Do not purchase items with credit cards when you don’t have the cash to pay for them. Story: I use to use my credit cards for food and gas…I then received the bill when I was hungry, and my tank was empty. So it was a triple-negative — I was hungry, unable to travel, and owed the creditors money.
As a part of my series about strong female finance leaders, I had the pleasure of interviewing Mia Love.
A widely recognized credit empowerment coach, mentor, and holistic practitioner with almost a decade of experience, Mia specializes in providing holistic financial wellness methods that improve both the financial health and overall well-being of her clients. Utilizing her extensive background in financial literacy and Level 3 reiki, energetic and prana healing certifications, Mia founded Real Freedom With Love (formerly The Good Credit Diva), a comprehensive credit and finance management firm, where she teaches financial stability that encourages financial assertiveness, as well as a personal evolution. Her passion for educating, healing, and teaching others is exemplified in her intensives and workshops she facilitates at various organizations, businesses, and events throughout the globe.
Mia brings her warmth and wit to every engagement, as she believes that healing reduces people’s resistance to change. She counts it a privilege to watch others experience a sense of freedom and confidence in their ability to not only make money but make time for what matters most.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Can you tell us the “backstory” about what brought you to the finance field?
Thank you for the opportunity to share my insights with your readers. Like some of us, I was too embarrassed to ask for help, and my wallet needed a serious revamp. The realization that I needed to focus and fix my own finances brought me into the field. I was facing wage garnishment, and a tax lien makes you learn a lot quickly. I needed help urgently, and I tend to work well when my back is against the wall, so I rolled my sleeves up and got to work. In the process, I found my passion for helping others with financial literacy.
Can you share with our readers the most interesting or amusing story that occurred to you in your career so far? Can you share the lesson or take away what you took out of that story?
My most interesting/amusing story during my career was when I received the wage garnishment letter. Stay with me; it gets better… I went to payroll (this is before everything was online) and attempted to explain why this would not work for me and my financial situation. At the counter, the person was very empathetic while they explained that I needed to reach out to the agency and obtain a release of levy.
Sadly, this took more than one pay cycle. Therefore I had to live with the garnishment deduction cutting 25% for that pay period. Once I got the paperwork faxed to my office, I headed back to payroll to show my progress and hoped that I made the cut off to escape disaster approaching my “rent check”. When I arrived at payroll, I saw a friend/colleague in the waiting area. To my knowledge, she worked in accounting, so I thought nothing of it. We spend a fair amount of time chatting outside of work but try not to bring the job into the weekend. I am called to the counter, so I exit the conversation and try to speak in a low tone to keep the details of my financial indiscretions to myself and the payroll associate. They explain that to have the release enacted in time for that pay cycle, I’d need to speak to the supervisor as payroll has already been submitted. I agree to wait and plead my case.
While I am rehearsing my lines for who I expect to be a tenured employee, my friend reappears, with the aforementioned associate and a file in hand. As they do a brief introduction, I imagine that this is what it looks like to see a Black person blush. My friend does work in accounting… payroll accounting — supervisor in fact. Through tight breathe, I give the cliff notes version of what I hope to happen. Without breaking her gaze, she explains that If I can come to pick up a paper check the Monday following payday, I can have my wish granted. I quickly agree and exit the building.
We saw each other at a mutual friend’s event the following weekend and have never spoken a word about the situation again.
Are you working on any exciting new projects now? How do you think that will help people?
I am now working on a course to discuss how people can heal energetically from trauma associated with finances. This can be childhood traumas regarding lack or negative connotations related to money & credit or other associations leading to poor spending habits and lack of financial literacy. I’m excited because this will be helpful as we will discuss root causes and ways to heal through crystal therapy, physical activity, knowledge about diet and financial literacy, and credit education. It’s a comprehensive wellness course.
What do you think makes your company stand out? Can you share a story?
My company stands out because we are more than a credit restoration or financial literacy company. We can help those who need credit repair,, A Will and Trust, to eliminate the possibility of probate and protect your legacy and a budgeting system to eliminate unnecessary interest payments. However, we want you to be healthy in every layer of life — mind, body, and spirit. We will take you through exercises to discharge any negative energy, balance your chakras, and offer whole soul wellness solutions.
Ok. Thank you for all that. Let’s now jump to the main core of our interview. Wall Street and Finance used to be an “all-white boys club”. This has changed a lot recently. In your opinion, what caused this change?
