The Tony Steuer Podcast

Get Ready with Lynn Demmons: Financial Confidence

January 22, 2021 Tony Steuer
The Tony Steuer Podcast
Get Ready with Lynn Demmons: Financial Confidence
Chapters
The Tony Steuer Podcast
Get Ready with Lynn Demmons: Financial Confidence
Jan 22, 2021
Tony Steuer

“The #1 key take-away is to invest, to invest in yourself, to invest in whatever is the vehicle for you, investing in the stock market, investing in real estate, investing in life insurance - yes, that is an investment -  invest in you, so that you are educated and you are now empowered to make the right decisions for you and your family.” - Lynn Demmons

In this episode of Get Ready, I spoke with Lynn Demmons, CEO of Demmons Enterprise and host of the Financial Confidence Podcast about being confident with your finances. We also discussed the Swing Into Their Dreams Foundation and the unique challenges for Historic Black College and University students. 

Bio: Lynn Demmons, CFO and Co-Founder of the Swing into Their Dreams Foundation is an author, keynote speaker, consultant, executive coach and CEO of Demmons Enterprise a professional development training company. Working with clients across the country, Demmons conducts group seminars and facilitates sessions for corporate and government executives, academia and not-for-profit organizations helping them to make their money, keep their money and grow their money. Her simple yet practical, systems empower clients to grow and focus on outcomes not incomes. As a result, her clients achieve the best financial life for their purposes. Demmons’ philosophy is “Be generous with what you have- no matter how big or small; results will follow.”


Show Notes Transcript

“The #1 key take-away is to invest, to invest in yourself, to invest in whatever is the vehicle for you, investing in the stock market, investing in real estate, investing in life insurance - yes, that is an investment -  invest in you, so that you are educated and you are now empowered to make the right decisions for you and your family.” - Lynn Demmons

In this episode of Get Ready, I spoke with Lynn Demmons, CEO of Demmons Enterprise and host of the Financial Confidence Podcast about being confident with your finances. We also discussed the Swing Into Their Dreams Foundation and the unique challenges for Historic Black College and University students. 

Bio: Lynn Demmons, CFO and Co-Founder of the Swing into Their Dreams Foundation is an author, keynote speaker, consultant, executive coach and CEO of Demmons Enterprise a professional development training company. Working with clients across the country, Demmons conducts group seminars and facilitates sessions for corporate and government executives, academia and not-for-profit organizations helping them to make their money, keep their money and grow their money. Her simple yet practical, systems empower clients to grow and focus on outcomes not incomes. As a result, her clients achieve the best financial life for their purposes. Demmons’ philosophy is “Be generous with what you have- no matter how big or small; results will follow.”


Speaker 1:

Welcome to the Get Ready with Tony Steuer Podcast. I'm pleased to be joined today by Lynn Demmons. Lynn is an author, keynote speaker, consultant, executive coach, and CEO of Demmons Enterprise, a professional development training company. Lynn is also the CFO and co-founder of the Swing Into Their Dreams Foundation. In this episode, we'll be discussing Lynn's financial confidence podcast, and the Swing Into Their Dreams Foundation, Lynn , welcome to Get Ready.

Speaker 2:

Well, thank you so much, Tony, for having me. It's a pleasure.

Speaker 1:

Yeah. Well, I'm so glad to have you today. Thanks for joining me. So, you know , let's get started. Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and how you got started in personal finance?

Speaker 2:

