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HILL HARPER IS TEACHING FINANCIAL LITERACY

Tonight, as part of our Chasing The Dream initiative, we’re taking a close look at your finances with film and tv star and financial literacy activist Hill Harper who is on a mission to help people gain positive financial momentum.

AIRED: April 29, 2021 | 0:12:06
ABOUT THE PROGRAM
TRANSCRIPT

>>> HI.

I'M JENNA FLANAGAN.

REGARDLESS OF YOUR FINANCIAL

SITUATION, THE PANDEMIC LIKELY

AFFECTED THE WAY YOU SPENT AND

SAVED MONEY.

AS LOCKDOWNS BEGIN TO EASE AND

THE ECONOMY BEGINS TO GET BACK

TO NORMAL, IT'S IMPORTANT TO

CONSIDER YOUR PERSONAL FINANCES

AND HOW BEST TO POSITION

YOURSELF FOR LONG-TERM FINANCIAL

SUCCESS.

THERE'S NO BETTER TIME THAN NOW

TO DO THAT, AS APRIL IS

FINANCIAL LITERACY MONTH, A TIME

WHEN WE PROMOTE FINANCIAL

EDUCATION ACROSS THE COUNTRY.

AS PART OF OUR CHASING THE DREAM

INITIATIVE, I'M JOINED NOW BY

AWARD-WINNING ACTOR AND

FINANCIAL LITERACY ACTIVIST HILL

HARPER.

HILL'S GOING TO DISCUSS WHAT

FINANCIAL LITERACY MEANS AND HOW

IT CAN HELP YOU ACHIEVE YOUR

FINANCIAL DREAMS.

WELCOME TO "METROFOCUS."

>> THANK YOU.

GREAT TO BE ON.

>> FIRST OFF, JUST THE TERM

FINANCIAL LITERACY IS SOMETHING

OF PERHAPS A MISNOMER TO A LOT

OF PEOPLE, SO JUST GIVE US A

DEFINITION OF WHAT THAT IS.

>> SURE.

FINANCIAL LITERACY IS LITERALLY

THE START.

IT'S THE BEGINNING OF BEING

INTENTIONAL AROUND TAKING

CONTROL OF YOUR FINANCES AND

ACTUALLY UNDERSTANDING MONEY.

THAT'S WHAT I TALK ABOUT.

AT THE END OF THE DAY, WE TEACH

MATH K-12, BUT WE DON'T TEACH

MONEY IN SCHOOL, FOR INSTANCE.

FINANCIAL LITERACY IS JUST THE

BEGINNING TO BUILD FINANCIAL

CAPACITY AND BE FINANCIALLY

EMPOWERED.

THAT'S KIND OF THE LINE THAT I

LIKE TO TALK ABOUT.

BUT YOU'VE GOT TO START WITH

LEARNING FIRST.

THEN YOU LEARN SOMETHING AND YOU

APPLY IT.

THAT'S WHAT IT'S ABOUT.

FINANCIAL LITERACY IS LEARNING

ABOUT MONEY, LEARNING ABOUT YOUR

RELATIONSHIP TO MONEY AND HOW

YOU USE THAT TOOL THAT IS MONEY

IN EVERY ASPECT OF YOUR LIFE,

YOUR FAMILY'S LIFE AND YOUR

COMMUNITY.

SO THAT'S WHY THIS DISCUSSION IS

SO IMPORTANT AND THAT'S WHY

APRIL BEING FINANCIAL LITERACY

MONTH IS CRITICAL, BECAUSE WE

WANT TO HAVE THESE DISCUSSIONS.

>> OF COURSE.

AS YOU DISCUSSED THAT, IT'S

ALMOST LIKE SOMETHING THAT

SHOULD BE TAUGHT PERHAPS ALONG

WITH MATH OR READING, IT'S NOT.

SO IT IS VERY MYSTIFIED AND

SHROUDED AND UNCERTAINTY FOR A

LOT OF AMERICANS.

I WANT TO GET YOUR TAKE ON HOW

YOU BEGIN TO DEMYSTIFY SOMETHING

AS INTIMIDATING AS FINANCES.

>> THAT'S A GREAT QUESTION.

