Flint entrepreneur Kala Wilburn has given a lot of thought to what financial freedom looks and feels like.
“The term financial freedom means living a worry-free life by being prepared financially for anything that in most cases would seem like an emergency,” the founder of the Fannie Lucille clothing line says. “It requires you to build a life where bills are always paid on time, savings are always available and necessities are always taken care of. It is a stress-free life!”
She just doesn’t pay lip service to the concept. Wilburn has put in a lot of work to improve her financial standing and reports that she is still on the journey. Thankfully, she’s had some help along the way through the kindness and expertise of the staff at Metro Community Development (MCD).
She feels that Metro’s outlook and commitment to community engagement has helped her open up her mind to greater opportunities for her business. Primarily, Wilburn has benefited from by learning what it takes to build good business credit.
“This was helpful to me because it was something that I never thought of before. After engaging with the staff of Metro, I have been on the road to building not only my credit, but my business credit. I have also transformed my business plan and strategy,” she reveals.
Last year Wilburn raised her credit score by an impressive 100-plus points. It has since then dropped a few points, but she stresses that traveling the road to recovery has been a very intentional endeavor for her.
“Once I realized that it was my job to create my own future, I realized I had to be the person to open doors for myself. I began to change my mindset about money, bills, credit and collections,” she says.
Wilburn adds that she began to open every bill envelope and contact all her outstanding account holders. Sacrificing often so that she could begin to pay bills on time was another one of her successful strategies. Today, the mother of two is proud to report that she and her husband have plans for their family to buy homes and create a legacy.
Buying a home, starting a business and restoring credit are three areas that Metro will help people with at their ninth annual Show Me the Money pre-Super Bowl Party. The free event is taking place on Feb. 1 from 11 a.m. – 2 p.m. at Community Outreach for Family and Youth (1015 E. Carpenter Road).
According to Grace Taylor, Metro’s community outreach specialist, 300 people are expected to attend the event that has been designed and honed over the years to help residents gain financial literacy skills.
“I consistently receive inquiries as to the next Show Me the Money. It feels great to have our community look forward to this event,” Taylor says.
She adds that there will be 10-15 minute Money Moves learning sessions that will culminate in a fun game show competition and many opportunities to win a gift card to help with tax refund planning.
“Each detail is specifically planned to be informative yet entertaining,” Taylor says. “You will walk away feeling informed and ready to move forward with Metro.”
Learning to use money as a tool to propel your life the right direction is something that Taylor feels is accessible to everyone. She is generous with sharing her learned insights relating to money management.
“Start opening the mail you get from bill collectors. Call the bill collectors and build a relationship with them,” says Taylor.. “Begin to pay off one bill at a time and check your credit score monthly.
Bottom line: It’s important to make an effort to save your money, even if it’s only $20 a month, according to Taylor, who also recommends checking your bank balance monthly.
“Get a new mindset and relationship with money and credit,” says Taylor. “Do not fear it.”
The hardest time to accept help in financial literacy is when you are in financial crisis, according to Taylor, who says that it is also the most critical time to ask for help.
“There are lots of things we can do to help before (credit) problems get bigger,” says Taylor. “The hardest step for many is that first one – asking for help.
“People in challenging financial circumstances are in survival mode and must work even harder just to stay above water,” she adds.
“Our Show Me the Money events help people dig their way out of money problems and build financial stability. The sooner you start, the sooner you can recover,” says Taylor.
Editor’s Note: The free 9th Annual Show Me the Money pre-Super Bowl Party will take place on Feb. 1 from 11 a.m. – 2 p.m. at the Community Outreach for Family and Youth, which is adjacent to New Jerusalem Full Gospel Baptist Church located at 1015 E. Carpenter Road.
Kala Wilburn is hosting a NYC-based “Fashion Experience” Feb. 7 to Feb. 10, which will provide participants with a first-hand look at the fashion industry through the stewardship of Flint’s fashion leader. Learn more at: thafashionarchitect.com