By Je’Don Holloway Talley
For the Birmingham Times
When LaToya Irby gave a virtual finance and stock market class earlier this year, there was a student who had a vested interest: her teenage daughter.
“I was really impressed that she listened, was engaged and understood,” Irby said. “She also asked a question during class.”
Irby is a finance guru who regularly talks about finance, credit, business, and money management on social media. She has also written articles for MyFico.com and TheBalance.com, and has been a guest on radio shows from Arizona to Florida. In addition, she is Marketing Director for HealPay, a payment processing software company located in Ann Arbor, Michigan, as well as a contract content creator for several companies.
Smart money and credit management is an integral part of the conversation between Irby and her daughter.
“I teach him everything I know,” said Irby, who has hosted a wide range of virtual classes including “Introduction to the Stock Market,” “Investment Buying for Beginners Brunch and Learn,” and “Home Buying 101. “as well as a series of credit education.
“I taught [my daughter] on credit and how it works. I sat her down one day and drew her on a whiteboard, explaining everything to her, [such as] how credit cards and interest work, ”Irby said. “I try to do my best to make sure she knows everything I know. She has her own checking and savings accounts that she manages.
Like her daughter, Irby was also a teenager when she got her first savings account. Although she made mistakes in financial management in early adulthood, she had learned the principles of saving from her great-grandmother, Laura Stephens, who helped shape the habits and beliefs of ‘Irby in matters of money.
“I got my first job when I was 13,” Irby said. “I played the piano for our Sunday school at church, [Adamsville First Church of God, in Adamsville, Alabama], and I was paid $ 50 per week. “
“My great-grandmother asked my mother to open a savings account for me and saved me half of my paycheck each month, on top of paying tithing. … This reinforced the importance of saving money. Even though I hated it, I think it definitely established good savings habits, ”she added, noting that by the age of 16, her savings account had accumulated around $ 6,000. .
Even with that strong financial base, the Graysville, Alabama native had to overcome a few missteps along the way, including being denied an apartment after graduating from college due to bad credit. From there, Irby became familiar with financial research and analysis and began to develop his own investment strategy.
“No adviser,” she said. “I do research on companies, I read their financial reports and I am attentive to the news [about that company, their competitors, and the industry]. … I think it is possible for anyone to invest on their own, even if they prefer to be more passive. If I didn’t want to be so active in my portfolio, I would pick a few stocks or funds and invest in them consistently month after month.
The Alabama alumnus frequently monitors his investments.
“I like to read business, financial and economic news and overall stay on top of what’s going on so that I can make better investment decisions,” she said. .
Irby, who currently lives in Homewood, Alabama, said there are many ways to invest and trade and now it’s easier than ever to get started through platforms like Robinhood, Webull, E-Trade, TD Ameritrade, Vanguard, Stash and Acorns.
“They all have different benefits, services and types of accounts available,” she said. “When choosing a platform, you need to consider whether you need certain tax-efficient retirement accounts and whether you want access to an advisor, for example. “
Simply put, investing is simply making your money work for you by putting your money into things that appreciate (increase in value) or generate passive income (require minimal work to earn and maintain).
“It could mean investing in stocks or other assets that increase in price over time,” Irby said. “Or it could mean investing in a stock or a company that pays you dividends, [the distribution of some of a company’s earnings to a class of its shareholders]. Basically you make money and then you put it in something that can make more money. … Reinvesting your income helps you grow your money even faster.
Asked how quickly a return on investment can be seen, the minor high school graduate said it can happen in a matter of minutes, depending on how fast the stock price is moving. Statistics typically reflect an average stock return of between 8-10% per year, excluding inflation.
Irby said there are three areas she has seen her clients struggle with when trying to get started in investing: fear, lack of self-confidence and changing spending habits.
“A lot of people are afraid of losing money,” she said. “Almost everyone has heard of someone who has lost money in an investment, [so] they think they have to be an expert to start with, which is like being afraid of losing money. The stock market is intimidating for a lot of people, and they are afraid of making a mistake. [Also, people have to learn to] change their spending habits to invest. If you’re used to enjoying 100 percent of your money, it’s hard to cut spending even by just 5 or 10 percent. It’s even harder to change for something that scares you.
Irby gives credit to social media platforms for scaling up investing, “in particular [via] Instagram and TikTok. … Young adults talk more about it, show its value and show how easy it is to get started.
Building for the future
Financial literacy is an important tool in developing a stable financial future, said Irby, who was 25 when she fathered her daughter. As a mother, she is committed to creating multiple sources of income to maintain a comfortable lifestyle for herself and her daughter.
“I make sure I earn enough to not only cover my bills, but also enjoy life and build for the future,” she said.
This also includes what awaits her daughter.
“My dream is to travel at least half the year and not worry about income. I don’t want to have to actively work until I’m 60, ”Irby said. “The other part is making sure my daughter gets a good start. I want her college paid, a down payment for her first home, and a big safety net to start.
Irby also wants to encourage financial literacy in his community.
“Statistics Show Most People Can’t Afford An Unexpected Expense Of $ 1,000, Black Wealth Is Expected To Be $ 0 By 2053 [if current trends continue], and the typical millennial has less than $ 5,000 in savings, ”she said. “I want to do my part to change this. “