THE FIRST THING FOLKS NEED TO DO

IS UNDERSTAND THAT THEIR

RELATIONSHIP TO MONEY IS NOT

THEM, MEANING, THEIR CREDIT

SCORE IS NOT A REFLECTION OF

YOU.

SO MANY OF US HAVE ANXIETY IN

THE ISSUES AROUND MONEY AND

TALKING ABOUT IT, FIRST AND

FOREMOST.

SO YOU HAVE TO UNDERSTAND MONEY

IS SIMPLY JUST A TOOL.

THINK ABOUT MONEY LIKE YOU THINK

ABOUT A HAMMER, RIGHT?

YOU DON'T GET ALL EMOTIONAL

ABOUT A HAMMER.

IT'S JUST A TOOL.

MONEY'S THE SAME THING.

JUST LIKE A HAMMER, IF YOUR GOAL

IS TO POUND A NAIL, A HAMMER IS

A REALLY EFFECTIVE TOOL.

IT CAN IMPROVE YOUR EFFICIENCY

AND THE QUALITY OF YOUR WORK,

RIGHT?

BUT IF YOU HAVE TO CLEAN WOOD

FLOORS AND YOU USE THE SAME

TOOL, A HAMMER, TO CLEAN THOSE

FLOORS, WHAT ARE YOU GOING TO

DO?

MORE DAMAGE THAN GOOD.

YOU'RE GOING TO ACTUALLY HURT

THE FLOORS.

MONEY IS EXACTLY THE SAME.

IF YOU BE AGNOSTIC ABOUT IT,

IT'S JUST A TOOL TO HELP YOU

BUILD THE LIFE YOU WANT.

EVERYONE'S DIFFERENT, SO USING

THAT TOOL IS DIFFERENT.

SAY, HEY, I WANT TO USE THAT

TOOL OF MONEY EFFECTIVELY TO

IMPROVE THE QUALITY OF MY LIFE,

THIS IS WHAT I HAVE TO DO.

IF I USE IT IN THE WRONG WAY,

IT'S NOT JUST A ZERO SUM, I'M

ACTUALLY GOING TO HURT MY LIFE.

IF I RUN UP A LOT OF DEBT AND I

HAVE A BAD CREDIT SCORE, IT'S

GOING TO HURT MY LIFE AND THOSE

AROUND ME BECAUSE IT'S GOING TO

BE A DRAG ON ME.

I ALWAYS TALK ABOUT DEBT BEING

LIKE A TYPE OF BONDAGE OR

SLAVERY.

WE HAVE TO RELEASE OURSELVES

FROM THAT TYPE OF BONDAGE

BECAUSE IT CAN KEEP YOU CAUGHT.

THAT'S WHY IT HAS TO START WITH

FINANCIAL LITERACY.

IT'S NOT YOU.

YOUR CREDIT SCORE IS NOT A

REFLECTION OF YOU, SO DON'T GET

PERSONAL ABOUT IT.

THEREFORE, TREAT IT LIKE A

HAMMER.

WHAT IS THIS TOOL OF MONEY AND

HOW CAN I USE IT EFFECTIVE LY T

ACHIEVE THE GOALS I HAVE FOR

MYSELF, MY FAMILY AND MY

COMMUNITY.

>> THAT'S A GREAT ANALOGY,

ALTHOUGH I WOULD POINT OUT THAT

MOST PEOPLE AREN'T TAUGHT TO

NEVER TALK ABOUT A HAMMER, BUT

MOST OF US ARE TAUGHT NOT TO

TALK ABOUT FINANCES.

THAT'S CONSIDERED IMPOLITE.

>> YOU'RE ABSOLUTELY RIGHT.

THERE WAS A STUDY THAT CAME OUT

RECENTLY THAT SAID THAT PEOPLE

ARE MORE APT TO REVEAL

INFIDELITY THAN THEY ARE TO TALK

ABOUT THEIR CREDIT SCORE.

BUT THAT SPEAKS TO THE

FOUNDATIONAL ISSUE THAT WE'RE

TALKING ABOUT.

THE MORE THAT WE CAN BE HONEST

ABOUT WHAT MONEY REALLY IS AND

HOW OUR RELATIONSHIP TO MONEY

IMPACTS EVERY ASPECT OF OUR

LIFE, THEN WE COULD ACTUALLY

SORT OF DEMYSTIFY IT AND HAVE

PEOPLE SEE IT IN A DIFFERENT

WAY.