Sure, sure. So as stated I'm Lynn Demmons, that's "Demmons", no demons here. D E M M O N S. And, I would like to say that I started this, you know because I had this big dream and I just wanted to help everyone out. But in actuality, that's not truly how it started. That's not how financial competence started. That's not how any of this started. The two major things, there were two things that happened in my life and one was a birth and a death, right. That was the birth of my son. And then of course, unfortunately, the death of my little baby brother and both of those positioned things for me in two different ways. Thinking from a building generational wealth perspective in regards to my son, right? Because now I have a little one and what parent doesn't want to provide for their child more than they had and be able to leave a legacy for the family. And on the other side of the coin, it was the death of my brother. Unfortunately he was shot and long story short, he passed away without a will without life insurance, without, you know, all the different things that we know that are necessary at the end of the day. So in order to protect myself and these things happened within a span of 10 months of each other. Okay. So I started to reflect on my life and think, okay, now what next, what is that next big thing for me? What do I need to do to change this path that we're currently on? So that's when I started doing more reading, I started doing master classes and participating in all of these different opportunities. And along the way, I was also working in a fortune 500 company at the time. And while working in this company , I was leading a team and there were other ladies on the team who, you know, back then, we all had to apply for the American Express Corporate Card and that American Express Corporate Card you had to apply using your credit . Well, some of the women on the team and not only on my team, but other teams throughout the organization, they did not qualify. They didn't meet the criteria, they couldn't get the American Express Corporate Card. And then that, you know, that leads to shame when it comes time to submit expense reports and all these different things. So financial confidence and Demmons Enterprise was born out of that need, right. Continuing to more from looking at the birth and death situation then, to looking at the work that I was currently doing in this fortune 500 company and helping women to now move to this place of financial literacy. So it was a long path, if you will, to get to that point, it wasn't an overnight, "Oh, let's open up a business and take on this financial literacy game" , but it was one now looking back, it was a methodical step-by-step path that I ultimately had to go through to get to this point and start the company. And after starting the company I partnered with WYTV7 Christian Broadcasters Network and the podcast Financial Confidence was born. So it's been a somewhat difficult journey, but it's also been enjoyable to bring this to life and to be able to continue to share and help others as an advocate for financial literacy.

Speaker 1:

Wow. There's so much there. One, of course, I'm sorry about your brother. That's yeah, that's how it was challenging. So, wow. Yeah, that would , you know, between that and the birth of your child at the same time, or, I mean, in that relatively short span, it does create that situation where you have to, you know, you take pause and your inventory and you take stock, but I love that you bounced out of it. And you were thinking about financial confidence and your story about, you know, financial shaming, and it's something that's coming up in some podcasts as people are talking about that a little bit. You know, so, you know, there's just so much, I can't wait to get into the rest of our questions, and maybe we can revisit that topic if we have time. Could you tell us a little bit about your basic financial philosophy?

Speaker 2:

Sure. I think the number one best decision that I made hands down was just to make a decision to start investing, right? Because at the end of the day , ultimately we know that things are going to happen and why not live in the moment and be prepared just in case those things happen. So in looking at my financial philosophy is about simply being prepared. What are the best ways that you can not only prepare for today, but also to, to prepare for the future? So that brings me back to that initial statement. The number one best decision is to make that decision to become an investor.

Speaker 1:

Nice. I like that, and I think, you know , that's what you're talking about as well, you know, is being prepared. You know, that's, that's the core of financial literacy, you know. Which leads into my next question is why do you feel financial literacy is important?

Speaker 2:

Well, it's important because it's , no one would ever start building a house without, right, building a foundation. Financial literacy is that foundation for us, right? Oftentimes , this is not something that's traditionally taught in school. I know it wasn't taught in my school. And oftentimes the money conversation around the table was not one that was had with children. So oftentimes the things that you learn , you had to go through trial and error to actually grasp the information. So for that reason, having the knowledge and the skills to better prepare is very important from that financial literacy perspective.

Speaker 1:

That's great. That's yeah, it's the foundation and it should be, you and I were talking about that a little bit before the podcast, is it should be woven through the educational system. Our kids come out of school, and I know we'll get into that with the Swing Into Their Dreams Foundation a little bit as well, but it's so important. So, the next thing is, you know, you're a woman in the financial services industry, and things are different. What are some of the specific challenges for women with financial planning?

Speaker 2:

