Magazine|The Interview|Financial Educator
"I want to be able to pass it on from the next generation to the next generation, to the next generation" Watch Emmanuel: Hello, welcome to the interview. Today we're here with Lawanna Summers. lawanna: Yeah, Lawanna Summers. Emmanuel: She's an entrepreneur, financial advisor of the Elevated Wealth Group. Welcome to the show. Lawanna: Thank you for having me. Emmanuel: Hope it wasn't too difficult coming here today? Lawanna: No, I didn't drive, so it was easy. Emmanuel: How are you feeling? How has your week been going? Lawanna: My week is great. It's been very productive. Monday is usually a holiday for most, but it's not really if you're an entrepreneur, there's no holiday, there's no weekends. Emmanuel: Wow. So you're always busy. No holidays, nothing? Lawanna: Right. For the major holidays, of course, you got to make a balance and find time for your family, but where most people will be like, "Oh, Monday. I just want to take some time for myself." That's actually a day where you can get in contact with a lot of people and utilize that day instead of like, "Let me just take the day off." Emmanuel: Yeah. I was thinking that the whole pandemic situation would affect someone like you, did it affect your business in any way? Lawanna: No, actually business has increased. Emmanuel: Really? Lawanna: Yes. Emmanuel: Wow. Lawanna: That's actually one of the things that I like about our platform is, because right now we look in society, we have major CEOs that are stepping down, they're pulling their money out of the stock market. With our firm, our CEOs are actually stepping up. We've actually doubled in numbers. We've doubled in business partners, because if you think about it, just not even two weeks ago, about 10 million people filed for unemployment. Emmanuel: Yes, I saw it on the news. Lawanna: That's crazy. Emmanuel: Yeah, that's true. Lawanna: To know that you can be an entrepreneur in the financial industry. It's one of the top industries to be in and it's recession proof. So it doesn't matter what's going on in society, which is very sad what's going on in society. Emmanuel: Yeah. Lawanna: My prayers and thoughts to those who have lost loved ones to due to the pandemic, due to COVID-19, but it's also been an eye wakening event, and it's caused people to take a look at the traditional system that's set up- Emmanuel: That's very true. We all just stuck, we don't really know what's going on, just always believe what we hear on the news. Now due to the coronavirus, I feel like a lot of people are just waking up, like what's really going on. We not just focus on our phones and our internet. Lawanna: You right. It's caused you to actually have to take a look around. Emmanuel: Yeah. Lawanna: If you think about it, this happens. In 2008, the last time we had a recession, we had the swine flu and everything crashed. Emmanuel: Wow. Are you say it's like a pattern or something? Lawanna: It's not a pattern, but as far as if you follow the stock market, that's just what the stock market does since the beginning of history. Emmanuel: Yeah. Lawanna: Every 10 to 12 years, the stock market crashes, that's what it's meant to do. The stock market can't continue to go up. It's like a hot air balloon, so it goes up and then it has to pop and then it goes back up. When we're dealing in the financial industry, that's why it's good to get this financial literacy out there so that people understand the type of accounts that they have and they can be prepared. Emmanuel: Yeah. Lawanna: So if I look at it, if I have risky account, if I'm in my 50s and 60s, and I know the last time the market crash was about 10 years ago, I probably want to figure out something that's a little bit more secure because that's not a risk I want to take after working the majority of my life to lose almost 50% of it in the blink of an eye. Emmanuel: Yeah. That's true. She's a wealth manager. Lawanna: Yes, and a financial educator. Emmanuel: And a financial educator. Can you tell the audience, what is it exactly that you do? What is it exactly that you can help people with? What services do you provide? Lawanna: The top services that I would say I provide are hope and opportunity, because for the last 100 years, the financial industry has only been catered to a very small group of people, and unfortunately, they're already wealthy. They already have the tools. They already have the resources that they need to succeed. That's why we hear sayings like, "Oh, the rich is getting richer and the poor is getting poor." It's not necessarily true. They just have the financial literacy- Emmanuel: They do. They do. Lawanna: That 95% of the country doesn't have, and hasn't had for over a hundred years. Emmanuel: That's true. Lawanna: So that's what I do. I actually provide hope to show people that are stuck in what's considered that rat race of maybe working two, three jobs, going to school, trying to take care of