Freedom Focus Podcast

Why Our Black Community Needs More Financial Planners - My Story

June 25, 2020 Brittany Davis Season 1 Episode 2
Freedom Focus Podcast
Why Our Black Community Needs More Financial Planners - My Story
Freedom Focus Podcast
Why Our Black Community Needs More Financial Planners - My Story
Jun 25, 2020 Season 1 Episode 2
Brittany Davis

In this episode, I discuss more of my background and how I got my start in the financial counseling & education space; and why there is a dire need for more [Accessible] Black financial professionals; especially certified financial planners. Planners that help our communities build and PLAN wealth from the ground up.

If you have any interest in this field, check out the links below. Feel free to email me with any questions you have. 


Support the show (

Show Notes Transcript

In this episode, I discuss more of my background and how I got my start in the financial counseling & education space; and why there is a dire need for more [Accessible] Black financial professionals; especially certified financial planners. Planners that help our communities build and PLAN wealth from the ground up.

If you have any interest in this field, check out the links below. Feel free to email me with any questions you have. 


Support the show (

Brittany  (00:02):

Welcome to the freedom focus podcast. I'm your host

Brittany  (00:06):

Davis, The Brittany Davis.

Brittany  (00:08):

Your favorite financial counselor. Stay tuned as we explore strategies, tips and advice on being financially free to live our best life. So grab your tea or your coffee. Sit back and enjoy the show.

Brittany  (00:30):

What's up everyone. And welcome back. And thank you for tuning in to another episode of the freedom focus podcast. I'm your host, Brittany Davis, the Brittany Davis, your favorite financial counselor. I know you heard that in the intro, but I like to say it. Anyway. In this episode, I wanted to focus on my background. I briefly mentioned it in the first episode, but I really wanted to focus on the content in that episode. So I've decided to devote time to telling you about how I got my start in financial services, more specifically, why I chose this career. So essentially like many of us, our thought authentic introduction to money handling started either as when we were, when we got our first jobs or for me specifically, when I got to college as a child going up in a lower income family, I managed to get scholarships and grants that would pay for my education. And I went to a state school. So the tuition was fairly low, which resulted in me getting a refund check every semester. And what do you do, or what does an 18 year old do with a refund check every semester? Find out in this episode of the freedom focus podcast.

Brittany  (02:30):

In today's episode, I am focusing on sharing my inexperience with money in college and how I went from having my school expenses paid for completely. Actually they were paying me to go to school, so to speak; how I went from that state of being to having $20,000 of debt when I graduated, that's what I've decided to devote, um, today's episode about. So it all started from high school. I was always interested, well, I don't want to say always. I paid attention to what we were told as students to go ahead and apply, especially seniors, go ahead and apply for colleges early, be a part of the early bird group of applicants for schools. I applied to several universities, including universities out of state, but I quickly got a reality check about those out of state tuition costs. So I shifted my decision to focus on in state schools because of the tuition cost savings.

Brittany  (03:51):

And around that time, which it was, it was 2007 when I graduated high school and Tennessee was offering the state lottery to students. And that initiative, I guess you could call it, put a lot of students through school, including me and I capitalized off of the fact that I grew up in a lower income family. I had the need and I applied to grants, scholarships, all of the financial aid, the minority aid that I could get. I applied to the aid and I, you know, received it. And I was the type of student to keep a running list. I actually had a folder devoted to all of the scholarship letters of approval that I had. And I would calculate the total of my aid against the total cost of living to attend the school. And I knew at that point that I would be getting money back and I was excited about that.

Brittany  (05:07):

But the unfortunate thing for my situation is like so many people, our money habits are developed from what we see our parents do. And I did not see anything. My association with money was that we seem to lack it and we never had it. And that I guess, pushed my behavior to be spending all the time. I didn't know what to do with money. I didn't know to save it because I never learned to save it. It was always, you spent it on taking care of your needs. And at the end of the day, if you didn't know to save it, you would always spend it. So that carried on into my college life, even though I had all this money to, I don't want to say play with, but that's pretty much what I did. The fun thing was that I would get a refund check of 3000 per semester.

Brittany  (06:11):

That's what I calculated. And then after that refund checks, when I landed on campus, I immediately knew to get a job and I did get a job and I was working 20 hours a week making $500 per month. Not only that, I had the opportunity to get food stamps. So I had a student plan, food stamps, $500 a month from my job that I was working 20 hours a week, along with a $3,000 bonus per semester. So I was living the high life. I did not have many bills at all. My living situation was paid for. I had food taken care of. The only bill that I had to worry about at that time was my phone bill, which I don't know if anyone remembers the Sidekick phone. That's the type of phone I wanted and the type of phone I got and I was responsible for my little phone bill and that was about it.

