Nationally recognized blogger, speaker and brand strategist, Terri Lomax has always been passionate about encouraging others to show up in all areas of their life as the best version of themselves. From social media to branding, she has continued to impact women of color.
As the founder of the blog, Mocha Girls Pit Stop Lomax has developed an online community for women of color to share their stories and uplift one another. With topics such as self-esteem, mental health, career and financial independence, Lomax has used her platform to help women overcome obstacles and continue to hustle to reach a new level of success. Lomax spoke with Blavity to share her thoughts on how she uses Mocha Girls Pit Stop to promote entrepreneurship and financial independence for her audience, brought to you by AARP-Disrupt Aging.
Why is money management so important to our overall wellness, especially as an entrepreneur?
I think that money management is so important, specifically for the black community, because I think being able to elevate the community as a whole can really happen once we have a strong economic base. I think that if we as black and brown people are building our own businesses and generating our own resources, we can then give back to our own community. Many of us know that the dominant society isn’t trying to educate our children and they’re not trying to give us the resources that we need, so money management is something really important in that regard.
You’ve had much success in becoming an entrepreneur, what are some tips to becoming financially independent?
I would say that I’m still on that journey, but I think that multiple streams of income are essential. It’s important to have funnels set up in your business where you get paid from different sources every month or every week. The good thing about that is when you have those multiple streams of income, you don’t have to worry about one sole source and if that dries up, such as your day job, you still have other money coming in that can finance other assets of your life.
I also think that mentorship is really key. I know for me, I didn’t grow up in a household where we talked about finances or saving money. We talked about getting money and spending it; that’s it. Having a mentor or someone who is where you want to be or a few steps ahead of you that can guide you and give you advice about money management is vital.
How have you used your platform, Mocha Girls Pit Stop, to help individuals financially plan for the future?
I would say that I’ve helped individuals who are following my blog and in my community by having interviews with some of the leading experts in the field. I had an interview with Tiffany, The Budgetnista. She’s absolutely amazing. She was able to give me and my community some tips on how to save money as well as how we can set up an automatic savings plan where money can be deposited into a savings account every month. So that’s one way, by having interviews and having experts come in to share their expertise.
I would say also just having open and honest, transparent dialogue about finances. Many women in my community are black women or women of color and many of us have similar backgrounds where we were never raised to invest or to save money or to manage our finances. The only thing we learned was how to spend it or maybe pay tithes in church. Just having those open conversations where we are aware of our lack of knowledge and understanding, but talking about it in a safe space where no one is being judged is crucial, so we can go on to get the tips and tools needed to move forward.
What are your views on building generational wealth? How can one start the process?
I will say that I’m not an expert on building generational wealth, but it is something that I’m interested in. That’s something my husband and I are definitely planning to do for our family. I think that it's so essential because it allows us to set up future generations for success so when those generations come along, they don’t have to start from the bottom like we did. They can stand on our financial shoulders so to speak, and they can either pursue their passion, start businesses or make an impact on the world in a better way because they have the financial means.
As far as things I’ve learned from folks and experts, I think having life insurance is super important because we’re all going to die one day. Funerals cost money and I think that making sure that your family is set for success and not in debt is really, really important.
I also believe that sparking conversations about finances, money management and entrepreneurship with the young people in your life is essential to get the ball rolling when it comes to generational wealth. I read a transformative book in high school that my dad recommended for me, “Rich Dad, Poor Dad”, by Robert Kiyosaki, and I never forgot the valuable lessons regarding passive income and making money work for me.
Based on my rough upbringing and unique family dynamic, I raised my younger siblings and ever since they were toddlers we talked about entrepreneurship and making your own money. Often times when my siblings came to me and asked me for money, I'd say to them, ‘Okay, how about this. Instead of asking for money, think of something of value you could provide me with and that way I can pay you for your service.’ They often came up with ideas like cleaning the house, offering massages or selling water on a hot day. I always wanted to teach them how to make money for themselves instead of just giving them money. That’s something that stuck with them and they still remember that to this day, so it's pretty cool.
Why is it important for millennials to understand the importance of financial independence?
I think that money isn’t the means to happiness. As you can see, there are celebrities that go through their own struggles. Even though they have all this money, they’re not necessarily happy. I do believe that money allows us to do more in our community and it allows us to have a greater impact on the world. Once we have a solid financial foundation, it allows us to open up the possibilities for other ways of having an impact on a community or a family, or on the world in general.
I believe that if millennials become financially independent, we can address many of the issues facing our country right now. People are hurting, the planet is hurting, and if we come together and invest in our communities, support reputable politicians and enforce the laws and systems that’ll allow us to flourish, we could make life a lot more fruitful for people that look like us.
How can we disrupt aging and better plan for our financial futures?
Because of the different struggles our ancestors faced, I was always in someone’s face that was older than me. I was always in the conversation with older people and just listening, you know, just getting the wisdom. I respect those that are older than us and have enjoyed conversations with them to gain their knowledge. Just asking about the stories of their lives and the experiences that they’ve had in order to connect the dots. If they tell us a story about their life and things that they struggle with, you can kind of figure out, ‘Okay, why did they struggle, especially when it comes to finances, and how can we avoid that same struggle.’ Getting their insight and getting those gems from the older generation can allow us to disrupt how we look at aging from a financial standpoint. We can take that value and impact they have and then pass that onto the generations that are coming behind us.
I do motivational speaking and I have the chance to travel the country to speak to high school students and college students about overcoming the adversity, conflict resolution and things like that. I have to take what I learned from the elders and sort of put a little twist to it and make it a little ‘swaggy’ and then give it to the young people I speak to pass that knowledge on.
What are some ways you reach back and pass it on?
I would say one way that I reach back and pass any of the knowledge I’ve learned is by my blog Mocha Girls Pit Stop. It started off as a therapeutic outlet for me. I connect with so many women and surprisingly enough when I did a survey I found out that a lot of women that follow my blog are older than me. I was blown away. I thought it was women around my age group. They follow my blog and are inspired by my content.
I would say also by doing interviews as much as I can. I try to do interviews to broaden my horizons and connect with other folks. And lastly, speaking to the high school and college students when I do motivational speaking. Those are the three major ways I’m trying to reach back, to share that information and knowledge with others so they can use those tools and tips to further themselves on their financial journey.
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