Please welcome Bianca from Miss Mazuma as our guest for today’s Financial Literacy Chronicles. This is Day 30 of 30 (the last day!) in the Financial Literacy Month interview series here on Enwealthen. Don’t worry, though, stay tuned for more captivating interviews coming soon!
Please tell me a little bit about yourself and your blog.
Hi! My name is Bianca and I write the blog Miss Mazuma. I started Miss Mazuma as an outlet to speak openly about money and perhaps help a few people steer clear of some of the financial pitfalls that I didn’t have the wits to avoid.
My financial low was waking up one day and realizing I was in 500k of mortgage debt…on a 45k salary.
A million dollars starts with one cent.
At the time I was terrified, but 4 years later I am in the green with a 75% savings rate and own my home outright. You can read all about it in my 3 part series beginning with The Rise and Fall of my Empire.
Can you share your most impactful money memory from your childhood?
I was born an entrepreneur… I started selling wrapping paper door to door at the tender age of 4, then painting rocks and selling them alongside lemonade, and eventually created a baby sitters club for my parent’s playwright group.
Every bit of money I made I saved in a 2 foot tall tootsie roll bank. I was meticulous with my money and would layer it with bills on the bottom, quarters, dimes, nickels, then pennies. At the very bottom, tucked under the bills, was a hand written tally of how much of each I had.
One day I came home to do my daily count and before spilling it over I could see that there were dimes and nickels at the top of the canister.
Someone had messed with my system!!
I went through all of the coins and tallied them up so I could tell my mom exactly how much my sister had taken. I learned to take better care of my money by opening a bank account later that week!
We all receive financial advice from people in our lives. What’s the most interesting or useful financial advice you’ve received from your community?
My parents fought about money…a lot. In return, I have always been a saver because I equated having money with peace.
Of course, as an adult looking back, I know they were fighting about other things but money is how it manifested.
When my parents finally divorced, my mom, sisters, and I moved into a little apartment. I remember coming home one day and mom was at the kitchen table paying bills with her checkbook (you know, the thing no one uses anymore *grin* ).
She looked at me and said, “Always make your own money.”
Now, some married folks with one income might disagree with that, however, mom’s message was based on her situation. Being divorced with 3 teenage girls is a hard place to be when you have no income. Thankfully, mom had always dabbled in part time jobs and was able to get back on her feet quickly.
Even if you aren’t making your own money, at the very least you should know your household finances. Anything can happen and you need to be prepared to take over should you have to.
I have several personal finance books I regularly give to friends and family. What are your 3 favorite fundamental personal finance books you often gift to others?
I don’t give a lot of books as gifts because the people in my life are still a bit skeptical about talking finance in general (SIDE NOTE – money should not be considered taboo!).
I do, however, try to turn people on to finance related podcasts. I find it easier to tell busy people to listen to something rather than read it. Here is what I am currently listening to:
ChooseFI Podcast – It’s a new podcast but so far I am loving it! Choose FI is basically a step by step guide to becoming financially independent. I am already on my way but I still love to hear Jonathan and Brad speak about their experiences and interview others. They have managed to wrangle an awesome line up of guests so far such as Mrs. Frugalwoods, Justin from Root of Good, and 1500 Days To Freedom (interview).
Martinis and Your Money – Shannon’s podcast is like hanging out with your friend drinking cocktails and talking money. She has a wide array of guest interviews but I am partial to the Happy Hour series when she and 3 fellow bloggers get together to discuss one specific topic. The topics have ranged from Cheap vs Frugal, Holiday Traditions, and Foolish Money Moves. I like the well rounded conversation that 4 different perspectives brings to the table.
Dave Ramsey Show – Now, I am not in debt but I LOVE to hear people call in with their questions and stories. This is by far the best podcast if you are in debt. Dave has a list of simple baby steps to follow but also gives it to you real. There is no sugar coating!! If you need some motivation to pull yourself out of debt, the Debt Free Screams are what you are looking for. I only wish I knew about Dave 4 years ago when I was at my worst!
What financial literacy education did you receive in school? If you had a magic wand, what would you change to improve that?
Ugh…we didn’t have financial literacy! We had a checks and balances class that we learned to write actual checks but it was so so boring.
Now, had they told me if I started saving that day in an IRA that I would be a millionaire by my 30’s I probably would have listened!
So thinking of that magic wand, what would I tell my high school aged self?? Oh man, start early and start strong. Save like your future depends on it, because it does! I had all sorts of money come in and out of my life that I can’t account for… had I been just a bit more calculated I would be a millionaire by now!
The first class would focus on compound interest. #1 – If you save X amount of dollars each month for the next X years you will have X amount by the time you are 30… Ooooohs and ahhhhhs would ensue. Once you have kids hooked it is easier to go back to #1 and remind them the overall point of the discussion.
There are so many blogs on the internet, what are 3 of your favorite blogs that instill financial literacy, either by word or action?
Budgets are Sexy – J$ Money has an easy approach to finances. He isn’t pushing anything in your face and his writing is relatable to everyone. J was very inspirational to me when I first started blogging and is the reason why I began doing my net worth posts. Full transparency can be difficult in a public realm but it helps with accountability and keeping yourself on track. Between Budgets are Sexy and J’s other baby, Rockstar Finance, his sites feature many guest posts that bring others financial perspectives to the spotlight. If you want to chat money and all things related, J$ (and all the peeps behind the scenes) just started the Rockstar Finance Forum and all are welcome to join. The forum started in November but has already done so much for the community and helping with financial literacy. Reading blogs and books is great, but it can be very one sided. On the forums you have a chance to be part of the conversation. I like to call J the Mr Congeniality of Personal Finance because he is a gatherer, supports his community, and is a cheerleader to everyone.
Four Pillar Freedom – Zach is an amazing writer. His blog is based on these four fundamentals: philosophy, psychology, work ethic, and finance. Though he doesn’t always write about money, his work is well rounded and inspiring. At 23, Zach is wise beyond his years and has already gathered much attention including a twitter shout out from none other than J.D. Roth.
Bayalis Is The Answer – Mrs BITA is the bees knees. She writes about her journey to FI from the perspective of a mother, wife, and immigrant often with the mouth of a trucker. *grin* Her knack for numbers far outweighs mine but the stories that go with them are always riveting. We are the same age, both started our blogs around the same time, and are due to graduate to FI the same year. Essentially, Mrs BITA is my FI spirit animal. It is interesting to see the journey from her perspective as a wife and mother as compared to mine as a single lady and mother only to my furry pup.
Start early and start strong
I like to keep inspirational quotes around the house to remind me of what’s important. Do you have a favorite money quote you use to inspire your financial life?
“A million dollars starts with one cent.”
I have been saying this for years every time I pick a penny up off the ground but nothing put it into perspective more than when I started tracking my net worth. Seeing the value of compound interest and watching my net worth creep up just proves that all those pennies eventually turn into dollars.
But really, it isn’t about the pennies at all. It is about being intentional with your money. You work hard for it, don’t just throw it away. Every minute has value just as every penny does.
Thanks for contributing to Financial Literacy Month here on Enwealthen, Bianca!
If you’d like to chat further I can be reached via my blog or email at MissMazuma@gmail.com or on Twitter and Instagram at @missmazuma.
Readers, please share your thoughts on Bianca’s experiences, any additional questions you have, and suggestions for who else you’d like to see interviewed in the comments below. And please do share this with your friends on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest. Thanks!