Financial education is a life skill that is too often swept under the rug in our communities. In school, we are taught to prioritize subjects that may or may not play a significant role in our future endeavors. At home, a lot of us are raised by parents who only have a basic knowledge of how to truly generate wealth in this country. Therefore, we are left in the position to have to go out of our way to seek information about building wealth. However not only can discussing and understanding one’s personal finances be a daunting task, but a large number of us don’t know when and where to start.
And that is where Queens like Jenny Geffrard come in…
Jenny Geffrard, Founder & CEO of Surplus Financial Consultants, is a certified financial education instructor and credit specialist that specializes in taking the stress and shame out of money. Since graduating from Curry College with a Bachelor’s Degree in Community Health & Wellness, she has been on a mission to challenge and educate communities typically forgotten by the financial industry to become champions for their families and break the cycle of poverty. Believing that everyone deserves a second chance and that nobody should be punished forever for making poor money decisions in the past, Jenny hopes to help change the narrative of toxic money relationships within minority communities by providing a holistic, actionable plan to build wealth.
Having completed training through the National Financial Educators Council and the Credit Consultants Association, she launched Surplus Financial Consultants, a credit repair and personal finance company whose primary mission is to restore second chances to families and businesses through financial literacy and credit repair. We got the chance to chat with Jenny about her start, her future, and the challenges of becoming financially literate, check out our conversation below!
QC: What inspired you to dive into the world of financial education and credit repair?
JG: Junior year of undergrad is what inspired me to dive into the world of financial education and credit repair. Being the first to go to college in my family as a first-generation immigrant, there was no one to guide me through the financial aid process, no one to explain to me the impact of being financially illiterate. The summer of my Junior year, I was faced with a balance of $10,000 that needed to be cleared in order for me to be allowed back on campus to finish my degree. That was the most stressful event in my life for two reasons: I learned that summer that no one in my life was in the position financially to help me and that was devastating, and two ￼I learned my lack of financial literacy left me vulnerable to being taken advantage of.
I decided that year that no one would be able to dictate my ability to live my best life financially and that my baby sister would never have to experience that level of stress. I committed to learn as much as I could about finances through books, course, workshops and anything else that I could invest in. That’s the heart of Surplus, that no one should face major life transitions alone and unprepared financially. That’s what inspired me to dive into the world of financial education and credit repair.
QC: A lot of people don't know the best time to take action in regards to improving their finances and building wealth. Do you have a recommendation of when that time is?
JG: The best time to start is yesterday, the second best time is today. That’s my honest answer. We can get stuck feeling like we are behind in the game in wealth building and really beat ourselves up about it but the key really is to just start. Start where you are, build with what you have.
Now for those of you with children or for those of you that function better with numbers, I recommend really building a solid financial foundation, habits and skills with children around the age of 8-13. I find that this range is when most individuals develop the core beliefs that form their money philosophy. The other time period is definitely in high school before college, based on the fact that this is the period of time where young adults have their first job and typically have the least amount of bills. It’s also the time period prior to being exposed to the financial devil also know as student loans.
3. There seems to be such fear and embarrassment around having conversations about our personal finance. Why do you think that is and how do you help relieve people of those negative feelings?
JG: Great question! I believe that fear and embarrassment about our personal finance is so prevalent especially in the minority community because shame is a learned behavior. We are educated by our environment, what we observed our parents do with their money, “crabs in the barrel” mentality, and more. If you grew up where healthy dialogue about money didn’t occur and you saw your family exist from one emergency to another it will cause fear to exist about our personal finance.
I help my clients have more control of their money by helping them to understand their budget and money habits through many strategies, which includes teaching them how to unpack their past views or memories about money. Clients are then able to decide what money philosophies serve them, which helps relieve negative feelings.
QC: As the Founder & CEO of Surplus Financial Consultants, what is your vision for the company's future?
JG: My vision for Surplus Financial Consultants is to build a company that takes the stress and shame out of money for generations. I envision having consultants partner with families through major life transitions, coaching them in how to build businesses, prepare for a home purchase, big moves, college, transition in marriage, preparing for kids, etc. I want Surplus to be part of an economic revival, helping people to truly live their BEST life, and to go beyond surviving to finally thriving.
Alright now, you heard it live and direct from a certified financial education expert: the time to take control of your personal finances and start building wealth is NOW. And luckily, there is someone who’s only one call away that can help you and your family shed that fear and embarrassment and dive right in: Jenny Geffrard. Not only is she one of the kindest and caring people you’ll ever meet, but we can definitely vouch for her expertise in this area. So we hope that when you’re ready to start your journey of financial empowerment, you’ll listen to our suggestion and give Jenny a call!