Your Money, Your Power

As an adult, I reflect often on the topics we discussed in school. I realize that schools, in some way, do not really equip us for real life. You know, with the stuff that really matters, like- how to invest, the importance of having good credit, the benefits of saving early & budgeting accordingly. It is almost like we weren’t geared to fully live our best lives without debt & excess. We were told to desire to be rich but were not provided the proper resources to teach us how to be. It was ingrained in us that the sure way to live comfortably is to finish school, get a job with a high salary, & to save our money in a standard savings account. We were not told the other options to help us “get rich” or to be financially independent. In fact, the advice given to us initially, in my opinion, was pretty bad advice. College is a large reason why many of us are in debt, high paying jobs are not easily accessible & a standard savings account gives you zilch for interest as your money sits there & does nothing but be the same amount you deposited. That advice made us ill-equipped to thrive comfortably without understanding the struggle first.

Now, we have to force ourselves to figure it out on our own. We have to force ourselves to research the options & not fall into the trap of incurring tons of debt that is impossible to pay off. The days of living above our means & incurring debt we cannot pay is long behind us. Living paycheck to paycheck was not God’s intent when he placed us on this Earth to thrive. Therefore, we must prepare to change our mindset & keep those days behind us. The days of living above our means in order to keep is now over. We must begin to welcome a life that prohibits struggling in retirement & working ourselves to death without being able to experience our loved ones. They deserve to have us there while having access to our legacy after we are gone. We must learn to work this financial system to our advantage so we never have to remember what it is to struggle again. Because the truth is, we all want nice things, but the picture is bigger than that.

We need to obtain & utilize resources that allow us to familiarize ourselves with what is available to us. Learn the importance of investing, monitoring, book keeping, accounting & financial advising. Although they seem out of reach, they are services we can utilize now for our benefit. We cannot continue to have a billionaire mindset with an impoverished lifestyle because at some point the well of desire will run dry & we will begin to make irrational & unhealthy financial choices that we cannot afford to. Please understand that the financial choices you make now do not only effect you, they effect the generations after you. Living a life plagued with debt is a generational curse that we do not need to succumb to. We can break the chain of discomfort & teach our children the same thing. No one wants to end their life paying back debt that could have been avoided. Furthermore, no one wants to leave the burden of suffering on their families so we need to think smart- NOW.

Start doing the research. Start paying off your debt now so you do not have to worry about it later. Start budgeting. Monitor your trends in spending & sacrifice what you need to cut back on. Start investing your money & teaching your children the value of a dollar, teach them the pros & cons to credit scores & explain how interest rates work & do not work in their favor. Teach them to live with as little debt as possible so that after you are gone you can be sure that if you taught them anything, you taught them money. Our lives & their lives are too valuable to miss this knowledge like we did. Share it abundantly. The generation needs it.



Tips: Dave Ramsey’s literature on the Debt Snowball is very helpful. That information you receive coupled with his EveryDollar app can get you well on your way to living debt free & building up your savings.
Also, the most recent episode of the Jesus & Jollof podcast, “Scared Money, Don’t Make Money” is very informative without feeling overwhelming. It defines much of the terminology that was mentioned above & will stimulate you to think of your money differently.

After all, your money is your power.

Bet on Yourself

Every week, I discuss the importance of believing in yourself, advocating for yourself & being inspired enough to make a difference. However, this stuff will be quite difficult to do if you are unable to bet & take risks on yourself. We are in an age where many of us aspire in different ways to provide for ourselves & our loved ones by our own means. The most interesting part about this is that many of us have already evaluated the ways in which we can do so but we lack the confidence to just do it.

Today I tell you to be proud. I encourage you to have the confidence you need to take the big step & pursue the things you have always wanted to do. People think that in order to chase after dreams, to pursue new aspirations or to tread new waters they have to sacrifice everything. That cannot be further than the truth. We are muli-faceted creatures capable of living, doing & focusing on multiple things to fulfill our heart’s desire. Daily, we multitask & work hard fullfilling the dreams & visions of someone else. Therefore, you owe it to yourself to fit your desires in your hectic schedule; by your own means, at your own time. I started Nickkie&Co. knowing that one day it will have a larger mission than empowering people through an empowerment blog. However, this is the foundation & I am totally content with where it is right now. I am on my own timeline & what will come will come. I simply had one job & that was to take the risk. Now that the risk was taken, the rest will surely follow.

Today, I ask you to reflect a little bit. Has there been anything you always wanted to do? Something that can transform your life in a way that will give you a joy you have never felt before? If you woke up tomorrow & had the opportunity to invest in ONE thing that makes you an even better you, without thinking of finances, or comments from nay-sayers, what would you do?