kids. Sometimes you just get hopeless, so this is just the way it's going to be, I'm just going to work for the rest of my life, but it's not. We provide the financial literacy that was once upon a time only reserved for a small market, or only reserved for what was considered wealthy and provide that to everybody. Emmanuel: Yeah. Everybody. So basically your ideal customer, or like your ideal client is just anybody basically. They can contact your firm and you guys can help them manage their finances? Lawanna: Absolutely. We have six concepts that we focus on and that's pretty much budget, manage, and then after you budget, and then we manage that management and make sure that you're handling your debt, eliminate it, consolidate it, get rid of it all together, make sure that you're protected, make sure that you outpacing inflation and make sure once you have this money that you don't pay it all back in taxes. So we're actually tax specialists as well to eliminate... You don't want to give it all back to Uncle Sam. He's not really family. Emmanuel: True. That's true. That's true. Do you have any financial tips for people that are just starting out, like young entrepreneurs like me? I consider myself a young entrepreneur. Lawanna: Yes. Emmanuel: I have a couple of businesses that just like startups. Lawanna: Okay. Emmanuel: What kind of advice would you give me that I should take note of in order to handle my finances at this early stage, and also when I start seeing [inaudible 00:06:40] income coming in, because I know it can become overwhelming to [inaudible 00:06:43]. Lawanna: Absolutely. That's actually a really good question. The number one tip, when this opportunity, this blessing fell into my lap that I have taken from this so far is to always pay yourself first. We live in a society of consumer ship. We don't tell people how to save, so that you could be properly prepared for retirement. All you see are commercials on buy this, this is new. Get the new iPhone, get the new this. It's all about consumer ship. Emmanuel: True. Lawanna: In our society, when we talk about finances, we don't have people that are saying, "Hey, you should start preparing for your retirement in your 20s," or "Hey, you have these opportunities that can provide lifetime streams of income for you for the rest of your life." It's all about spend, spend, spend. So always pay yourself first, so when we have situations like a pandemic, you have the cash. Emmanuel: You have the reserves. Lawanna: You have some money then. You have to have an emergency fund. After that, the main things that wealthy people focus on, there's four areas, which are protection, growth, safety, and tax advantages. Those are four things, not just an entrepreneur, as people in general, citizens in general, we should be focusing on those. You have to make sure that you're protected. Lawanna: We live in a society that makes car insurance, the law. But if your car breaks down, I can get it fixed or I can get a new one. Emmanuel: Yeah. Lawanna: If our tablets, if our cell phones break, we have insurance, so we can get a new one, but you're in your number one asset, right? Emmanuel: Yeah. lawanna: So Emmanuel, if you can't go out and have cashflow and bring something in, how can you take care of your home? If you choose to have kids, you can't, and so protection allows you to have cashflow income. Emmanuel: Yeah. Lawanna: If you should get sick, if your spouse should get sick, if your kids should get sick, that will take care of those financial expenses and you don't have to deplete your emergency fund. So technically you don't even qualify to grow your money, if you don't protect yourself, because you're not going to be protected. Emmanuel: Yeah, you're not, that's true. Lawanna: Right, so you grow it. Most people, they start getting the income, they're like, great. Every time somebody gets a raise, they're like, "Let me get a better car. Let me get a bigger home" Emmanuel: Yeah, just want to dress Miami. [crosstalk 00:08:49] Lawanna: But you should enjoy yourself, but not to the extreme, right? Emmanuel: Yeah. Lawanna: The whole purpose of growing it is so that you can have it, and then keep it safe. So once you grow it, where can you put your money at, where it's going to work just as hard for you as you did to get it? Then once I have it, I don't want to give a 50, 40% back to Uncle Sam. I want to keep it. Lawanna: I want to be able to pass it on from the next generation to the next generation, to the next generation. So while I Started From the Bottom now I'm here is a good song, how many people or family members do we want to keep starting from the bottom? Emmanuel: Yeah, that's true. Lawanna: Wouldn't it be great to give somebody a cushion? Emmanuel: Yeah. Lawanna: Whatever it is that I want to go out in life that God has intended for me to do, I can do that and not have to worry about if I can afford it, or if I get enough financial aid