Savvy Girl Money was something that came along suddenly, but we knew instantly that it would prove to be an amazing addition to U.G. Digital. In our communities, there's no question that we're missing many of the fundamentals of personal finance, planning for our futures, and securing the futures of our children. This is were Mrs. Ashira Nelson steps in. This Cleveland native has taken on the task of educating those within the community in any way she can on ways that they, too, can save money and plan appropriately for the futures of their families. Through Savvy Girl Money, she offers an amazing service, and we're ahppy to share that service here in U.G. Digital. Currently, we're planning to offer more from Ashira in the form of a regular column. Until now, check out the interview we were able to complete with this financial guru!
U.G. Digital Mag: We’re so grateful for this opportunity. I was checking some things out and realized what you were working on. I know last time we spoke you were making jewelry. Imagine my surprise when I saw you were now doing things to help the community within the financial world. What really took you into that area? I preface that with the fact that you have been a CPA for some time.
Ashira Nelson: Right. I’m a CPA, and I’ve been in the field for six years now. I’ve worked with so many different types of clients, primarily wealthy clients. I started out with PNC Bank; then I went to an investment firm; and now I’m at a CPA firm. I always see a common denominator among the clients, regardless of where I am. I was constantly working with money, budgets, and how they financially plan their lives. I said it had to be something to take away and help my community. Growing up, I had never heard of some of these things related to tax planning and financial planning. There’s people I know who don’t have access to this information. That’s kind of how I got here. Personal finance has always been my passion. Jewelry, I started because I always saw myself as a business woman. My dad always franchised restaurants. As a young girl, I always saw myself in the light of being a business owner. There wasn’t any passion behind it though. I came into Savvy Girl Money because it represents everything about me and what I do everyday. It’s a way for me to educate and help my community.
U.G. Digital Mag: This is one of the biggest things our community struggles with. It’s difficult for a lot of people because often, they don’t make a lot of money. I saw through your site that you make things very simple in that respect. It’s the smallest things that will help you save money. You talked about going to an event for your dad, and opting to pull something from your closet as opposed to shopping for something. That saved you $40. What gave you the thought and sense that this would help people everywhere?
Ashira Nelson: I have so many friends and co-workers who feel the need to get a new outfit for events. This video showed that you can mix and match different things and still make it look great without spending extra cash. I felt like I had to buy something new. Ultimately, I said I don’t need this new outfit. I have so many clothes in my closet. Sometimes, I think we find ways to spend cash when we don’t need the things we spend it on. It’s just for the moment.
U.G. Digital Mag: Personally, I’ve been in that same head space where I’ve bought something just for the sake of buying it. I’ve pulled things out of the closet that I’ve never worn.
Ashira Nelson: Right. I wear something, and think that wow, I forgot I had it. I never needed it.
U.G. Digital Mag: The other thing I saw was you featured your daughter. It’s great to start this at a younger age. How much do you feel she understands though, considering her age?
Ashira Nelson: My goal wasn’t for her to get like this in-depth personal finance lesson. My goal was to start the foundation. I want to take the same approach as people do with their ABC’s. When you first teach your child their alphabet, you make a song, and keep repeating it. I want her to slowly collect on different topics. I don’t want it to be her first time when she steps out into the world. I want to teach her the foundation and upper level things before she goes to college. Why not start now?
U.G. Digital Mag: I think it makes perfect sense. At her age, she’s in the sculpting years, and it’ll stick with her.
Ashira Nelson: Exactly. I’m trying to mold her.
U.G. Digital Mag: It’s great. When I was in high school, I hate to say that I never learned a lot of that stuff. It’s bad because then when you go to college, it’s much easier to get caught in the circle of credit cards and whatnot. It definitely makes a big difference. Where do you envision Savvy Girl Money going as a brand?
Ashira Nelson: My vision is to start doing speaking engagements; talking to millennials, talking to families about different financial topics, removing the stigma of talking about finances at home, and make finance topics the norm. Growing up, my parents never discussed money with us. I didn’t even know how much they made. It was never in any conversation. There was no talking about bank accounts, or balancing a check book. I want to remove the taboo and change the perspective so our kids are not so far behind.
U.G. Digital Mag: A lot of parents don’t realize that they hinder their children by not talking about it.
Ashira Nelson: Right. I sympathize though because I am a parent. I don’t blame my parents for not educating me because I felt like they weren’t educated. I want to break the generational curse, and give a script on how to introduce these topics. A lot of parents don’t know because they didn’t get it either.
U.G. Digital Mag: You also have to understand that our parents were also trying to keep us from growing up too fast. That’s what a lot of it was. I just did get an allowance, and I knew the value of a dollar, and that I had to work to make money. But the real particulars came later in life. It’s great though what you’re doing with your daughter.
Ashira Nelson: Thank you. Just introduce it a little early so they get the basics now, and build on it when they get to high school. You don’t want to wait that late and you’re just getting a bank account. Start a little early, and get your child a little bank card. Simple things like that will help.
U.G. Digital Mag: Where can everyone find you online?
Ashira Nelson: We’re on Facebook, and also have a YouTube channel. I’m on Instagram as well. I try to give consistent information on each platform. YouTube and Facebook is where you find the most engagement.
U.G. Digital Mag: Now you’re also mentoring. Talk about that?
Ashira Nelson: Yes. I have a new video coming out speaking to incoming freshmen. It’s titled being savvy on the yard. I’m giving tips on them entering their first year of college. I talk about picking meal plans, going out on the weekend, and how to navigate.
U.G. Digital Mag: That’s awesome. Congratulations and kudos for that. It takes a lot of time and effort. I wish I had that when I first went to college. It’s amazing that you’re taking the time.
Ashira Nelson: Thank you. I’m trying to be the woman I needed when I was little. I’m trying to be that woman.
U.G. Digital Mag: I think it’s great. Thank you so much and we will be following you religiously.
Ashira Nelson: Thank you so much for watching and extending the offer.