Now I ask you-

What is stopping you now?

Today will be the last day you compromise on you.

Claim Your Power

I have always been considered an emotional person. To some degree, I can agree. In both my personal & professional life I tend to be an emotional thinker with a high likelihood to respond the same way. As of recently, I have learned the importance of taking a “chill pill” & processing situations accordingly. One of the most important lessons I have been learning is that my reaction to anything that happens is my responsibility & my responsibility alone. There is skill in learning to be a master of your emotions. However, despite how much progress I have made, that is a goal I know will take a lifetime to fulfill & I am ok with that.

I lost so much time being angry at people who have offended me; thinking I was proving a point. In fact, the only person who lost was me. They went on with their lives, forgetting how I was feeling while I was left losing time I will never get back. I want us all to consider this as we encounter new people & situations that may be less than ideal. We cannot control other people’s behavior but we can surely control our own. Many of us do not work for ourselves, but work for an employer who dictates the terms & arrangements of our employment. In this relationship, we often find ourselves with little-to-no-say in how it effects us. Therefore, the sure thing we can promise ourselves is checking our emotions at the door while remaining empathetic to those around us. People will do & say things that will get us out of our element, but it is up to us to ensure they do not know the power they have to effect us & influence our behavior.

We have all reacted in ways that have given people power over us. Whether we were mad, sad, angry or depressed— but it is important that we bare in mind that no one is deserving of that from us; especially not for an extended period of time. If we can lose time festering on horrible experiences & horrible people, we can surely invest the time on other productive things like empowering ourselves out the experience & motivating others who find themselves in similar situations. After all, it is true what they say, “life is too short to be anything but happy.” Therefore, the first step to ensuring we remain that way is to control what we can & let go of the things we can’t. It is not up to us to change people but it is our job to change ourselves.

Put The Idols Down…

Our day-to-day activities can be influenced significantly by the phone in our pockets, unlimited access to the media & the our personal pursuit for wealth & “nice” things. We have gotten so caught up in this that we have become distracted by the influence these things have on our lives.  We work endless hours, we lose out on time with our loved ones, we lose time for ourselves, & put our spiritual pursuit on the back burner believing that it will all be there when we see riches. The thing about riches is that once they are obtained, the grind MUST continue in order to keep them. So in pursuing such goals, the likelihood that the things we neglected will still be there diminishes as time passes. Therefore, today my question to you (me too) is what has our full attention? What is serving as a distraction that inhibits us from having unforgettable moments with the people we love the most? When did we start idolizing our cellphones, cash & cars before we have taken the time to care for ourselves? At what point do we decide it is too much & it is time for a break? 

The sad truth is that we have come to idolize material things over taking the time for ourselves, our families & our spiritual growth. We are desiring more for our lives but fail to take a moment to step away & fast from the things that are distracting us. Idolizing is not limited to worshipping a false God but is anything that is over consuming our time that does not allow us to grow in other aspects of our lives. So today, I challenge us to recognize what may be crippling us from doing better & taking precious time away from us. Whether it is our phones, our jobs, our cars or what we aspire to have, we must do something about it. There is no way we can truly be our best selves in all areas of our lives if we become slaves to the things we have & don’t have. It is totally normal to want & strive to have nice things but we must aspire to have a healthy balance. The time we don’t lose is worth so much more than having all these things with no one to share it with.

The older I get, the more I realize how short life is. I reflect on the people I lost & wish life gave me more time. More time to tell them how much I love them, or to spend one more hour with them. Loss is inevitable but lost time due to distraction can be prevented. So, let us put the phones down a little more, go on social media hiatuses or plan a staycation with our families. Whatever it is, enjoy the moment, time is of the essence. We can not afford the distraction.

Reset & Recharge

Emotionally, this week has been extremely trying for me. It was not until a few days ago that I realized that I have been walking around suppressing frustrations & functioning in a whirlwind of disorganization– for months. I did not realize that I was barely functioning until a snowball of unideal situations presented themselves in front of me & I lost control. I could barely grasp or articulate what it was I was feeling & I struggled to understand what was happening. The only way I could express myself was in tears. Instead of taking time to address what I was feeling initially, I continued to push what I was feeling aside under the pretense that it will pass- eventually.

Despite how true that may have been, things do not usually pass unless you deal with them. This time, I was forced to. So, although there is character built through adverse situations & functioning outside of our comfort zone; it is extremely important not to get so caught up in what is happening around us that we fail to take a moment to assess & address what is going on within us. Self care, as cliche as it has become, is taking the time to check in with ourselves & acknowledge when we are are not doing ok. It is easy to forget what we are feeling while neglecting that we need a day or two to disconnect & recharge. I was forced to come to that realization this weekend & the overflow of emotion was severely overwhelming & crippling. But it forced me to do what I was avoiding – accept, reset & recharge.

