The Struggle: How To Help Our Future Generations Achieve Financial Success

Knowledge = Power

I remember watching an episode of “Explained”, a show on Netflix that takes a topic and digests it through various resources and interviews from experts.

This episode was about billionaires and featured guests such as Shark Tank’s Mark Cuban, who shared their experiences on being wealthy. In “Explained”, they disclose that ownership, or capital, was a major key to the wealth of billionaires.

“You’re not going to earn a billion dollars pulling down regular income and paying regular income tax on it. It’s just not gonna happen. So ownership is what creates wealth”

Abigail Disney

Naturally, my mind was blown. It made me wonder: do people know about this!? These keys to success? In a world where people make money in their sleep, how is it POSSIBLE that there are still so many hard-working people in the struggle?

In general, people of color tend to be at a disadvantage when it comes to financial education because our elders don’t typically have the tools, insight, or resources needed to pass down to the next generation. But, I’m here to help!

Here are my recommended tips and suggestions on how we can overcome the struggle and set up our future generations for financial success.

1. Ownership

A lot of people believe that good old-fashioned hard work and labor will eventually help them achieve their financial goals.

By a show of hands, how many of us know someone currently working 2 or 3 jobs just to make ends meet? It turns out that we got it all wrong. The wealthiest people in the world make less money through labor and more through capital.

Capital is anything you own that can make you money, this list includes stocks and real estate.

For example, instead of having your money waste away in a temporary rental apartment where there are no financial benefits, why not save up and own a home (or apartment) that can earn you equity?

If homeownership is too steep of a goal, on a smaller scale, you have stocks. There are apps, such as Public, where you can buy shares into your favorite companies or industries (food, automotive, marijuana). Some shares can be as cheap as $0.20!!

If you’d like to sustain your money and have it stick around for generations to come, look into ownership. There are solutions available for all walks of life.

2. Education is Key

Lack of education causes us to waste our time and money on short-term instruments that don’t come with long-term benefits. Remember, the idea is to spend our money smarter.

I know finance can seem like an intimidating topic to dive into with all the math and fancy terminology, especially without guidance, but it’s alright! When there’s a will, there’s a way and there are alternative resources that make learning about money lite. My favorite? Books.

I recommend Investing for Dummies by Eric Tyson. It breaks down topics like savings, investments, real estate, and the stock market in a way that’s simple and digestible and proves how achieving goals, like becoming a millionaire, isn’t far from reach.

As a matter of fact, according to Eric Tyson, as of the 4th edition of Investing for Dummies, there were approximately 8 million US households that had at LEAST one million dollars.

If the 430-page count scares you away, there are numerous books available on the topic of money, investing, and finance. But, if you’re looking to ingest the info in smaller bits, the next thing I recommend is doing research online.

Most of these sites, like The Penny Hoarder, NerdWallet, and The Budgetnista, also have social media accounts. Just make sure you’re getting your info from an accredited site so you’re not misled under pretenses.

Before you know it, you’ll have the knowledge you need to put your financial plans into action. All that’s left is making a conscious effort to go about things differently.

3. Smarter NOT Harder

This scenario may seem familiar, how many of you know people who have come into large lump sums of money (OK TAX SEASON!) only to blow it on extravagant, superficial things like shoes, clothes, hair, and vacations? Before you know it their money is gone and it’s back to the struggle.

I know it feels good to splurge, but, when you come down from that high, you look up and you’re left with nothing. Why not maximize the potential of these earnings?

For example, instead of holding your money in a standard commercial checking account, where there are little to no benefits (but hella fees), try a money market account that accrues interest!

Nerd wallet has a list of the best money market accounts for 2021, most of which have NO minimum balance requirements.

Have a little one? Instead of treating your child to cash or a gift card, why not buy them a savings bond? Or stocks? Acorns is an app that offers investing accounts for kids which you can open with as little as $5!

These are just some ways you can get the most bang for your buck.

