The CGS Team is proud to present a quick Q&A session with Jennifer Streaks. Jennifer Streaks is a nationally recognized financial expert specializing in personal finance.
With a law degree from Howard University and an MBA from The John Hopkins University Carey School of Business, Jennifer has been helping people with their personal finances since 2005.
Jennifer has provided professional insight to individuals with extreme credit card debt, as well as those in fear of losing their homes. Jennifer has been featured on numerous TV and radio networks, including MSNBC, FOX, Fox Business, CCTV, and MarketWatch.
Jennifer also published “Your 2013 Financial Planner” in January of 2013. The CGS Team encourages financial independence among women and is always happy to feature industry experts with the same values! Get ready to take some notes, City Girls!
CGS: Being an expert in personal finance, in your opinion, how important is it for women to save?
Jennifer Streaks: It is very important for women to save. In most cases the woman makes financial decisions for the household, from what to buy for dinner to the paint color in the living room, so she completely understands and knows the household budget.
Because of this, it is important to have savings to cover the emergencies that will eventually happen, like a broken water heater or even unexpected dental work. A woman that saves puts herself in a great position to be able to handle life’s unexpected curveballs, thus, giving her peace of mind.
CGS:After helping numerous people take control of their debts, when is it acceptable for women to “splurge”?
Jennifer Streaks: We all need to splurge from time to time! Whether it is a great vacation, a new pair of shoes or dinner and cocktails with friends at that hot new restaurant, we all work hard so it is ok to go for it now and then.
Just don’t overdo it and make sure that your financial house is in order. What that means: all bills are paid, you didn’t just splurge last month and you are not taking from Peter to pay Paul.
CGS: What business or financial achievement are you most proud of?
Jennifer Streaks: When the housing bubble burst and so many people especially minorities were losing their homes, I really dug my heels in and helped and I can count the homes and families that I saved from foreclosure.
No matter how that ended, I will always be proud of that because I saw something wrong and unfair that was happening and I worked to do something about it.
I was in court with foreclosure victims, I was on-air talking about the debacle and its effect on American families and I was writing articles on what the housing industry should do to help.
One voice can make a difference and I know that mine was heard and my skills and knowledge were important to many at the time. I still get calls from people who thank me and that is a great feeling. I will always remember that.
CGS: What do you feel are America’s strongest and weakest financial focuses are?
Jennifer Streaks: Strongest financial focus is: Work Ethic. America is built on the foundation of hard work paying off and I believe in it. If you work hard you can achieve anything you set your mind to.
I am the very example of that. You can build and even rebuild if you want to or have to. Tools needed: work ethic, intelligence, an idea, not taking no for an answer, and confidence in yourself.
Weakest focus: Saving. Statistics show that over 70% of Americans are living paycheck to paycheck or that they are one household issue away from financial ruin i.e. flat tire, refrigerator stops working, hospital visit, etc.
So what accounts for this: we are a consumption nation and we want it all & right now. The same work ethic that says we should work hard also leads us to play hard and buy big. We need to really focus on increasing our savings and preparing for that inevitable rainy day.
CGS: What advice would you give a woman trying to be fashionable on a budget?
Jennifer Streaks: I always get questions on being fashionable on a budget. It is what led to me starting my affordable lifestyle initiative. Many think that it is impossible to be fashionable on a budget or that finances have to be a chore, but that is not the case.
The first thought that comes to mind is SALE! A sale should be a girl’s best friend, never buy anything that is not on sale. We always hear that we should not pay full price for a car and that advice should apply to everything else too.
The markup at the department stores is outrageous, so you should always shop only on sale and that applies to clothes, shoes, home décor and kitchen items, EVERYTHING!
Next, drop the need for instant gratification. This gets a lot of people in trouble! You do not need it right now. Take your time, develop a more measured approach to shopping and you will find you save so much money!
For more information on Jennifer, check out her personal website below. Also, stay up to date with Jennifer by following her on social media. CGS is proud to support women who help others!
Facebook: Jennifer Streaks
Jennifer on MSNBC!
Related: 5 Tips for Dressing Chic on a Budget
Thanks so much to Jennifer for joining us for this interview!