Yeah, that's a great question. And these challenges now, this is ultimately from my perspective, of course, as a woman, as you stated, but thinking from that standpoint, what we've noticed and what I've also noticed, even in my own life, the women in my family tend to live longer than the men. And a lot of women also live longer than their male counterparts, whether that's their husbands, their brothers, whomever, that case may be. But not only are the women living longer, there's also the wage gap issue, right? Yes, the women are living longer. We're living these 10 years longer than the male, right? However, we're earning less. We're earning 85 cents on the dollar. So in looking at it from that perspective, now the woman has to take less money and make it last longer. So that's a huge challenge from the financial planning perspective that a lot of women will have. And I've even noticed that with my, in my own family, with my grandmother, my grandfather, he passed in his late sixties. My grandmother, she's in her late eighties right now. So she's still, you know, continuing to try to live on what she was able to save in that time. So in looking at that, that juggling, that ball is a little bit of a challenge for women. Also, another thing that I will say is women tend to juggle a lot of different balls, right? I know you said, lady , you just said that. Yes I did. But we do. We're mothers, we're wives, we're caregivers on both sides of the fence , and women tend to have their money collectively for the family, right? That's the number one priority for me. I go and I'll get something, make sure the little one is taken care of before I'm taken care of. So women tend to have that mentality where our money is more so for the family, from that perspective. And we're thinking less in preparing for our own financial futures. And I think the third one that I would say is a huge issue for women or for the women that I've worked with. It's just not simply the fact that we have this. Yes, we're doing it with less than we have to do it longer. But , as far as the investing, I don't want to say that women are fearful of investing, but I think it's not the top priority on the list, right? The priority is the family, the priority is the career, but the priority may not be investing at this time. So it's about getting the women to recognize, yes, this is an important priority for you, right? Because it allows you to now be able to release some of that anxiety because you know, the future is taking care of in the event something happens to you because you are juggling so many balls with the family. So I think those are some of the challenges that women still tend to deal with , but they're simply that those are just little barriers that with little tweaks, you know, that can be adjusted for, to help women, like you say , get ready.

Speaker 1:

Well , yeah, you hit on so many good points. The one that, you know, I think is so important and it can't be overstated is, not only the longer life expectancy for women, but the wage gap and that that's a compounding factor , you know, one or the other would be dramatically different, but put them together. And then, you know, with other factors that we know we, we could go far down the road with this , we know about other demographics and earnings , is it does make it more challenging and then you talk about goals and perspectives, and I think that quite often in a family dynamic that there are competing goals sometimes between men and women. You know, my wife and I are definitely not always on the same page with our money . Generally, but not always. It's all part of marriage

Speaker 2:

I think another important piece of that too, or the cultural aspects of it. Right. And it's not that, and I don't want any woman to think that you have to earn less than a man, but typically a woman won't ask for raise. A woman, won't ask in many cases, right. If they offer you $75,000 on the table, most of the time you say, okay, yes, right. Or you move on or they offer you 100,000, you don't push the envelope and ask for maybe 120,000 instead of 100,000. So that's another cultural shift . I think, too, that a lot of women will need to, you know , face and think that through how do I now understand the value, right. What it is that I offer so that I can now make that ask at the table.

Speaker 1:

Hm . I think that leads us into our next question, because I think a lot of that comes back to confidence. Right.

Speaker 2:

Right. Absolutely.

Speaker 1:

So yeah, so can you share with us a little bit about what the Financial Confidence Podcast is?

Speaker 2:

Sure, sure. So Financial Confidence , this podcast is actually a partnership that I started with WYTV7, which is a Christian Broadcasting Network out of Charlotte, North Carolina and Financial Confidence just wants to help to break down that financial illiteracy perspective that a lot of people, no matter the demographic, right. May or may not have. There are different perspectives, no matter if you're low income, if you're, you know, if you're a middle-class, upper-class , there are different perspectives that come into play when it comes to that financial illiteracy piece. So when thinking about the Financial Confidence Podcast, what we essentially do is we want to help you make your money, keep your money, and grow your money. So you can do the things that you're called to do, and that's build generational wealth and leaving inheritance for your children's children. And we think that is very important as we continue to move forward. One, because yes, it is a Christian based organization that we're partnered with, but these are practical tips that we're sharing to help build generational wealth that an individual is listening on that day. They can start implementing immediately. We have conversations with different experts across the board, trying to touch on all of the different areas of finances, because we know finances impact all of the different areas of our lives. So yeah, that's what Financial Confidence does: helping make money, keep your money, and grow your money.

Speaker 1:

That's great. And, you know, I mean, obviously with the name, confidence in it is, is that one of your goals , to help people become, especially women, become more confident with their finances.

