The start of a new year is a good time to reflect and make goals for the year ahead. Financial wellness is something that many young professionals struggle with, so we asked Jamila Souffrant, a certified financial education instructor podcaster, blogger, money coach and founder of Journey To Launch, about her path to reach financial freedom. Because of her money habits, Jamila and her husband saved more than $84,000 last year. They are debt-free besides their mortgage (which in NYC is a miracle accomplishment in and of itself). Jamila is a panelist at the Young Professionals Committee event New Year, New You: Tips To Live Your Best Life on Jan. 31, 2018 at Lord & Taylor.
What advice would you give urbanites trying to save for the first time?
Living in a high cost of living (HCOL) area like NYC has its advantages and disadvantages. Yes, it can be very expensive, but on the other end, you have a lot more options to shop around and save. That goes for all areas of your budget, such as food, clothing and transportation. For example, living in a city with such great public transportation means you don't necessarily need a car, which is typically one of the top three expenses. If someone is really looking to save for the first time, tracking expenses and having a working budget will be the first key step. With a budget, you can evaluate your spending habits and eliminate the things that are not in alignment with helping you reach your savings goals.
What’s the biggest mistake people make when trying to save money?
The biggest mistake is not having a budget and not being honest with themselves about their expenses. Not all expenses are made equal. Some are "necessary to have", but many expenses are "nice to have". That means, if you are willing to cut out or cut back on the "nice to have" expenses, you will be able to better reach your goals. Some people don't want to make those necessary sacrifices needed to save money, and they are not honest with themselves about it.
Why did you decide to start your own podcast?
I started a podcast because I loved listening to podcasts but felt that my voice and perspective was missing in the podcasting arena. I wanted to be able to reach more people and be a source of inspiration, the way other podcasts were inspirations for me.
What is your 2018 resolution?
To create better habits that will allow me to reach my goals, such as reading more and waking up earlier.