SO THAT'S WHY WORKING WITH E

EXPERION BOOST.

YOU GO IN AND ADD TO YOUR

PAYMENT SCORE BECAUSE YOU ADD

POSITIVE PAYMENT HISTORY.

IF YOU DON'T KNOW HOW YOUR

CREDIT SCORE WORKS, THE POSITIVE

PAYMENT HISTORY ACTUALLY IMPACTS

YOUR CREDIT SCORE POSITIVELY,

YOU WOULDN'T KNOW TO EVEN DO

THAT.

WE HAVE TO HAVE THESE

DISCUSSIONS SO THAT PEOPLE CAN

LEARN AND THEN APPLY WHAT THEY

LEARN THROUGH REAL ACTION.

>> SO YOU ALSO IN YOUR ANALOGY

WITH THE HAMMER, YOU BROUGHT UP

SOMETHING THAT IS INCREDIBLY

INTEGRAL TO THIS CONVERSATION.

CLEANING A FAMILIAR LOOR WITH A.

AT THE SAME TIME THAT WE'RE

TAUGHT NOT TO TALK ABOUT

FINANCIAL MATTERS, A LOT OF

PEOPLE DON'T UNDERSTAND THEIR

CREDIT SCORE, THERE'S ALSO THE

NOTION THAT FINANCIAL LITERACY

IS SOMETHING FOR WEALTHY PEOPLE.

YOU HAVE TO ACCRUE A CERTAIN

AMOUNT OF MONEY TO EVEN BE

BOTHERED WITH THAT.

WHAT IF YOU ARE SOMEBODY WHO IS

MAKING A LIVING CLEANING FLOORS

OR SOMETHING?

THAT TENDS TO BE THE PART OF THE

POPULATION THAT NEEDS THIS

INFORMATION THE MOST, BUT FEELS

UNENTITLED TO IT.

>> ABSOLUTELY.

HERE'S A SAD FACT, THAT A HUGE

PERCENTAGE OF THE FINANCIAL

PRODUCTS THAT ARE OFFERED INTO

MARGINALIZED COMMUNITIES TEND TO

BE PREDATORY OR HIDDEN

PREDATORY.

AND FOLKS GET HURT ALL THE TIME.

THERE'S THIS OLD SAYING, IT'S

EXPENSIVE TO BE POOR.

IT'S ABSOLUTELY TRUE.

WHEN YOU TALK ABOUT PAYDAY

LENDERS, CHECK CASHING SPOTS,

RENT TO OWN, EVEN CERTAIN

BANKING FACILITIES.

THERE ARE LAWSUITS WITH BANKS

WHERE PEOPLE HAD $800 IN THEIR

SAVINGS, BUT THEY'RE GETTING

CHARGED $250 A YEAR IN OVERDRAFT

FEES OR NOT HITTING THE ACCOUNT

LIMIT FEES.

THESE ARE HIDDEN PREDATORY

PRACTICES THAT BEFALL MANY

MARGINALIZED COMMUNITIES.

THE MORE FOLKS CAN LEARN ABOUT

THIS, THEY REALIZE THEY'VE BEEN

PAYING 200-300% INTEREST ON SOME

THINGS.

IT'S VERY DIFFICULT TO BUILD

SAVINGS IF YOU'RE HAVING SO MUCH

MONEY RIPPED OUT OF THE

COMMUNITY.

WE KNOW THERE'S PEOPLE WITH

THREE JOBS THAT ARE BARELY

MAKING ENDS MEET BECAUSE THERE'S

SO MANY HIDDEN COSTS BEFALLING

THEM.

THAT'S WHY I WROTE THE BOOK "THE

WEALTH CURE" TO DEAL WITH THE

WEALTH GAP.

WE HAVE TO TALK ABOUT THESE

THINGS, EXPOSE THEM FOR WHAT

THEY ARE AND SAY THERE ARE

ALTERNATIVE CHOICE LS S FOLKS C

MAKE TO IMPROVE THEIR FINANCIAL

FUTURE AND FOUNDATION.

