The True Cost of Financial Illiteracy


The room was cold, and my name tag was peeling off. I desperately searched for some comforting eye contact, only to be met with eyes full of confusion, confidence, and disapproval. My mind flashes back to the moment I decided to register for yet another seminar.

I remember the mystique centered around the topic in the room, and I remembered simply not knowing where to start, what questions to ask, or what to even type on google search. To my surprise, as I was channel surfing on the radio, in my 2009 SUZUKI SX4, I heard “ you want to learn how to flip houses without spending your money… blah blah blah blah blah blah…come to this free seminar and we will show you how”. Bingo! There was my ticket to the first day of the rest of my life.

I travel back to the present, and survey the room yet again this time determined to find a friendly face. And there she was, sitting right behind me with a two-piece pencil skirt business suit, holding her Mac Book Pro, and a stylish briefcase. This woman meant business. Of course holding the curiosity equivalent to a cat’s, I introduced myself and proceeded to make small talk and find out the story behind the confidence, and excitement in her eyes. That conversation would forever change my life.

It turns out that woman in the business suit, was a day trader. Yes, she traded Stocks, Stock Options, FOREX, and Futures. See, the thing is I was going from seminar to seminar that year, because I was completely ignorant to the world of investing. I knew there was money to be made, I knew about saving up for retirement, but I simply didn’t know where to start, or even what questions to ask. So needless to say, I became very close to the woman in the suit, and eventually hired her as mentor. She taught me the basics of investing, she taught me that you don’t need a lot of money to start, and most importantly she taught how to find a way to supplement my income without trading in hours for dollars.

As a Haitian American, I watched my entire community along with other communities like mine, work tirelessly to make ends meet, and struggle in their retirement years. In fact most grandma’s I know are either working a part time job, hustling in a farmers market type environment, or babysits children in order to make ends meet. Social Security Checks are simply not enough. Moreover, I watch my parent’s generation struggle with unnecessary debt and inadequate income to keep up with a comfortable lifestyle (by comfortable I mean live in a safe neighborhood, and keep the fridge full without government aid). With all of these experiences I knew that the financial world held numerous opportunities to alleviate current financial burdens, along with creating an attractive bank account for the golden years.

Bjou Bjou is a market place for African and African Diasopora vendors yes, there you can find Ankara fashion, Dashiki’s, Kente print, traditional African jewelry and much more. But the inception of Bjou Bjou stems on community economic growth and development, and one of the main ingredients to elevating an economy is the household financial behaviors. It is through financial literacy that we can start to elevate our community out of poverty, extortion and gain financial independence.

Bjou  Bjou invites you to join your community in its journey to financial literacy . Sign up for our weekly newsletter, on small business finance tips, and personal finance tips.

About the author: Katiana Carre Holds a Masters in Finance from Chapman Business School (Florida International University), and Professional Certificate in Business and Financial Modeling from Wharton Business School. She has an extensive background in financial accounting and business operations from a fortune 500 company. She also is the Founder and President of Kaliko Investments LLC.


1 comment

  • I knew you were bad a** but my God kat, you were here b4 you were here if u know what I mean.

    Ivener Souffrant

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