by Angela Fitzgerald
Hello all, and welcome to another week of Brown Girl, Green Money, the space where we get comfy and talk about all things related to personal finance with a brown girl twist. This has been an amazing journey for me, and I get so hype when I think about the progress that I’ve made in my finances and when I hear about the successes experienced by others. So when I sat down to write this week’s article, a number of ideas came to mind. I actually drafted about three different articles, none of which seemed to stick for me. I couldn’t understand why I was having such a hard time writing this week.
But as I followed my thoughts, I found that they all seemed to take me back a week, to Thursday night. Thursday nights are typically reserved for date night, a time when my significant other and I carve out time to do something fun. I had a random craving for burger and fries, so to Five Guys on State Street we went. While catching up on each other’s weeks over a greasy bag of fries – which are everything by the way – we were approached by a young girl who asked if we could support her cheer leading team by buying candy. We didn’t have any cash on hand, but did spend some time talking with the young girl, who was accompanied by another younger boy and a young woman, who lingered by the door as the girl spoke to us. When they left, my significant other commented that he suspected that the girl and her family were homeless, judging by the fact that she didn’t have any candy on her and her cheer leading team was one neither of us had heard of before. Our conversation quickly transitioned to the topic of homelessness.
It was sad that a young girl didn’t have the luxury of playing at home during the late hours on a school night, but instead was helping to support her family financially. We discussed the general landscape of homeless services, and strategized what we could do as individuals to provide support. As we talked, I thought that it would be nice if I could purchase a property that could provide transitional housing for homeless families. A space that would provide support with dignity. The more I rolled the idea around in my mind, the more I realized that it could become reality. It was at that point that I was reminded of my ‘why.’ Jasmine previously described the ‘why’ as the motivating factor(s) that drives our individual decisions to pursue our personal finance goals. For me, one of my ‘whys’ is being in the position financially to contribute solutions to social problems. To be able to offer free housing and financial support to families, while also funding advocacy efforts to help change policies.
I would like to use money as a tool to make a larger social impact, and keeping this goal at the forefront helps to motivate me. So rather than discuss general financial tips, I’d rather encourage each of us to maintain our focus on the goals that are driving us. In maintaining our focus, we can continue to propel ourselves forward when challenges present. Because that ‘why’ may have absolutely nothing to do with you, and everything to do with improving the life of someone else. I may never see the little girl that I met last Thursday at Five Guys again, but I appreciate the impression that she made.