or... Emmanuel: Yeah. One thing is, I feel like it's basically the way America is designed. Like I told you, I'm from Africa, and we don't have Social Security. We don't have no benefits. Once you're born, you just born into the world. Most people there, they have that mindset that when you're own something, you actually own it. Lawanna: Right. Emmanuel: So that's why, when I'm here, I'll never go out and buy something on finance or something like that, and it's just my wiring. If I was here and I'm used to the whole Social Security kind of thing, I feel like I'll also be in this consumer mindset, always going for the new, the next. Not always caring about fixing your old thing, management, recycling and stuff like that. I don't know what Americans can do to change that mindset. Lawanna: Yes. It starts with financial literacy. I know because I was one time the same way. If you could ask me, "How much do you spend on groceries a month?" And I'm like, "I don't really know, we have our debit card and we just swipe our card." Emmanuel: Yeah, you just swipe every day. Lawanna: We're not allocating where our money is going. "How much do you spend in gas a month?" I'm like, "That's a good question." You have an idea, but it's not something that you're focused on and it's like anything else in life, if you don't make it a priority, then it's not something that's on your to do list. That's something that you're focused on. So for sure sharing that financial literacy will allow people, like you said, Social Security, we like to call it, so, so Security, it's just so, so. Emmanuel: Yeah. Lawanna: I'm like, "Yes, you're getting paid that for the rest of your life. But the average Social Security check is between $800 to maybe 1200." 60% of people in our country retire and live worse because they have so, so Security, but they've been brainwashed. Emmanuel: Yeah. Lawanna: Feel like this is why I should work a eight to five, because it's stable because it's secure- Emmanuel: Yeah, you can get anything you want, you can go to Best Buy and grab any device. You can go to Tesla and get a new car, but its really not your car. It's just as [saddle 00:11:52]. The whole financial management and budgeting and planning your finances, don't you think it's quite difficult to follow this schedule? Me personally, I find it difficult to follow my schedule. In a week I'm like, I'm going to spend only $200. Lawanna: Okay. Emmanuel: Or $100 and then boom, I've gone overboard. It's not like it's intentional. I almost feel like I had to spend that money. Lawanna: Why? Emmanuel: I don't know, its just like I have to spend it. Lawanna: Okay. Emmanuel: It's like things come up during the week that I didn't plan for. Lawanna: Okay. Emmanuel: I just have to spend the money. What kind of advice can you give to someone like me? I know there are so many people like me out there. Lawanna: First of all, usually the reason why we do the things that we do anywhere in life, whether it's with our finances, whether it's working out, whether it's a family, it's because it's a habit. It takes 30 days to create a habit, so create a habit of saving versus a habit of consuming. Yes, it will probably be hard at first because you had a different habit for several years. Lawanna: Now you're going to take something that you've been doing for years and try to change it. Nobody likes change, especially if it's outside of your comfort zone, but you can start off small and say, "Okay, this month, I'm going to focus on making sure out of every check that I get, I'm going to save $20 no matter what," because you're spending it regardless, so why not pay yourself instead of paying somebody else. Lawanna: Then the next month say, "Okay, I'm going to do $30 this month, no matter what, every time I get paid, I'm going to put $30 into my savings account." So then for 30 days, you've created a habit of saving, and then the more you do it, it's like anything else, the better you get at it that. Practice makes perfect. Emmanuel: Yeah. Lawanna: Then you're to a point where you're like, "Wow, those shoes look amazing, but they don't look more amazing than that additional $200 I have in my bank account," because now you're focused on and why. You have to have your why for doing things. Most of the people, they go to work because they want to take care of their family or they want the house or they want this, so that's your why, but don't let your whys become your excuses. Lawanna: You work because you want to take care of your family, so if you're spending the majority of your money, how are you technically in a position to care for them or for their future or for future generations. That's how you get into a pattern of breaking chains, breaking cycles, and becoming a society and a culture that's leaving behind wealth instead of debt. Emmanuel: Instead of debt. That's true. Lawanna: 80% of people in our society leave behind debt, and they have GoFundMe's and things like