See, life has a way to force us to deal with things even when we do not want to. So I encourage staying in tune with what our body is telling us. If we need more rest, we take it. If we need to cry, we cry. If we need a break, we take all the time we need. We were not created to be on GO, continuously. Empty vessels are just that… empty vessels. We can not pour into others when our own well has run dry. We cannot be who we need to be to our loved ones if we do not take care of ourselves first. So, if you need a moment to recharge, take it. You work too hard to just be moving through life barely functioning. You do not have to be perfect always but YOU do have to be YOU. So the best thing you can do for you is to take care of YOU.

March For Endo

Welcome back Conglomerates,

Happy mid-week check-in. Pardon my impromptu post that is outside of the typical Sunday schedule. Almost a year ago, I had a courageous Guest Inspiration who stepped forward to talk about her journey battling a condition that MANY women battle with daily; ENDOMETRIOSIS. Being that March is Endometriosis Awareness Month, I felt it was most important to recirculate her memoir to share with women who missed it & may be experiencing the same thing. Therefore, please click the link below & read the memoir from my dear friend & Endo Warrior, Eugenia.

Endo Warrior

#WeWearYellowForGeenii

We’re Gonna Make It… Regardless

Shout out to us !

At 29, my peers (older & younger) & I have spent most of our lives with the generations before us chastising the way they believe we would make ends meet. For whatever reason, since our way of living & surviving does not look like theirs, they are fearful of what will come of us & the generations after us. This is likely due to our unconventional way of defining success, way of obtaining income & our reliability on technology. Although I understand the importance of doing things with our hands & can appreciate someone who can fix a car or do home repairs; we, nonetheless, have done amazing things with what we have in front of us. Our generation has learned to conform with the times & contribute to the world by maximizing resources that others regard as irrelevant.

As time progresses generations differ significantly. Some changes may not be so noticeable, while others are as clear as a firework show in July. Our parent’s generation had different aspirations & utilized different skills. Going to college/mastering a trade, securing a well paying job, & having a balanced family is how they quantified success. Our generation comes on the scene & we want that … + we want more. Not to say to say that was not the same for our grandparents & parents, but we came for it all & we came for it our way. There is nothing wrong with that. In fact, it is something to be admired.

I have watched our generation go to college, incur thousands of dollars in student loan debt & still find the means to use our God given talents to bring in extra income. Many of us have mastered entrepreneurship just from working social media to our advantage. Life coaching, blogging, photography, real estate, etc. have been embraced with confidence because we have been driven to make the times work for us. Many of us would much rather go through the struggle of working for ourselves then sticking to something we know does not suit us. We have come to learn & understand that there is always an option. What use to be the end-all-be-all for our parents just may not mean the same for us. There are always options. We have learned to be resilient & tenacious even in the midst of our chaos. We know enough to understand that what worked before may not work now & we are ok with that. We are ok with figuring it out, we are ok with doing it our way.

So as you navigate through life, I encourage you to keep the same momentum. Embrace the rebellious achiever in you & learn from the examples who strive for the same around you. Use the stories & experiences of your sisters/brothers & know that you are destined for greatness; even if it does not look like it right now. There is greatness lined in tenacity, stubbornness & resilience. When those characteristics are cultivated & coupled with the desire to survive exceedingly above all expectations the WIN IS YOURS, always.


Beauty in Self-Patience

The logo for Nickkie&Co. is a butterfly woman who is slightly looking back at what she has come from. Who took the time to let life take it’s course in order to acquire her wings while moving forward to what appears to be a transition into more of her potential. To me, a butterfly is symbolic of the evolution we take as a women & as human-beings. Butterflies do not originally start as the bright, vibrant & beautiful creatures we recognize them as. They spend a large portion of their lives ugly, disgraced & undesirable only to later evolve into something mesmerizing to the human eye. You see, people see the beauty of the butterfly & forget… the butterfly was once a caterpillar & before that larva & before that an egg. Had it not been for the fine tuned patience of that very butterfly to persevere, evolve & invest in itself we would never see such a prepossessing miracle. See, had the butterfly not been naturally conditioned to relentlessly endow itself in its potential, we would be missing out on a wonder that is so symbolic of a woman’s beauty. Beauty that is enhanced when she takes the time to patiently invest in herself & her journey.

The life cycle of a butterfly can take up to a year for full evolution. However, it is steadfast & consistent in its process because the bigger picture (reward) is ahead of it. It’s patience is to be admired & its ability to be isolated (cocooned) for an extended period of time should be sought after & replicated. In the butterfly’s  patient isolation is when the magic happens. That is why today I urge you to be patient with yourself.