4. Each One, Teach One

Lately, I’ve noticed a more aggressive push towards spreading the gospel of the importance of wealth and establishing credit in the black community. Take music for example. Financial juggernauts (and superstar couple) Jay-Z and Beyonce are good for dropping gems in their lyrics:

Financial freedom my only hope
Fuck livin’ rich and dyin’ broke
I bought some artwork for one million
Two years later, that shit worth two million
Few years later, that shit worth eight million
I can’t wait to give this shit to my children

Jay-Z

Gimme my check, put some respek on my check
Or pay me in equity (Pay me in equity)
Watch me reverse out the debt (Skrrt)

Beyonce

Killer Mike, a rapper and activist from ATL, is doing his part with the creation of Greenwood Bank, an online-based black-owned bank whose mission is to help circulate money in communities of color.

From seminars to how-to books it’s become a lot more trendy to share knowledge about money, finances, and the benefits of passive income. Which is great! We need more mentors in our communities!

If you have the knowledge, pass it down. Sharing is caring 🙂

I have faith that, if we learn from the mistakes of the generations before us by equipping ourselves with knowledge and make a conscious effort to do things differently, in one generation we can turn things around.

Goodbye struggle, hello financial freedom!

Self Reflection? The Soul Searching Power Of A Checkers Game

How one match of checkers turned into a very valuable life lesson

One rainy Sunday morning, I stopped by my Uncle’s house for some coffee, breakfast, and a game of checkers with my Grandmother. Being the reigning checkers’ champ in my own home, I had no doubts whatsoever that I would walk away with the “W”.

Four games later, my Grandmother had four consecutive flawless victories.

No matter what strategies I tried I couldn’t beat her. I was making moves that I felt were clever, adept, and unsurpassable yet and still, my Grandmother was always 1 step ahead of me leaving me awestruck and dumbfounded. Throughout our games, she’d give me helpful tips: pay attention, look at the board before you make a move, and most importantly, concentrate. Seemed like easy enough advice to follow but, try as I might, I kept goofing up.

“You don’t concentrate,” my Grandmother told me, “there were times when you came close, and I was sure you had me beat, but you couldn’t see it because you weren’t paying attention”. Her feedback tripped me up because I was truly and genuinely oblivious to this fact. Of course, I was paying attention! Well, wasn’t I?

Valuable Life Lessons

This experience made me realize that I have a lot of growing to do. You see winning streaks have a tendency to stroke the ego and, for a long time, I was undefeated in the game of checkers. Then, my Grandmother came along and revealed all the chinks in my armor.

She showed me that:

  • I’m overly confident
  • Anxious
  • And quick to rush to judgment

These tips go beyond our checkers’ games. In life, one false move could make or break you. Taking your time and concentrating before executing your movements could be the difference between success and failure. I’m certainly guilty of moving too fast or not doing my best due to my anxiousness, but they say slow and steady win the race, something I should have taken into consideration during our checkers’ games.

The Bottom Line

Look, there’s always going to be someone bigger, better, faster, or stronger than you, but please don’t take it personally. Being beaten at your own game is not a testament to how much you suck, but instead of how much learning and growing you have to do. Therein lies the difference. Don’t cower away or let a bruised ego get the best of you. Instead, use these moments as opportunities for education. Internalize them and ask yourself,

  • Where are you going wrong?
  • How can you be better next time?

I’ve always been told that, in order to be the teacher, you have to be one hell of a student, to be a leader you have got to learn how to follow, and to beat your Grandmother at checkers, apparently you have to pay closer attention.

There are a lot of people running around with unchecked egos and, I personally think, nothing is more dangerous or damaging to your mental growth. Once you give up on learning and growing as a person, you stunt your own potential.

Remember that there is always room for improvement and life moments like this are a reminder of that. Do you feel that you can grow and improve as a person? If you answer no, I’d recommend doing some self-reflection. Pay closer attention to your errors and mistakes, notice any patterns?

Do you find yourself making the same mistakes over and over? Start there and see where it leads you.

As for me, my Grandmother and I have another match of checkers coming up. I’ll let you know how it goes.