this, and they're leaving their family that debt, instead of leaving them wealth. Emmanuel: That's true. Nobody wants to do that. You're really literate in this whole finance thing. I'm really happy that you came here to day, honestly. Lawanna: Thank you. Emmanuel: How long have you been in this finance thing? Have you always been doing this since uni? lawanna: No. I have only been doing this for... I'm going to be going on a year and a half, maybe two years. Emmanuel: Wow. How did you get into this area? lawanna: It just fell in my lap, honestly. Emmanuel: You going to Walmart just like, hey [inaudible 00:15:20]. lawanna: Well, I was actually working and I was talking to a lady, just a customer, she's asking about skincare, what type of skin products do you use? It was so random. So we started having a conversation. I was helping her and then she told me that she worked in the financial industry and I was like, "That's crazy that you said that because I said this year I'm going to just work on getting my finances in order and put a plan together. Any door that opens for me, I'm going to at least walk through it," because I'm somebody who people would be like, "Hey, are you interested in this?" And I'll be like, "No, I'm good. No, I'm fine." Lawanna: I was like, "You know what? She presented the opportunity." She was like, "You should come hear this information. I'm a financial professional, and I can help you with that goal that you have set forth for this year." So I went, I said, "Yes." And then my life has been completely different, it changed my life for ever. Emmanuel: Wow. lawanna: I'm not even like the person that I was a year and a half ago, two years ago, is not even the same. Emmanuel: Wow. That's really fascinating. That's a really inspiring story. It's good to step out of your comfort zone. Lawanna: Yes. Emmanuel: Just do something new. Lawanna: Yes. Emmanuel: I know that you are going places, definitely. Before you know it, you'll be working with Jeff. You know Jeff. Lawanna: Jeff, which Jeff? Emmanuel: Jeff, my cousin? Lawanna: Jeff? Emmanuel: Bezos? Lawanna: No. Emmanuel: The owner of Amazon. lawanna: You said Jeff Bezos your cousin, I'm wondering which Jeff we talking about? Emmanuel: I like to associate myself. Who knows, maybe one day, if he will watch the show and he will call us. Lawanna: Its funny that you say that because associations are huge, because if you take a look at who you surround yourself with, that's who you are, that's who you become in general. When you say I'm not the same person that I was a year and a half ago, a year ago. A lot of the friends that I had then, I don't have anymore. Lawanna: There's a saying by [inaudible 00:17:20], he says, "You're either going to change your friends or you're going to change your friends." The first time I heard that, I was like, "That's powerful." Emmanuel: Wow. Lawanna: So you're either going to change your friends, and they're either going to be motivated to come on the same path as you and want to change their life or, you know you have the crabs in the barrel, where they're just like, "Why are you doing this? Why are you changing?" Those people, you can love them from afar. Emmanuel: Yeah, I understand. Lawanna: It's not like you just a piece that... Emmanuel: Yeah, I understand. It's true because we humans, like me, I've not been here for long. Just like- Lawanna: How long have you been here? Emmanuel: I've been on this planet for, lets say 22 years, so not too long. Lawanna: Okay. Emmanuel: I've had my own fair share of experiences with people. I know everyone grows at their own different rates and everything. So it's always good to, like you said, just take the step and just move. Lawanna: Yes. Emmanuel: You never know where you end up, and then if you're successful, everyone wants to associate with you. Lawanna: Nice. The energy that you bring- Emmanuel: Yeah. A hundred percent, is the energy you carry, a hundred percent I agree with you. Lawanna: Nothing great has ever happened in your comfort zone. If you look at any person, it doesn't even have to be in finances. It can be an athlete. It could be in the business world, as a professional, you're going to hear the same story. Nothing happens if you just want to be comfortable. I want to stay here, I feel good here. Greatness doesn't happen. Greatness happens when you're getting uncomfortable. Emmanuel: Wow. Do you know why I know you're saying the truth? Because this same thing you're saying, I've heard it from like four people and they're all successful people, so it means that's the truth. That's the actual truth. Viewers make sure that you try your best to not be in your comfort zone, because regardless, you're not going to find growth there. You're not going to find what you need there. You need to go outside, you need to get up and get to work. Thank you very much. lawanna: You welcome. Thank you for having me. It's a pleasure. Emmanuel: Thank you very much.