Speaker 2:

Absolutely. So when it , what it boils down to anything that you're more confident at, you do better. Right? And I make that akin to my son when he's playing video games. If he gets a new video game and he tries to go play it right, the first time he plays the video game and he doesn't win and he gets frustrated, right. And I can see these things happening to him. And then he wants to give up, well , oftentimes, you know, women do that with their money. There are different things that happen in our lives, and we want to give up, Oh, I'll never get out of this debt. So why should I even focus on it? Why should I even go back? So Financial Confidence does help you to look at it from that grassroots perspective, if you will, so that you can build that solid foundation. Now you're building your confidence. Now you're making more solid financial decisions. Now you're saving, now you're investing, now you're building generational wealth, right. So taking them down that path so that they're able to accomplish that.

Speaker 1:

Oh , that's so great. I love that because I, you know, I, I really like talking about the psychology of money and that these different things, because you're not talking here about, you know, the best savings account, you're talking about a mindset to dealing with money. And I think that's really, what's at the heart of it.

Speaker 2:

Absolutely. Absolutely. If you don't have the right mindset, when you move forward, you won't make the right decisions. Right. And the number one thing that we share at Financial Confidence, just focus on that one thing. What's that one thing that you want to do really well before you start to pile , all the other pieces on. And once you build from that perspective, then your mindset changes. You get that little quick win under your belt, it's like energy motivation to keep you going, and essentially, yeah, that's very important. The mindset piece

Speaker 1:

Definitely. So who would benefit from listening to the Financial Confidence Podcast?

Speaker 2:

Ah, so I would say my , um, her name is Tricia, Tricia has two children. She wants to send both of her children to college, but she doesn't have the funding to pay for college out of pocket. She wants to be able to provide those things to her child that she can't normally doesn't, you know, that she can't just go out right. And go get them. But she wants to be able to find a way to make it happen for her child. So if you are Tricia, maybe Trisha is a single mother, maybe Tricia's married. Her and her husband are trying to figure this thing out. Financial Confidence will help you to build on those steps. What are those best practices? What is the strategy that you need to play? What's the courageous conversation that you need to have with that special someone in your family or your spouse or your friend, who is that person that's going to help you to be accountable moving forward? So, Financial Confidence is looking for that Tricia. Maybe she's not Trisha . Maybe her name is Becky. I don't know. But if you are, if you fit that profile, then Financial Confidence is for you because it's going to help you to not only be able to be confident in your own personal finances, but also in teaching your children. So now this becomes a legacy for the family.

Speaker 1:

Thet's great. And , I think that point about it becoming a legacy is really important is because as you pointed out earlier is we're not taught these things. Most of us are not taught these things in our families. And you know, it's a cycle that , that should change is that, you know, you can teach it in the school, but if we're not teaching it at home, you know, our kids are spending a lot time with us. And, you know, we're the role models and everything else for them. And, you know, if we can't help them learn, it's going to be harder for them.

Speaker 2:

Absolutely. Absolutely. Home is the first teacher. I'm a firm believer of that. And that's where, you know, what truly is right for the child, even though they can't, we can see that in school all day long, but if it's not practiced at home, if that's not modeled for that child, for them to actually see it in practice, it's less likely that they're going to pick up on it as quickly as they could have and make fewer mistakes.

Speaker 1:

Yeah. That's a great point. I think it's that reinforcement at home and it's, you know, how they talk about being involved with your child's education and everything else like that, you know, that school's not, I don't want to use the word babysitting, but I think sometimes people think of it that way.

Speaker 2:

Absolutely. Absolutely.

Speaker 1:

That's fantastic. So I want to switch gears because you're doing some exciting work. So what is the Swing Into Their Dreams Foundation?

Speaker 2:

So Swing Into Their Dreams is a baby of mine. And my co-founder is Pamela Parker. She and I wanted to come together. So I'm in the financial literacy side of things . She's actually a real estate broker. And , we wanted to come together to actually devise a way that we can help students because both of us, you know, being college graduates , going in and getting multiple degrees, we understood the financial aid conundrum is what I call it, right. That a lot of people deal with having all of the student loans that a lot of the parents are probably now dealing with. And we both, you know, we had a conversation. We said, we don't want our children to go through this, but what about other children whose parents are not able to have this conversation or to set this, set this up for their children? So what we did was we created the foundation, this nonprofit , to be able to provide scholarships for students who aspire to attend HBCU, historically black colleges and universities, and we decided to do that because we understood the need. We understand the debt side of things, right from the financial literacy perspective. And a lot of times students go in blind and don't understand that financial aid conversation they're signing on the line and thinking, Oh, wow, I get this money. I can go to college this for free for now, not thinking about down the road. So we wanted to be able to provide an opportunity to help support the students. Not only support them financially, but also be able to provide the financial literacy education to them. So all of our scholarship recipients also participate in the financial literacy program where they're receiving the training on, okay. So what do I do with the money that I have now? How do I budget? How do I save, how do I begin investing and why not do this now while I am in college, so that it sets me up completely different. So that's the purpose of Swing Into Their Dreams. Our mission is EPIC, as empowerment and philanthropy in the community.