Find Your Spark: The Findings of a Lost Soul

Read on to find out how I went from being a “lost soul” to suddenly finding my spark

I was 31 years old when I got my spark. For those of you who have NOT yet seen the movie “Soul”, a spark is your life’s purpose, your inspiration and reason for living. It happened when I was watching HGTV’s “Fixer Upper”. This episode featured a young couple who were looking for their first home together. The coffee shop owners found a home for less than $100K and used the remainder of their budget to renovate their home and give it the personal touch they needed to make the home REALLY theirs. Your girl Joanna did her thing, like always! During the last shot of the couple in their home, they were welcoming friends over and telling the camera crew how delighted they were with their starter home, and that’s when I felt it, that twinge of “I want that“. The feeling of “this would make me happy” was shocking to me, you see because I always thought my life’s purpose was Writing.

By the time I was a teen, I knew I wanted 2 things out of life:

  1. To make enough money to live in one of the most expensive cities in the World
  2. To entertain people.

I have been on a quest of fulfillment ever since. That quest has caused me to start working at age 13. Since then, I’ve made my way through five industries and 12 jobs, all of which left me feeling unfulfilled. It didn’t matter whether they were reputable (some of them were) or if they helped me move out on my own (some of them did), none of them made me happy. That’s because I was making moves for all the wrong reasons. Your job isn’t supposed to be your happiness. Your happiness should exist outside of external instruments. Your life should make you happy and your life should not start and end with your work.

It took me up until now to realize a life of working isn’t living and it’s all I’ve been doing up to now. Investing all of my time and energy into my work and having no air around me. No time for fun, friends, or family just duties and then one day you look up and realize it’s all you have. I don’t want a life of completing tasks. I want to be able to conduct science experiments with my daughter, or to lay in bed with my Husband and talk about the theories of the Universe, or call my best friend and laugh and talk for hours, or visit my Grandmother on a Sunday morning and play checkers while we have our coffee. THIS is living folks. These moments are life.

I’m not telling you to quit your job, I’m encouraging you to make sure you exist outside of it.

Hey, we all have to make a living and frankly, I quite like being a Writer. I enjoy helping and entertaining people with my words but it’s not my life’s purpose because working isn’t living. Rapping JCOLE’s “Can’t Get Enough” with my Husband off of our terrace at 1 in the morning is an example of living (that’s a hook right thurr). Talking to my Mom about recipes I found on Pinterest is living. Reading books with your children, catching up with friends, and taking walks outside are all examples of living. Take the time to be alive. I hope you’ve found your spark. And if not, no worries! As the lovely George Eliot once said:

It’s never too late to be what you might have been

George Eliot

Dream In Art

I swear, if I were a Pokemon, I’d be a Creative type ❤

Does anyone else dream in art?

In my daydreams, I see flash mobs. Every time I hear one of my favorite songs, I picture myself dancing. But not just me fuckin’ it up on the dance floor.

Na, it’s a whole extravaganza. A visual. It’s lights, a stage, background dancers performing whole routines (ON TIME); it’s beautiful, symmetrical, and breath-taking. It gives me chills. It brings tears to my eyes. It puts a smile on my face. I can’t help it, I love to express.

I feel like I have so much to say and where words fail, it comes out in the form of art: Dancing. Writing. “Singing” (which is what I claim I do when I karaoke. But BITCH when I karaoke you can’t tell me I’m not Whitney) whatever the form, I love to express. Perform. I stopped being afraid of an audience a long time ago. That thing that people have that makes them feel embarrassed? Whatever part of the brain that is, I’ve done away with it. Numbed Overrode it. (which is a dope nod to how awesome my willpower is).

Art makes people happy, or at the very least, inspires emotion! Seeing a dope canvas, hearing a poppin’ song, watching a thought-provoking movie! I, too, like to make people happy and people experience happiness when they’re entertained. I am willing to be the jester at people’s expense. People who are willing to put themselves in front of an audience just to make people feel good are my favorite kinds of people. This reminds me of a story…

A Trip Down Memory Lane

In 2019, my family and I went on a family vacation on a Carnival Cruise Line (The Liberty; back when it wasn’t controversial to do things like that) and it was the last night of the vacation.