Brittany  (07:27):

And I miss those times, but those were the, the high, the high points of my college experience. So I would party like most students spend money on frivolous things. Every time I got my refund check, you know, go on Wal-, Walmart trips and buy what I thought that, that I needed, even though most of the time, ah I miss those days, most of the time furniture was provided to us students. And so you didn't even have to worry about that. The only thing that I did not have, was a car. And so that was fun, but not fun at the same time, because my college roommate and best friend and I would get creative and how we would hitch rides to get groceries. We would sometimes hitch rides on the buses that were, you know, supposed to be going back from the campus to the apartment complex for those students that lived off campus, we would to rides on those buses and then walk the rest of the way to the grocery store and get our groceries, and then do the same thing going back.

Brittany  (08:54):

I think that was a violation, but we didn't care. But other than that, we would use some of our refund money to rent cars when we were able, she was older than me. So, so when she turned, I think it was 21 or was it, yeah, I think it was 20 or 21. She would rent cars. And we would go on these joy rides because we had transportation and it was a whole experience. And it taught us, hustle, taught us what creative ways to solve our issues. And it was fun. But eventually I got the bright idea to try and purchase a car of my own. Initially, I was wanting to go about it the smart way and get a cash car. I should have gotten a cash car. Don't ask me why I didn't get a cash car, but I did not. At some point and mind you, this was 2009.

Brittany  (10:03):

I believe we were in full blown recession mode. Right? But at that time, I was able to get a loan, get an auto loan as a college student with no real income, get a loan for $15,000 to buy a brand new car. And that's what I bought. I bought a Nissan Sentra, which I still drive her to this day. I have lovingly dubbed her dirty Diana, but that accounts for 15,000 of the debt that I graduated with, and it still baffles me to think that I was able to get a, an auto loan at that time with no, no real, no real income. That's kind of like why the regulations are in place today to protect college students against predator, predatory lending, not to say that that was the same situation, but it does not make sense. So, um, not to go off on a tangent, that car was, has been amazing to me.

Brittany  (11:22):

It got me back and forth those 300 miles back from my hometown to where I was going to school. So I don't regret any of that, but it started a vicious cycle that, or at least it was the, the pivotal point of my introduction to debt and the heavy weight that that is or can be when you're not getting a real specific return on it. So after this point is when it all went to shit. So of course I have the car I'm enjoying life. I still have my refund check. I was able also to get a second part time job with the car, because at this point I had a car note and having a car note adulting really hit me because like I mentioned before, I was only making $500 a month with my job. And even though I had the refund checks, those would fly right out of the window. And so, Oh my gosh, there's one other thing. Not too long after I purchased this car, I was in a, uh, an accident where I was rear ended, went through the whole thing and ended up getting a settlement check for, I totally forgot this part of the story. Well, I ended up getting a refund check 20 year old me a refund check for $15,000, 15 or $16,000.

Brittany  (13:15):

And you would think that with me being in this industry, I think it played a role in it is probably one of the many reasons why I'm in this business now. But at that time I was not thinking about getting advice. You're young. You think, you know everything. So, you know, you know, I know what to do with this money. I'm going to save it. And I may have set in my mind to the intention of saving part of it, but that didn't happen. And I could not tell you what I spent that money on you. You would probably think, Oh, she's smart. She should pay off the damn car, pay the car off, pay that loan off. But no, no, my mind you, you don't know what you don't know. And, and that's what happened. That's the unfortunate thing about many of us today, but I won't jump ahead.

Brittany  (14:17):

I have to get to this other thing, because there is an additional $5,000 worth of debt that I got into after getting the car so that I believe it was a year later, I decided to get an internship that was a summer internship. That was 30 miles away from the city. I was going to school. And I'll just tell you, I went to school at middle Tennessee state university is in Murfreesboro, Tennessee, and I'm maybe admitting this it's a little hick town, but the school I enjoyed the campus, I enjoyed middle Tennessee state. My internship was in Nashville. So anyone that's from that area knows that Nashville is a solid 30 miles or 30, a 30 minute drive away. I don't know if it's 30 miles, but it's a solid, boring, very boring 30 minute mile drive away. So that internship every day I would drive the 30 miles to get there 30 minutes to get there and 30 minutes to get back home.

