Heritage Wealth Management owner and manager, Sophie Lancaster (left), Regina Wilson (center), the VyStar Credit Union Gainesville branch supervisor, and Shontai Blye (right), a VyStar Credit Union member services representative, gave financial advice during The Black Hats Collective's “Wealth Building Stepping Stones” workshop.
Article by The Gainesville Guardian
Published March 4, 2020
An organization gave residents the monetary tools they needed to ensure financial stability for generations to come.
The Black Hats Collective hosted a workshop led by financial experts titled “Wealth Building Stepping Stones” at the Library Partnership located at 912 NE 16th Ave. on Saturday.
Jack Carter, a TBHC member and the moderator for the workshop, read the organization’s mission statement.
“Our mission is to enrich people through leadership, education, wealth building, and cultural awareness,” Carter said.
TBHC founder and president, Dell Hannah, shared his perspective on the difference between wealth and rich and why people should apply the financial tools to build generational wealth.
“Rich runs out,” Hannah said. “When you create wealth, you can carry it on for generations and generations.”
Heritage Wealth Management owner and manager, Sophie Lancaster, gave a brief background on the financial firm and why she created it.
Lancaster is a Zimbabwean native who moved to Gainesville in 2003.
She decided to create her own financial firm, Heritage Wealth Management, in 2009 after working with Edward Jones, an investment company.
“I wanted to be in a position to help people create wealth,” Lancaster said. “It is never too late to build your financial picture. There is no situation you can’t get out of. There is always hope.”
Lancaster provided seven steps to help people get closer to their wealthy place.
The seven steps are: writing the vision, evaluating where you are, attaining a plan, leaping into action, eliminating debt, hedge against risk, and leaving a legacy.
“When you dare to write down a dream, it becomes a goal,” Lancaster said. “You have to know what you want to achieve. You have to have goals. My purpose is to help people fulfill their purpose.”
Lancaster shared that after a goal is created, you must create specific and measurable guides to break the goal down to when you want it to be accomplished.
“Eliminating debt and getting a home didn’t come without work,” Lancaster said. “When we get on the road (to wealth) that means sacrifice. It’s a place to resist temptations and remove bad habits.”
Lancaster advised attendees to have emergency cash in case of any unpredictable life events. She said that emergency cash should be three times the total of cash you need to survive.
Lancaster explained what stocks and bonds are. She described three different ways people can use bonds which is to lend money to municipalities, the U.S. Treasury, and corporations.
Stocks are owning a piece of the company.
“When you have ownership with a company, you are growing with the company,” she said.
Lancaster added that once someone purchase a stock, they can receive dividends from the stock which is income the stock pays to someone annually.
“Money never goes away, it just transitions,” Lancaster said. “Know where the trend is going so you can capitalize on it.”
Lancaster said that people should be saving a minimum of 30% of what they make and explaining the differences of retirement plans such as a 401K and the IRA (Individual Retirement Account). She explained the Roth IRA is a type of IRA that offers tax-free growth and tax-free withdrawals in retirement.
“It’s a benefit because you can position yourself on being tax-free when you purchase items,” she said.
Lancaster shared how she just buried her 87-year-old grandmother who was a craftswoman and was able to purchase three rental properties and in her will she stated how the money generated from the properties will go towards her children and her grandchildren.
“No matter where you are in your journey, there is a legacy you can leave behind,” Lancaster said.
The next speakers were two other financial experts from VyStar Credit Union.
A credit union is a member-owned financial cooperative while a bank is owned and governed by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation.
Regina Wilson, the VyStar Credit Union Gainesville branch supervisor, and Shontai Blye, a VyStar Credit Union member services representative, shared their advice on savings, credit building, and budgeting.
“You need to know where your money is going so you can allocate where you want your money to go,” Blye said. “When your expenses are more than your income, that means you need to make adjustments.”
Wilson suggested to the audience to cook more instead of buying food from restaurants to save more money.
“I tell people to get on a financial diet to save money,” Wilson said.
Blye shared how she uses automatic transfers and bills auto-pay to keep track of her money electronically.
“It puts things on auto pilot so you know what you have saved,” Blye said.
For credit score building, Blye and Wilson advise people to not miss a payment because the credit score can drop. They advise people to request a deferment to push back due dates to avoid late payments and checking their credit score for free on annualcreditreport.com
Both women explained how having a good “credit mix” helps people gain a higher credit score.
Installment credit is a payment that has a fixed schedule until the loan is paid in full. Examples of installment credit are auto loans, signature loans, and mortgages.
Revolving credit is credit that can be renewed as the debt is paid. An example of revolving credit is the use of credit cards.
“Having this opportunity to come and speak to my own and hire my own is amazing,” Wilson said.
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