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The Bay State Banner
The Bay State Banner

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Banner holds 2nd Money Talk conference on financial literacy

Karen Morales
Banner holds 2nd Money Talk conference on financial literacy
Keynote speaker Teri Williams addresses the crowd at Money Talk 2. PHOTO: KAREN MORALES

On Saturday, the Bay State Banner presented its second edition of Money Talk: A free financial literacy conference for communities of color, featuring an entire day of keynote speakers and workshops on wealth building.

The event took place at Roxbury Community College and was sponsored by local partners OneUnited Bank, The Urban Heat 98.1 FM, WCVB’s CityLine  and Roxbury Community College.

Lunch was provided by local restaurant partners Slade’s Bar & Grill and Bella Luna & The Milky Way.

Gail Jackson-Blount, principal at Jackson Communications served as emcee; Teri Williams, president and COO of OneUnited Bank was the morning keynote speaker; and Colette Phillips, president and CEO of Colette Phillips Communications was the afternoon motivational speaker.

Conference guests were invited to join any of the seven workshops to learn more about credit building, managing your taxes, buying a home for the first time, managing debt, preserving your estate, restructuring your finances and flipping your side hustle.

“There are many things we need to learn, as well as unlearn,” said Williams in her opening keynote speech.

One of the myths people might have been brought up to believe was that if you simply saved your money more, you’ll be more wealthy, and black people in particular are not wealthy because they spend too much.

In reality, “public policy prevented us from accumulating wealth through things like income disparity and loan and mortgage discrimination,” said Williams.

And in today’s day and age, salary and wage increases have not kept up with the astronomical rise in living costs. Simply putting your money straight into your pocket does not help to accumulate wealth, said Williams. Instead, setting up automated savings or investment vehicles to grow your money will be more beneficial in the long run.

Another myth Williams busted was that wealth is visible. “You can see someone’s assets, but you cannot see their debt,” she countered. There is good debt, and then there is bad debt, and as the $1.5 trillion student loan debt crisis in our country shows, not all student loans are worth the investment — especially if they carry high interest rates.

Williams also broached the topic of life insurance and writing a will, topics deemed morbid by some. “Life insurance is a way to give generational wealth without being wealthy,” she said. Contrary to popular belief, there are life insurance quotas that are affordable and accessible for many people of all income levels. 

Writing a will ensures that your assets will be handled the way you want them to be after you pass, and “writing one will not cause you to immediately die,” joked Williams.

“Only 28 percent of people of color have a will,” she added.

The last pieces of advice Williams shared with the audience was to buy your own home, even if it’s a condominium and even if you have to pool resources together with all of your family members. “By paying rent, you’re building wealth for someone else,” she said.

Colette Phillips, the event’s motivational speaker, shared with the audience several tips to build wealth and prosperity through the lens of spirituality.

“We get caught in the misnomer that money is at the root of all evil,” said Phillips. “That to me, is the most misunderstood verse of the Bible.” To put money above all else is the root of evil, but not money itself, she said.

“It was not the intention of our creator to have us struggle and suffer from lack of money,” she said, citing Jeremiah 29:11.

Concrete tips to have a “prosperity consciousness and not a poverty one,” included to start an investment club with friends, instead of a book club. “As black people, when we pool our resources together, we move mountains,” said Phillips.

Additionally, Phillips advised the audience to work towards buying property. “Owning property is like having money in the bank. I used my first condominium as collateral to start my business,” she said.

Other tips Phillips shared to build a more prosperous life included: Put together a vision board to keep your goals always in mind; start each day with meditation, regardless of your faith; be less of a consumer and more of an investor; create multiple streams of income; automate your finances; and remember that just because you have bad credit now, doesn’t mean you can’t take steps to rebuild it.

“This event gives us the tools to improve our livelihoods and provide more for our families,” said Jackson-Blount. “Building wealth is not insurmountable, as long you stay focused and have a plan.”

“This is such an important topic and we want to use every opportunity we can to bring this to the forefront,” said Lorita Williams, vice president of institutional advancement and community engagement at RCC. “My hope is that we keep putting this event on over and over again and bring in more people each time.” 

For details or to get involved in Money Talk III next year, email Stefany Boston at