>> WE DID PUT THIS AGAINST THE

EXPERIENCE THAT ALL OF US IN

VERY DIFFERENT WAYS.

I'M WONDERING WHAT IS YOUR

ADVICE FOR SOMEONE WHO IS NOT

SURE WHAT THE FIRST STEP IS, BUT

HOW DO THEY GO ABOUT IMPROVING

THEIR CREDIT SCORE IN A

RUTHLESSLY CAPITALISTIC SOCIETY?

>> THERE'S A COUPLE THINGS.

NUMBER ONE, TAKING A STEP BACK

FROM YOUR CREDIT SCORE, IF THE

AND TAUGHT US ANYTHING, I WANT

PEOPLE TO UNDERSTAND HOW

IMPORTANT IT IS TO HAVE AN

EMERGENCY FUND AND BE PUTTING

MONEY AWAY INTO THAT BUCKET.

JUST THINK OF AN EMERGENCY FUND

AS A BUCKET.

HOW DO YOU THINK ABOUT THE

NUMBER YOU NEED?

THIS IS IT.

THINK ABOUT WHAT YOUR ACTUAL

NEEDS ARE TO LIVE, WHICH IS,

HOUSING, FOOD, WATER, SHELTER

AND UTILITIES, ELECTRICITY, GAS

BILL.

FOR ME, I ALSO ADD IN MY T

TELECOM, MY PHONE BILL.

I PUT THAT INTO A NUMBER.

WHATEVER THAT MONTHLY NUMBER IS,

I WANT TO HAVE AT LEAST SIX

MONTHS OF THAT EMERGENCY FUND IN

SAVINGS.

NOW, THAT DOESN'T NECESSARILY

DIRECTLY IMPACT YOUR CREDIT

SCORE, BUT IT IMPACTS YOUR LIFE.

THE MORE THE BETTER FOR THE

EMERGENCY FUND.

THE SECOND STEP IS TO LOOK AT

YOUR HIGHEST INTEREST DEBT THAT

YOU'RE CARRYING AND START COMING

UP WITH A PLAN TO PAY THAT DOWN.

YOU DON'T HAVE TO TAKE IT ALL ON

IN ONE MONTH AND SHAME YOURSELF

AND FEEL BAD ABOUT IT, BUT START

HAVING A CONCENTRATED PLAN TO

PAY DOWN YOUR HIGHEST INTEREST

DEBT.

THAT WILL BEGIN OVER TIME TO

IMPACT YOUR CREDIT SCORE.

THE OTHER PIECE IS EXPERION

BOOST.

YOU GO ONTO EXPERION.COM/BOOST.

IF YOU'RE PAYING A BILL THROUGH

A CREDIT CARD OR YOUR BANK

ACCOUNT, YOUR NETFLIX OR HULU OR

A UTILITY, YOU CAN ADD THAT

POSITIVE PAYMENT HISTORY TO YOUR

FILE AND HOPEFULLY BOOSTS YOUR

CREDIT SCORE.

NOW 50 MILLION POINTS HAVE BEEN

ADDED TO PEOPLE'S SCORES THROUGH

EXPERION BOOST, WHICH I THINK IS

GREAT.

THAT'S ANOTHER THING.

ALSO, CHECK YOUR CREDIT SCORE

REGULARLY.

YOU BEING INTENTIONAL ABOUT IT

AND LEARNING ABOUT WHAT GOES

INTO CREATING THAT ALGORITHM

HELPS YOU IMPROVE YOUR SCORE.

THE INTENTIONALITY HELPS.

IF WE JUST BURY OUR HEAD IN THE

SAND, ACT LIKE THERE'S NOTHING

WE CAN DO THAT'S THE ABSOLUTELY

WRONG THING.

WE WANT TO BE INTENTIONAL.

WE WANT TO BE CHECKING OUR

SCORE.

WE WANT TO BE UTILITIZING FREE

TOOLS TO HELP OUR SCORE IMPROVE.

>> HILL, HARPER, I WANT TO

CONTINUE THIS DISCUSSION.

THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR JOINING US

ON "METROFOCUS" AND GIVING US

SOME SUGGESTIONS AND TIPS AND

TOOLS OF THE TRADE.

>> THANK YOU.

THANK YOU VERY MUCH.


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