Samari Ijezie who is on a mission: to rewrite the narrative surrounding wealth, so that financial literacy is a reality for all shared some financial tips with us! Keep reading for more on her back story but for now, know that she believes in the power within your mind and in seeking knowledge. “I want to be the pillar of this change,” says Samari, who divides her time between Los Angeles and New York City. She says, “My message to women 50 and older is that it’s never too late. A lot of older women feel that their day is over, but I believe that mid-life is really the moment to write a new chapter.” We recently chatted with Samari, and here are the takeaways:
“Here’s my advice for a woman who still lives in the family house: don’t sell! The importance of real estate is to use the house to make money for you! When your world changes in mid-life, consider downsizing AND keeping your home as a source for passive income. This means cleaning out the family home, and considering refinancing to decrease your mortgage payments. Meet with a financial advisor regarding those options. Meanwhile, rent yourself a condo, studio or one-bedroom apartment. Before you put everything into a storage unit, which becomes a monthly cost, declutter. Do your best to unload all of that stuff. Just keep what you really use.”
“Then, prepare to rent out the rooms or the entire house. Once you have removed all valuable, personal items, you may be facing the need for some minor upgrades, repairs, and renovations. You may need to replace a sink, toilet, etc. and of course give the place a fresh coat of paint, probably white. If the rugs are nasty, rip them out and replace with tile or parquet which is easy to clean.”
“If you have Millennials in the family, talk to these tech-fluent young people about how to use social media to advertise your space. Ideally, for long-term tenants, you can rent each room to someone you know, or have some connection to. Google ‘sublease contract’ online and present this contract as you interview each applicant.”
“If you’re interested in doing a short-term Airbnb arrangement, be prepared for the fact that people may not be especially kind to your property. I recommend using tech to protect yourself. This means auto-lock, keypad lock, cameras in common rooms, cameras outside, and automated messaging. The goal is to set it and forget it. You’ll need to commit to hiring a professional cleaning service with each change of occupants.”
Mid-life brings with it some undeniable losses, often including the loss of a spouse and other family members. A natural response to this disruption may be to attempt to cling to the past. However, this behavior may lead to a narrowing of options. “It’s very easy for all of us to feel stuck,” she says. “I encourage everyone, especially older clients, to ask themselves, How do I want to live out the rest of my life? What is the legacy I want to leave? Do I want to be stuck in the life I am used to, or keep reinventing myself? Is this the life I really want to live now?
On a more modest scale, small adjustments can result in better cash flow. Samari now does her own hair and nails, for example! “Like so many. I spent a lot of time and a lot of cash at the salon,” she says. “Now, that time and money is better spent, and by that I mean it’s more intentional. I used to go to have my nails done every two weeks, like clockwork. It was a habit, but then during COVID, I realized I could do gels myself. I got the UV lamp!”
She says “As inflation and recession bear down on us, my advice is to be more safe with your everyday money, the money you spend on average things. Buy your fruit at farmers markets and co-ops where it’s fresher and cheaper than at the grocery chain store. Maybe somebody in your neighborhood has chickens and sells fresh eggs. This is even the case in Los Angeles! Find liquidators who sell overstock and returned items. Check out consignment shops for a new dress, and while you’re at it, maybe bring in some of those St. John’s knits you never wear any more. I’m not even saying to spend less. I’m saying to spend more deliberately, strategically. Save up a few dollars here and there, then spend that money on something important, something that’s truly precious, like a trip or visit with a loved one, a memory that you can cherish for a lifetime.”
Samari also advises a sit-down with a professional financial advisor or estate planner for a thorough audit of all assets, a process which may unearth unclaimed financial assets, like a spouse’s forgotten pension, an IRA, Treasury Bill, components of a life insurance policy, a percentage of a piece of real estate, a 401k or other valuable morsels.
She also advises that women at mid-life and beyond to trust their passions without apology. “I wholeheartedly believe that we should live out our days happy, doing what feels great to us, whether it’s teaching, leading, creating in some form, offering meaningful service of some kind. It’s possible that your passion can lead to profits, too, versus just chasing the money, a process which always drains us of our essential joy.”
Samari Ijezie is creating a new non-profit platform, BeWealthy.org, (coming soon) to overcome financial disparities arising from gender and social equality. The platform will include Financial Literacy Workshops, Customized Courses, and an array of events, webinars, and live seminars to break down barriers and empower participants with financial management strategies for prosperity. Click the links below to find out more.