Speaker 1:

That's great. Actually. I mean, that's something I think every college student should have is, you know, I mean, when we talk about the average amount of college debt that students carry is, it's frightening and you know, it's, it's not good for our society. I think for people to have those college debts and, and part of it is, is you say is, you know, they're signing these things that they don't understand. Their parents probably have maybe a little bit more understanding about it and then you know i t, b ut y eah, they're responsible for it for 20 or 30 years and it impacts, can impact the rest of their lives.

Speaker 2:

Absolutely. Absolutely. And , and no one tells you that it can be 20 to 30 years and you're still paying on this. On the other side of that coin, there are also those who started and they don't even have a college degree to show for it. So they have these financial aid loans, these student loans, now that they're also paying for, they don't have a degree. And now they're working in a job that does not pay them enough to even cover the monthly student loan debt. So we felt absolutely this is a much needed conversation. And the nonprofit organization is a great way our foundation to be able to help support with that.

Speaker 1:

Yeah. When I think one of the most important things that you're doing too, is that you're helping them to learn so that they can take care of themselves. It's, it's like that thing, you know, teach, you know, give a man a fish, and he eats for a day, teach a man how to fish.

Speaker 2:

And feed him for a lifetime.

Speaker 1:

That's exactly, that's what I'm thinking about. So , what are some of the unique challenges for historic black college and university students?

Speaker 2:

So the purpose behind the HBCU was to focus on the low income students to be able to provide an opportunity for them to be able to go to college. And I think one of the greatest challenges. So as far as the graduation rate , let's just look at that first and foremost for the HBCU. HBCUs tend to graduate 38% of their student body. And because it's a historically black college and university, most of those are your African-American students. And you say 38% and that's not a good graduation rate , but in comparison to the predominantly white institutions, there's a 32% graduation rate. So in comparison, there is a 6%, you know, differential there. But I think t he, the challenge t oo, for the historically black college and university students is not only is it the low income, but then there are other things that come into play the first time you're on a college campus and the different level of rigor inside of those college courses, all the different things play a part or have a role i n the different things that we're seeing. Although this isn't a challenge that is only relevant for HBCU students, the knowledge gap, if you will, there is a huge knowledge gap that students are now graduating from high school and going from college. And there's a huge challenge because now there's an extra year or two of remediation that's needed in college. So now students are no longer going and graduating with a four year degree and more than likely it's a five or six year degree that students are now getting. So now we're no longer in school for only four years, we're in there for six years and we're getting student loans for longer. Now we have more student debt. So the snowball keeps getting bigger and bigger, right? So , in looking at that, I think that one of the, the greatest needs out there continues to be financial literacy. How do we get in front of this ball ? How do we get in front and have the conversation and not to say that there's not money out there for students, right. A student who works hard, does the research can find scholarships, can find the money to go to college, can get the grants to go to college. However, there's a knowledge gap. Where do I go to find those? How do I know who's the person that I contact. So not having those connections, not having that knowledge base and , and all of those different things play a huge part into the challenges that we see for students and that's across the board, but more specifically for the HBCU student.

Speaker 1:

I can see that. And , for one, I'm surprised that the numbers are so low, but not , not surprised that the numbers are so low for graduation. And she said, and then it's even compounded by the remediation, the level that maybe the reading level or whatever the other testing levels, some of those students aren't graduating and yet they're carrying on the college debt. And then we talk about there's wage gaps between different ethnicities and everything is, and then the compounding with women. And, you know, I, I could see how some people are getting in a really deep hole without, just because of who and where they're born and that's, that's a big issue. Well , I'm really glad to hear that you're helping take that on and bring light to that because it's, it's definitely unfortunately well needed. So,

Speaker 2:

Yeah. Well , well, thank you. One of the things that we definitely talk about , my co-founder Pamela Parker and I, and we don't want our children to continue to be defined by their zip codes . And in thinking about that, it doesn't matter where they're from, right? Who their parents are. We want our children to have that confidence, to know that they can go out here, go to college, graduate and do great things. Even if they, even if they choose not to go to college, they still have that opportunity to go out here, do great things and build generational wealth for their family. But ultimately they just have to make the decision and get the right guidance, have the correct mindset, but you are , you have to be introduced to that, to even want it. And oftentimes we are the first ones to help to introduce that conversation to them. So we're thankful to be that conduit.

