Local woman loses everything but achieves her goal through financial literacy

BATON ROUGE, La. (BRPROUD) – Many families live paycheck to paycheck with nothing to pass on to their families but debt. This problem disproportionately affects minorities, especially blacks in the state. However, a woman who has lost everything defies the odds.

“At first, I was resentful. Because I’m like… how could you not plan for the future? Dymonesha Brown, CEO of Conquer Consulting Group, expressed.

Dymonesha Brown grew up as a quiet child. Her mother died of cancer when she was only 3 years old. His father was killed in a construction accident.

“He had literally killed himself on the job because he had been called in to do a two-man job, and there was only one man there,” she said.

Frustrated and confused at just 19, she found herself with no money and a baby on the way.

“When my mom died, when I was three, he abused a lot of my social security. So I watched him, you know, mismanage it,” Brown explained. “Basically from the time I pay, my mum died until I was able to fend for myself. And he gave me the card and it had $0. “

Brown’s life got worse. Her father died and the debt became a burden she could not bear.

“I was taking student loans and then I didn’t necessarily have a plan for those things. I was just taking out student loans, using it for personal reasons because I was craving that free money,” she said.

After hitting what seemed like rock bottom, she ended up in jail, then in council. She then worked to put her life and finances together.

Something, she said, that was no easy task.

“I started educating myself, I was always like, dang, I wish I knew then what I know now, I would have been in the hole…and then I started to realize that I couldn’t blame him for what he didn’t know,” Brown said.

She got certified as a credit consultant early in what she thought was her goal.

‘I really got certified and became a certified credit consultant to help me first. I became my first client.’ “, she said.

Now the mother of three runs her own financial business, working with nonprofits and business owners to help educate minorities and underserved communities about financial literacy.

“It’s crazy when people define your target audience…I was my target audience at one point, like I was my ideal client at one point because that’s who I’m attracting now,” said Brown said.

Brown felt it was important to pass on her knowledge and help others as someone else did for her.

“You pay for what you don’t know. And I feel like because I love financial literacy, that’s a lot of mistakes I’ve made,” she said.

Primerica Regional Vice President Mary Bellanger said Brown is not alone, a large portion of black Americans find themselves in a similar financial situation.

“We make ignorant decisions, not necessarily stupid decisions, but we make ignorant decisions because we don’t know,” Bellengar explained. “On education, a lack of education. Often it’s based on a lack of vision.

Bellengar said minorities were already starting to be disadvantaged, earning 86 cents on the dollar from their white counterparts.

“What we bring to the table makes a difference in how fast we go. That doesn’t mean we can’t catch up. But we are starting from the back in many cases. And that’s just a fact,” Bellengar said.

Bellengar said the cycle of debt and financial illiteracy continues until people take control of their lives and learn how money works.

“If we never define our priorities, we will never get our financial life. And that’s what financial literacy is…and financial empowerment just doesn’t exist for our communities,” she explained.

Several factors play a role in this disparity, much of which leads to perception.

“So we have minority communities that don’t always see successful people who look like them. They might see success, but it’s usually in another avenue, another career,” Bellengar said.

Bellengar said sometimes financial illiteracy is a learned behavior passed down from generation to generation to survive, much like the Brown family. However, having access to resources can change someone’s life.

“If we had more financial literacy, we would know how to live a little below our means, pay ourselves first, be sure that even if you can’t accumulate $10,000 at once, start a kind of small savings aside for this emergency that is going to happen,’” she explained.

“Just having poor money management, it affects you physically, mentally, emotionally,” Brown said.

“But if we can change one life, who can change another…even if it’s just one person in that family…One person in that family makes a change and there’s a ripple effect,” said added Bellengar.

“The decisions we make can impact our lives negatively or positively,” Brown said.

To learn more about financial literacy and available resources, click here.