Our very boisterous, extremely entertaining cruise Director Cookie managed to gather the ENTIRE cruise ship in the main deck lobby for a night of trivia and sing-alongs. That’s. How. Good. He was at his job. Cookie for president is all I’m saying… anywho, so there we are. In this luminous, glossy, regal decorated lobby standing together as one, 4 songs in, when the song that comes up next is Whitney Houston’s “I’ll Always Love You”.

There stood Cookie on the bar top with his best rendition of Whitney Houston’s iconic “Body Guard”. Whitney hit us with the “And above all this, I wish you love…”. He asked for participation from the crowd…

We all showed up, showed out, and at the top of the lungs we let out an “And Iiiiiiiiiiiiiii”.The entire cruise rang with the sound of our voices. It was beautiful. Like something out of a movie. Or a concert. We gave the performance of our lives. We gave it everything we didn’t have. Riffs and all. And for a moment, nothing else mattered. It was just us, Cookie, the music and the wide-open ocean. I cried tears of joy. It will go down in history as one of the best experiences of my life. This is what art provides for people: once-in-a-lifetime experiences.

All of the greatest showcases of art started off as dreams. That dream turned into an idea. And that idea was manifested and displayed before you. Someone’s dream is now your favorite: song, musical, movie, book, tv show. This very blog was once a dream of mine; I dreamed of using my words to reach people by vocalizing my thoughts and feelings because I just knew in my heart of hearts that there must be people in the world who share them! I have more dreams that I will turn into art someday in the form of books, scripts, and choreography to name a few. It’s just a matter of putting these dreams into words. So far all of my artists with their heads in the clouds: keep dreaming! Keep hope alive! Somewhere there is an audience for you waiting for you to pour your (he)art out.

What are some dreams of yours that you can’t wait to turn into reality? For me, it’s writing my first book ^.^ Share your dreams in the comments below >>>>

The Value Of Representation

I dub thee: The Infamous

I recently ran into a fellow Blerd at a local Dunkin Donuts and O.M.G he made me feel like a rock star! So, this is what representation does for people?

Last week, I took a trip to my job’s local Dunkin Donuts; it was about 2 o’clock in the afternoon and, having worked since 9:00am, I was in dire need of a pick-me-up. I was donning my infamous denim jacket: the jacket I personalized a few summers ago to feature my favorite pop culture buttons and pins (mainly from comics, anime, movies and video games). A little something I made purely for fun at the time as a form of expression for my inner nerd-dom. As I made my way to the cashier, there was a customer by the door waiting for his order: an African American male who looked to be in his late teens/early 20s. He took notice of the personalizations and proceeded to fanboy.so.hard. He fanatically asked if I would be so kind as to let him ogle at the back of it. As he made his way down, he noted all of his favorite characters:”Edward Scissor Hands!”, “OH MY GOD Jack Skellington!!” “SAILOR MOON!”. He pulled back his shirt sleeve to reveal an anime-themed tattoo on his forearm. “I’m a nerd, too!” He shared. By then, it was time to grab his order. He grabbed his coffee and said to the barista: “NIGGA! You know we go to Comic-Con! We love that shit!” as if their friendship existed outside of their coffee interactions. As the barista lectured him about his use of the word “Nigga“, he made his way out of the door. Before departing he turned to me and, with a smile, said “Yo, Thank you! That made my day!” then proceeded to leave riding the high that my jacket gave him: This. This is why.

Representation is SO important.

There’s just something about seeing yourself in someone else that makes you feel: heard. seen. represented.

It’s the feeling I get when I see other BLERDS like @Kieraplease on IG or so-called “awkward black girls” like Issa Rae. A sense of community and kinship. Seeing people like you can do wonders for your self-esteem.

Knowing that you’re not alone. That you’re apart of something bigger.

Not seeing yourself on mainstream platforms has a way of making you feel like you don’t exist. Like you’re the only one in the World. And besides, the media only portrays what’s popular and in the 90s – the early 2000s (which is when I grew up) being a black nerd was NOT it. That’s ESPECIALLY true for girls. Thank the Universe for Aisha Tyler. I’d be surprised *if you could name me 3 blerds from the 90s. I’ll wait…

During this time, according to mainstream media, black girls were: strong, fashionable, funky, conscious, sexy, classy, maternal, goofy, temperamental. All lovely adjectives. None of which translates to nerdy. And yet here I was: a girl. black. and nerdy.

