First Steps Towards Financial Independence

By Chadwick Roberson


This article is for all people: young, old and especially those wanting to get their finances together. We all know the importance of financial freedom, so here are few steps that I recently came across that can benefit us all.

There are three main points that you need to think about when assessing your financial situation:
1. Determining your financial identity
2. Creating and building wealth
3. Creating and keeping a budget

When trying to determine your financial identity you need to ask yourself, “What does money mean to me?” The reason for this is because there are a few different categories an individual can fall into regarding their spending habits.

The Four Money Attitudes

The Spender– This person loves money for the things it buys them. They prefer to have something concrete like cars or trendy gadgets over having something as abstract as savings. They hate or cannot save money.

The Builder– Builders see money as a tool. They use it to turn dreams into reality. Builders receive joy from the creative process involved in building their projects. Most entrepreneurs and corporate leaders are natural builders. However, they’re prone to miscalculating funds and the risks that are involved in their projects and also neglect to leave any margin for error: NO CUSHION!

The Giver– Givers are the volunteers, charity donors, and do-gooders of the world. They buy extravagant gifts for their friends that they wouldn’t even purchase for themselves and deny their own wants. Givers get in trouble because they ignore their own needs. They can hurt their children by not teaching them how to take care of money.

The Saver– Savers create fortune in the bank very quickly, while still living a comfortable life, sometimes even on a tight salary/budget. They are totally NOT impulse buyers. They love their saving’s cushion and their peace of mind. But they can be too conservative and often avoid instruments and opportunities to really make their money grow.

So…which are you?

Creating and building wealth needs to involve setting financial goals for various time frames, i.e. short, immediate or long term.

Financial Goal Examples:

  • Paying back debt in full
  • Saving for a child’s college expenses
  • Buying a home
  • Saving for retirement

Benefits of Budgeting:

  • Control of your financial situation
  • Helps you build assets and improve your quality of life
  • Reduce money related anxiety

Good Attributes of Developing a Budget:

  • Provide achievement of goals
  • Be balanced: income and spending, (including savings) are equal
  • Should be flexible and realistic
  • Track monthly income and expenses

Tips on decreasing spending:

  • Carry only small amounts of cash in your wallet/purse
  • Use direct deposit so money goes directly into your account
  • Control or limit the use of credit cards
  • DO NOT shop for fun
  • Write down your savings goals and refer to them as a weekly or monthly reminder
  • Buy only what you need, NO impulse buying. Creating a list may help.
  • Use coupons with no shame!
  • Take your lunch to work instead of going out, or limit frequency
  • Shop around to get the best deals on big ticket purchases, such as cars and appliances

Pay your bills ON TIME to avoid late fees, extra finance charges, utilities being turned off, eviction, repossessions and the cost of bad credit ratings

About the Author, Chadwick Roberson


Chadwick Roberson is a Prime Brokerage Client Services Specialist in JP Morgan’s Investment Bank in New York. He serves as the primary contact for hedge funds and asset managers regarding their credit, rates and foreign exchange OTC trading business. He’s been a member of the New York Urban League Young Professionals since 2009. Prior to joining NYULYP, he was a member of the Black Executive Exchange Program (B.E.E.P)—the college arm of the National Urban League where he served as the Media Relations and Marketing Coordinator. His commitment to serving others and community involvement has blessed him with the opportunity to mentor young people from across the country.

Raised in Dallas, Texas he attended Southern University and A&M College in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Chadwick is also a member of the Advisory Council for the Southern University College of Business.


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