Brittany  (15:36):

But in the afternoon five o'clock traffic, it was definitely not 30 minutes. It was more like two hours. And on top of that, I had decided that summer to enroll in summer school. And I don't think that there were any applicable grants that I had gotten or scholarships that I could get to use for summer school. Why I chose to attend summer school? I have no idea, 20 year old brain, I guess, but I was in summer school and I decided to get alone for summer school and guess what take a guess at what my grade was at the end of summer, doing both the internship and summer school. I failed. So I'm sitting here with this additional $5,000 student loan that I did not need honestly, and truthfully, which was adding on to the $15,000. I don't own that. I already had it and I could have paid off auto loan with the money I got from my accident, but 20 year old brain.

Brittany  (16:57):

Right. And you're not thinking about those things after summer school fall rolls around 2010, still in the recession. I ended up getting this letter or this notification that my tuition, which I did not mention this at the start, but I was also able to get, to have the cost of tuition because my father had retired from a university here in Tennessee as well, working for university here in Tennessee as well. But they changed the terms to where he had to be at a certain age before I could tap into that. Made no sense, made no sense. I think it had changed to where he had to be in his sixties or something. And so they took that away. So of course that impacted my refund check. I think I went from getting $3,000 per semester to just under 2000, which it doesn't sound bad, but student with a car loan or a car note, and probably some other things that I wasn't supposed to have, it was a blow for me, but not the last blow.

Brittany  (18:17):

Because remember I had mentioned that I was able to land food stamps and of course, with everything happening in the world, economically, that was impacted as well. I was making or not making, but I was given, I had an allowance of $200 per month that changed to maybe $70 per month. And I dubbed this part of my college career as it all went to shit because here I am, I have a car note. Now I have a new student loan that I did not need. And all of these perks of, um, having a refund check and having the additional aid just sort of went away because of the recession at the time, it was hard for me and having a second part time job became a requirement and adulting became real. And so all these experiences, this particular experience, the lack of education around money, especially not just for children, but for the parents, for minorities, for my parents, not having that access to education, access to professionals who can help plan your financial life pretty much, much that would have been so pivotal for me growing up, because sort of understand more the importance of saving, not just saving on expenses, which today is father's day happy father's day to all the dads.

Brittany  (20:20):

But my dad was really good at keeping costs low, but for what if the money was always gone anyway, if you're not saving or putting it away for future need or investment, there's no point in keeping your expenses low if you're still somehow spending all of it at the end of the month. So I love my couponers and I love my people who are barking bargain shoppers, but there's more to it than just, just keeping your expenses low. Anyway, it's why I chose this career because I had no idea of all of the, the money that I was coming in contact with how to handle it. And upon graduation, looking back in retrospect, because hindsight is 2020 pun intended. Uh, looking back at my college life, I did not have regrets. Like I said before, you only know what you know, and this is why there is such a need.

Brittany  (21:39):

There was such a need back then. And there is a dire need today because of this pandemic and everything that's already happened with people losing their jobs, not having anything to fall back on because when the, when things were good, they were good. No one expects for such a life changing situation, like an economic downturn caused by a virus like we have. And for me, this was a call to action to be that support that our community needs the underserved community, the community, without access to people who want to help plan people's financial lives pretty much because your finances are a part of your lifetime. And when you can get ahead and get a head, start on planning, knowing where you want to go defining your goals and developing your finances around that, it will save so much of the heartache that so many of us are facing today.

Brittany  (22:49):

So if you are among the group who want to help make change in the under-served communities, here's your chance. Here's your chance. Now is the time we need more people like you who are action takers, who, who want, who see the need for more financial professionals in our communities. So those interested in a career in financial services, I just want to mention, and I'll mention, I'll have these resources on this podcast page, but my, um, certification is an accredited financial counselor. And that is through, uh, the Association for Financial Counseling and Education and Planning. It's a very long title or a long acronym, but that's what my accreditation is through. My next stop is getting my certification as a financial planner. And that is with the CFP board. I highly encourage highly encourage if you had have any interest in providing financial services to the underserved that you, that you pursue that because now more than ever there is a need.

Brittany  (24:11):

So that is the end of this episode, episode two of the freedom focus podcast. I am so thankful and so grateful that I have this opportunity to share what I love with my millennial audience and anyone else who wants to tune in. Thank you so so much. And again, check out the references, check out the resources on this page. If you have an interest in working in financial services, trust me, there is a need for your help in this community. Please, please, please take action and feel free to reach out to me at [email protected] If you have any questions until next time. Hey You! Still there? If so that means do you like what you hear and want to learn more. Check us out on Instagram @thebrittanydavis. online at and here on the freedom focus podcast.Stay tuned for the next episode. And I look forward to speaking to you all next time.