claim it" to achieve financial freedom. It does have it's place, but Faith without works is dead. So Mashari...I want to persue entrepeneuership, but need some guidance. Any thoughts?

  9. @Trenika I want to commend you for saving and taking control of your finances! I promise it's a decision you will NEVER regret. I also admire your entrepreneurial spirit and often wish I had the guts to pursue my very own biz. But like Steve Harvey says, fear has currently paralyzed me from taking action.

    On to answering your question, I mentioned Black Enterprise magazine in my post, and the July 2010 issue includes Alfred A. Edmonds' article titled, "The Entrepreneur in You." Don’t have a subscription? Access it online at Edmonds suggests business owners do themselves "a favor" by reading Melinda Emerson's book, Become Your Own Boss in 12 Months: A Month-By-Month Guide to a Business That Works. You might find Emerson's blog at helpful too.

    Without knowing exactly where you are with your business, I suggest you immediately contact the Small Business Administration (SBA) or visit the website at if you haven’t already done so. I particularly LOVE the SBA, which offers a Small Business Planner online with guidance essential for whatever stage you’re at as an entrepreneur (i.e. starting up, forecasting your future, and even an exit strategy). Also consider touching base with organizations like PartnerUp, SCORE (Counselors to America's Small Business), the U.S. Women's Chamber of Commerce, and StartupNation. It probably wouldn't hurt to read industry specific books, magazines, and even continue your education with additional training as well. People are also an essential tool in business, so network and maybe even get a mentor or life coach to help you along the way.

    Thanks for reading, cuzzo! I look forward to hearing more about your business venture and know you have my support for sure.

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