Embrace your journey & allow yourself to make mistakes. The scars you feel make you ugly, in fact, contribute to what makes you beautiful. Life is about maneuvering through our transitions with patience. We are not supposed have all the answers for everything – right away. It is a process of growth & investment. Too often we are so hard on ourselves by imposing standards that require us to move too fast & avoid the scenic route. Life does not have to be a hectic drive on a busy highway. We need to begin to relish in the experience as we keep our focus on the bigger picture. It is amazing what is noticed/taught when we take the time (a second) to stop & smell the flowers along the way.

Making America “NOT SO” Great…

If you have been following Nickkie&Co for some time, you know I generally do not discuss politics or riveting current events unless my heart is moved to do so. However, I would be naive to ignore the suffering that has occurred to Americans within the American border. Although we received notification that the government shutdown has ended, the truth of the matter is, the government was still shut down for over a month. This resulted in over 800,000 people effected & a US deficit of 6 billion dollars. Based on conversations I have had, it is evident that regardless of our own individual political views, the concensus amongst us is disgust. Disgust because there was an attempt to prove a point on the backs of Americans. Someone’s hatred/distaste for one group resulted in the oppression of US citizens.
 
For weeks, government workers have had to struggle with maintaining the livelihood of their families. The shut down not only effected their income, it effected health insurance benefits & the various ways that people have ensured the survival & advancement of their families. There was a political massacre taking place at the expense of the American people. This is utterly unacceptable because regardless, a hardship was deliberately placed amongst us by the very person in place to unify us. Although better days are coming, this does not erase what has occurred to these families & the steps that would need to be taken to pick up the pieces. There will still be a delay in the repayment of their funds & this will always linger over the heads of American people. Therefore, it is now more than ever that I urge you to come together in kindness. Let us exemplify what it is to be united even if our “leader” is attempting to divide us. There was a total disregard for how it effects us as a nation. Therefore, our best bet under these circumstances is to rely on each other because together, we can enforce change.
 
As a Philanthropic organization, I struggled with ways to assist due to my own lack of knowledge & my inability obtain access to resources that can really help people. Therefore, this time (praying this is the final time) I can offer word of mouth, encourage people to seek resources, & extend my individual hand for assistance. If you are a family effected by this political uproar, I encourage you to reach out to food banks & local churches for food, resources & benevolence packages that can help you get on your feet. This is a time in which you should speak up & watch God place you in the path of people who can help you. Below, I have included a link that directs  you to resources in NJ able to provide assistance. Although, some of you may not be located in NJ, if you reach out, I’m sure there is someone who can direct you to your state equivalent in some way. Under these circumstances, do not be discouraged, prideful or embarrassed. Allow us to show you what we can do for you. The best of people comes forward during times of distress. We are here. Obtain the resources created for your utilization & be empowered by faith.  ♥️
 
 



 

Be-YOU-Tiful

Society has conditioned us very early on to be content being everyone but ourselves. Our true selves. In one way or another media reminds us that who we are & who we want to be is not enough. Unless, of course, it fits their idea of perfection or success. In many direct & indirect ways, we are told how to dress, how to talk, who to love, how to love, what to like, what to dislike, what is important, what to dismiss & what we should do based on what society thinks is important. This has resulted in so many of us unsure of who we are, what we believe in & what we represent. Well today, I encourage you to start the journey in learning exactly who you are, what you stand for & what is important to you because despite what you are conditioned to believe –there is not one single person that is on this earth just like you. You were made special, as one of a kind, limited edition — that is the beauty that is you.

The most beautiful thing I have ever witnessed is a person who found true, genuine joy because they were willing to be rebellious for the sake of discovering themselves. They live in joy because they outgrew society’s standards & are living outside of such restrictions. So many of us are walking around with a mask that perpetrates us in a different way than who we really are. This is dangerous to our self-care because we are too busy living for the likes of someone else– so much so, that we forget who we are & dislike ourselves in the process. To be ourselves unapologetically is the best gift we could ever give ourselves & to the world. We spend so much time of our lives being loyal to other people & we do not realize that being loyal to ourselves & our identities is even more important.

Remaining yourself, regardless of the circumstances you face, is a miraculous talent to have. Even under the worst situations you still remain true- true to you. That is the quality to having a good life that will impact, not only yours, but the lives of others. Like I said, there is no one like you, once you are gone there will never be another you. There is no one better at being you than you — embrace you. That is the least that you can do for yourself. Be you, always, all the time, regardless– Forever.

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