Speaker 1:

That's, that's exciting. You know, I look forward to being in touch and learning more about Swing Into Their Dreams and the work that you're doing . One of the things we've talked about, I think you're going to have some thoughts on this next question is , how can we improve financial literacy?

Speaker 2:

Well, I think the number one thing is, is to keep at it, right? Anything that you continue to work on, you'll see where your strengths are. You'll see where the weaknesses are. You go back and you tweak those things as long as we are consistent. And we are intentional in our actions. I think that we'll continue to see those improvements, but the number one thing that I would recommend or strongly suggest, if you will, is that we continue to push our state departments of education, both the K-12 arena, as well as the higher education arena, to get behind, to support the policy , to push those policies through, find out who your representatives are in your area, have that courageous conversation go in and sit in on the house education committee meetings. Just so you have an idea of what's going on. I think the more that we get involved and have this conversation, the better things will be the more likely it will, that we'll be able to improve it. But I think the number one challenge remains. There's not of us who are involved at that level where the real decisions are made to truly make change happen. So we have to continue to get involved, have a seat at the table, have those courageous conversations and make those suggestions to those who, who lead us, speaking of voting because , you know, right. Our leaders, how do we make sure that we have the right people in place and that they hear, they truly hear the need in regards to financial literacy?

Speaker 1:

Definitely. Well, for our listeners today when we're recording, this is election day , so I hope everybody got out and voted today because that's the first step is participation. And then the next step is, as you say, is to be involved, to step up, to be courageous and to, to learn. Yeah, that's great advice. So, you know, to wrap up, I like to ask everybody, what's your number one tip on being financially prepared?

Speaker 2:

My number one tip is just to go ahead and make the decision. As I stated earlier, the best decision that I made was to decide to become an investor. And that would be the number one key takeaway. If you don't hear anything else that I said today is to invest, invest in yourself, but also in the, in whatever the vehicle is for you, whether that's investing into the market in the stock market, investing in real estate, investing in life insurance. Yes. That is an investment investing in life insurance. Invest in you so that you are educated and you are now empowered to make the right decision for you and your family.

Speaker 1:

Yeah . Fantastic. That's that's a great tip. So I'm Lynn in our show notes, we'll have all the links to your website, but you know, where can people learn more about you and the podcasts , the Financial Confidence Podcast and the Swing Into Their Dreams Foundation.

Speaker 2:

Wow. Okay. So you can find me on, on all social media @DemmonsSpeal. D E M M O N S s peak. You can also find me on WYTV7.org, WYTV7 sponsors o ur p odcasts on all major podcasting p latforms and the podcast is entitled Cinancial confidence. And you can also contact me via my website, DemmonsEnterprise.com.

Speaker 1:

Excellent. Well, I'd encourage everybody to reach out , try an episode of the Financial Confidence Podcast. It's a fantastic podcast. The Swing Into Their Dreams Foundation. Check it out.

Speaker 2:

Ah , yes. I'm sorry. I did not. I'm sorry, Tony. I forgot to mention this Swing Into Their Dreams Foundation. Yes, guys . We are also just so you know, we're hosting a golf tournament. I know everyone's tired of being in the house April 6th, 2021 , will be the Swing Into Their Dreams golf tournament at the Atlanta national golf course. If you have not seen it, it is amazing, amazingly beautiful, but check us out at SwingIntoTheirDreams .com .

Speaker 1:

Oh, excellent. I'll definitely post about that. So , Lynn, thank you so much for joining us today. I really appreciate it.

Speaker 2:

Well, thank you so much for having me. This has been real fun.

Speaker 1:

Fantastic. So for everyone out there listening, please remember to subscribe to the Get Ready with Tony Steuer Podcast. Until next time.