I was left asking: where are the other black girls who liked anime? Where are the black girls who crushed on Future Trunks? (I called dibs. he’s mine. you can’t have him) Who had anime theme songs on their iPods ?(haha I’m aging myself). Who could kick their friend’s asses in Tekken? Who would stay up late on a school night to watch the Toonami lineup? Who could hold their own in a PS vs Xbox debate? (ijs, if you’re team Xbox you’re on the losing side). Did it stop and end in my middle school classroom!?

For years, I didn’t think I had a place in the world. I walked around just feeling like a black sheep: I was considered too white to be black. Black-black so I couldn’t be white. The truth is I believed I didn’t fit in anywhere because I didn’t grow up seeing people like me. Due to lack of representation, people would see me and not know how to categorize me. Often, they would just default me to “tomboy”. At one point, I remember being asked if I was gay before I knew what being gay was. I guess displaying Dragonball Z printouts on your bedroom walls and binders while holing yourself in your room for countless hours playing Donkey Kong Country on your hand-me-down SNES wasn’t considered “feminine”? Now, thanks to Social Media platforms like: IG, Pinterest, and Tumblr, I feel like there’s (finally) a space for people like me! It’s such a breath of fresh air to see people like me cosplaying, gaming , and having debates over anime titles. I’m not an alien after all!

From IG pages like @blerdover and *@blerdofficial to actresses like Jessica Williams and musicians like Travis Scott: the world is finally getting a glimpse of the nerdy black scene. The “alternative” black kid: the awkward, geeky, nerdy, introverted, Naruto running, ramen eating, Harry Potter obsessing, rage quitting crowd that has been here all along. Because it does exist. We have been existing. We were just denied access by the gatekeepers who are determined to portray people of color in a certain light.

But fear not Blerds, it’s ok. Why? Because I am here. (If you read that in All Might’s voice, then you are in the right place.)

*Got your list of 3? Drop ’em in the comments below

*You can check out more blerd content here: https://www.blerd.com

Trusting YOUR Process

Thanks for believing in me < 3

Why it’s 100% necessary to be patient with yourself and stop monitoring the success of other people. Oh, the places you’ll go…


In the internet age, it’s hard not to compare yourself to everyone else– you see the glorified pics, the constant portrayal of success. How can one witness these things and not start self-reflecting about where they have (or haven’t) accomplished.

It’s happened to me.

Once upon a time, I took a hiatus from social media because it wasn’t breeding inspiration. It started to become a reflection of all the things I wasn’t doing and it showed me all the goals I wanted to achieve but couldn’t.

I started to get jealous and envious. I began to not have love and appreciation for the things I had going on because I was too busy trying to live someone else’s life.

That’s where I went wrong.

Instead of monitoring and focusing on my own success, I was distracted by the paths of other people. I found myself checking the pages of people with more established followings and endorsement deals thinking to myself how could I be like them? What are they doing that I’m not doing?

Who can relate?

Ladies: how many times have you seen a picture or a video of a trending woman and started to think about all of the improvements you needed to make?

How your body could be: thinner, thicker, toner. Your hair could be longer, fuller, healthier.

You get swallowed by the popularity contest and lose yourself in light of being liked; not knowing all the while what their real-life experience is like. You’re just caught up in the glorified image that’s portrayed online.

Don’t lose Yourself in light of being liked #trustyourprocess

Being someone new on the scene, I was definitely tempted by the bells and whistles that would take me to faster stardom: I considered playing up my sexiness, being a brand ambassador for an online fashion boutique, and thought about switching to lanes that had nothing to do with my art just to get attention.

It was my best friend that told me to keep my eye on the prize. She recommended that I stick to what makes me an individual versus trying to hop on the bandwagon. It reminded me of that scene in A Star Is Born where Bradley Cooper is giving Lady Gaga advice on her stardom, he says:

If you don’t dig deep into your fuckin’ soul you won’t have legs. I’m just telling you that. If you don’t tell the truth out there you’re fucked. All you got is you and what you have to say to people and they are listening right now and they are not going to be listening forever. Trust me. So you gotta grab it and you don’t apologise or worry about why they’re listening or how long they’re gonna be listening for. You just tell them what you want to say.