Simply put, 8:46. Wall Street was forced to change. They have been outed with only 2.7% of Black leaders at Goldman Sachs & only 2% at Citibank as of July 2020. The protests and demonstrations that followed the murder of George Floyd shed light on a lot of discrimination in our legal and professional systems. Now it’s time to keep moving to demand DEI on Wall Street.
Of course, despite the progress, we still have a lot more work to do to achieve parity. According to this report in CNBC, less than 17 percent of senior positions in investment banks are held by women. In your opinion or experience, what 3 things can be done by a)individuals b)companies, and/or c) society to support this movement going forward?
The gender gap is enormous and quite ridiculous. Individuals should continue to push the envelope and demand gender equity in their institutions. The leadership in hiring positions must provide transparency in recruiting and hiring decisions. These companies must realize that these are not quotas; they are a representation of what should be a constant. Society cannot be complacent and must be vocal about this paradigm shift. I am hopeful that Madame VP Kamala Harris will be instrumental in highlighting the demand for closing this gender gap across America.
Let’s now turn to a slightly new topic. According to this report in Fortune, nearly two-thirds of Americans can’t pass a basic test of financial literacy. In your opinion or experience, what is the cause of these unfortunate numbers? If you had the power to make a change, what 3 things would you recommend to improve these numbers?
It is unfortunate how low the financial IQ of both youth and adults, currently. We were not taught financial literacy in schools. Finances should be just as crucial to the curriculum as sports and “American history”. This, in addition to the monetary trauma associated with lower socioeconomic areas, has a lot to do with these unfortunate numbers. The three things that I would do are as follows: 1.) require that financial literacy education starts at the age of 8 years old and continues as core requirements until the age of 18. 2.) For college graduates, replace classes like western civilization with financial literacy, credit education, and budgeting strategies at all levels for those with corporate aspirations and others headed towards becoming professional athletes. 3.) Offer content for parents to educate and guide their children through household finances and multi-generational estate planning.
You are a “finance insider”. If you had to advise your adult child about 5 nonintuitive things one should do to become more financially literate, what would you say? Can you please give a story or example for each?
1.) Do not purchase items with credit cards when you don’t have the cash to pay for them. Story: I use to use my credit cards for food and gas…I then received the bill when I was hungry, and my tank was empty. So it was a triple-negative — I was hungry, unable to travel, and owed the creditors money. 2.) You CANNOT refinance a car! Once the vehicle leaves the lot, the value can drop by as much as 20%. Make sure your credit is right, and purchase what you can afford. Story: 20 years ago, I bought a car from a 2nd chance lender on the promise that I could refinance. I made my payments for six months and tried to refinance. The value was less than what I owed & all I could do is get another car and add what I lost to the new(er). It was a lose/lose situation. 3.) Always have your own. Story: My parents have been married for 50 years. During their professional years, they both maintained their own bank accounts and one “house account”. Each would receive an allowance in their own account of a predetermined amount to use as they pleased. The house does not pay for frivolous personal items. This philosophy allowed them to maintain a healthy financial relationship.. 4.)Pay yourself first. The story is if you cannot afford to put 10% of every dollar away, you’re doing it wrong. 5.) Never assume that loud is wealthy and poor is quiet. Story: I have had the opportunity to meet some of the wealthiest individuals. Their wealth is unassuming and without labels. This is a message in and of itself.
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?
I am grateful for my parents. They have truly modeled all facets of what it takes to achieve the primary goal of putting family first. We were taught that happiness does not lie in material possession and that you need to be respectful of what you are blessed with. When you appreciate the small things, more will be added to you. I cannot say that I always adhered to their advice, but it is not because the information wasn’t available to my siblings and me. Every other Friday, we went out to dinner. I always thought it was a celebration of payday or something to that effect. I learned that you don’t celebrate payday but what you can build multi-generationally with those paychecks. The dinner outings were to sharpen and reinforce our table manners to never embarrass ourselves or our family in that fashion.
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?
It takes six weeks to build a Toyota and six months to build a Rolls Royce. Quality over quantity at all times. Bonus lesson: show me your friends and I will tell you who you are. Moral: if you hang around 4 low vibrational folks, you will be the 5th one.
You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the greatest amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. :-)
Enter into every situation and conversation with the intent to raise the energy to the highest vibration possible and always aim to educate, motivate, and inspire.