Bradley Cooper, A Star Is Born

I realize now that people aren’t following me on social media and coming to my website because I’m like someone else: you’re here for me.

There was something about me that interested you and it’s that exchange that’s so important!

I don’t want to waste any time or energy on trends. After a while, I’d exhaust all of my efforts just trying to keep up. It would mean so much more to be noticed for being me ^_^

The focus should be on figuring out what I could do better not how I can be like other people.

Remember that!

One can easily get caught up in the scene but remember that even the trendsetters were once where you are now: in a space trying to figure out their path to success.

They figured out a way that works best for them, now it’s up to you to pave the way for yourself. Comparing your process to that of others is just counterproductive.

Find your “it” factor and construct a plan on how to make it work for you!

  • Try a vision board.
  • Check-in with yourself, often.

Don’t forget to add the energy!

What Life is Like On Vacation

Want to live your life like you’re on vacation? Read on to find out my recommended tips of how you can bring the feelings of the Bahamas right to your own home plus, exclusive footage of me on my most recent family vacation


Woo! It’s day 1 of my vacation… and life is great. I have no complaints like I normally would. I’m not worried about money or bills or any of my day to day stresses. I’m just happy the sun is shining and as far as I’m concerned, the world is my oyster!

Or so it seems. ::ponders::

What is it about vacation mode that makes us feel so…liberated?

Being on vacation makes me want to capture every moment and only occupy my time with things that bring me joy.

Capture every moment and occupy your time with things that bring you joy #vacationmode

Being in a constant state of bliss gives me the energy I need to manifest my destiny: remember you need to feed it as much energy as you can. With my energy tank on full, my cup runneth over allowing me to pay it forward and transfer energy unto others!

With my energy tank on full, my cup runneth over #payitforward

People say life on vacation is different. That it can’t doesn’t translate to real life. Don’t be friends with these people. Un-invite them to your parties. When they ask why, tell them it’s because Ky said so.

I challenge the concept that life can’t replicate what it’s like on vacation. Why not!?

Why can’t I fill my life with things that bring me joy and uplift my spirit!?

It gets to a point where you realize that you’re not living the life you want. And it sparks something. It ignites a change.

That’s all it takes: inspiration.

Before you know it, your life is reaping benefits on a regular basis.

You’re able to have:

  • improved physical & mental health (click here for tips on how to improve your mental health)
  • increased will power (click here for tips on how to increase your will power)
  • better bonds with loved ones
  • and general well being:

These are the real life side effects of vacation according to expert, Psychologist Shannon Torberg.

You can read more about the benefits of taking a vacation here: http://www.allinahealth.org/healthysetgo/thrive/importance-of-taking-vacation

Here’s what I propose: think about how life is when you’re on vacay.

Pay attention to the things that you can do without or anything you choose not to give energy to.

For me: it’s talking and/or thinking about my job; I want to give as little energy to it as possible until I will it out of my life.

I’m trying to succeed on my own! I have plans for me! And there’s nothing I wouldn’t sacrifice to achieve it!

On the flip side, think about what being on vacation brings out of you!

Maybe you make an active decision not to be on your phone as much, or you’re inspired to conquer a fear, or just put on a nice ‘fit and dance the night away!

For me: I’m usually kinder, a lot more patient and have a willingness to say “yes” that I would love to incorporate into my everyday life.

I’d love to hear from you:

Is there an aspect of you that only comes out during vacation mode? Think about how this can be applied to your everyday life and tell me how you think it could benefit you.

Drop it in the comments below.

Here are some exclusive clips from some past vacations with yours truly ^_^

Until our next adventure…


Family Vacation on Carnival Cruise circa 2019


Baby girl’s first time on an airplane ^_^



Whether on land or at sea, I always bring my dancing shoes



The views from the Atlantis Aquarium took my breath away ❤




Build-a-bear experience! I just LOVED our Cruise Director, Cookie