For some people, it’s in some of the hardest of times that they can find their greatest inspiration. Take financial coach Dasha Kennedy for example.
A few years ago, the 32-year-old St. Louis native found herself dealing, all at once, with grief, health woes and financial struggles. While that could have broken many of us, Dasha’s background in finances helped her to pull herself out of a hole of debt, and she walked away from one of the darkest moments in her life with a new mission — to help young women like herself obtain financial literacy in a way that they could relate to. With that in mind, she created The Broke Black Girl. Since its creation in 2017, the public Facebook group has more than 65,000 followers, has supported women not only financially but also emotionally with money management resources, and allowed Dasha to leave her 9 to 5 so that she can offer her financial services full-time.
She shared her inspirational story with us, and we’re sharing it with you in the hopes that you’ll join her growing community, and be inspired to take control of your own finances. Learn more about her journey.
MadameNoire: What inspired you to start The Broke Black Girl?
Dasha Kennedy: A series of financial hardships hit me all at once. After a short marriage, I found myself struggling to regain control of my finances. A serious injury to my foot left me without work and short on pay for over a month, and on top of all of that, my father suddenly passed away.
Knowing that a lot of women, particularly those of color, do not have access to resources to become financially literate, I decided to start documenting my financial journey on Facebook to see if my story could help other women going through the same hardships. I started the Facebook group The Broke Black Girl in November 2017 because I felt I knew a lot of effective and relevant information about personal finance and budgeting. I wanted to share my tips with women, who like me, needed to dig themselves out of a financial hole and take control of their situation.
Why is it important to reach Black women to have conversations about personal finance?
Young women of color are often overlooked and underserved when it comes to conversations about personal finance. Black women in particular frequently face an opportunity gap that affects our finances. According to the National Partnership for Women & Families, Black women in the United States who work full-time, year-round, are paid 61 cents for every dollar paid to white, non-Hispanic men.
I’ve seen financial advisors talk “at” young women of color instead of “to” them, failing to acknowledge that personal finance is personal, which leaves black women feeling embarrassed, discouraged and confused about their financial future.
The Broke Black Girl Facebook group is a true sisterhood and community committed to having honest conversations about financial woes in hopes of helping each other through our hardships. My hope is that this community reduces the stress and shame that being “broke” causes so many young Americans. Together, we have been able to create easy to follow methods in a language that Black women can relate to and retain.
How did you end up being able to leave your full-time job to focus on The Broke Black Girl full-time? Where does the income come from?
After already doubling my salary, I was able to quit my day job just nine months after creating The Broke Black Girl Facebook group. I found my calling as a financial coach and speaker and I launched my website to broaden my reach in the pursuit of helping women. The demand for me became so high that I could no longer manage a full-time job, The Broke Black Girl group and my consistently growing client list. In the end, I made the decision to take a risk on 40,000 (now 65,000) Black women, quit my job and give my full attention to properly providing Black women with relatable and effective financial literacy resources, as so many others have failed to do before. While I still run The Broke Black Girl Facebook group, I’m also focusing on growing my business to offer financial services that fit the needs of my clients both virtually and in person.
Why is it also important to share mental wellness tips with the BBG community?
Financial care is self-care. If you are struggling mentally, there is an increased chance that you are desperate for some type of temporary relief. Unfortunately, that relief is often at the end of detrimental financial purchases. It is so important to have conversations about both our financial and health struggles. Several studies show a link between financial and mental health, suggesting that if you struggle with depression and anxiety, you’re more likely to be in debt. And when it comes to the Black community in particular, only a third of us in need of mental health support actually receive the care we need, according to the American Psychiatric Association.
I encourage the women in our digital community to practice self-care in cost-effective ways such as spending time outside, reducing social media access, reading books, journaling, creating boundaries with others and practicing self-compassion.
In what ways do you take the group offline to really connect? And what are your hopes for the BBG in the years to come?
I am a huge advocate for building offline relationships. I curate several events throughout the year to bring our community from behind the screen and meet in person. We stick together when money is tight and times are tough. Although our group focuses on providing financial literacy, we understand that sometimes that is simply not enough. Together, we have stepped up and helped several of our members out financially. Some women in the group have found the courage to leave physically and financially abusive relationships, create effective budgets after recovering from the loss of income, purchase their first home and/or car with financial confidence, find employment and manage their finances after being released from incarceration. We have been there for each other to offer support both online and in person. The Broke Black Girl is more than a group, it’s a sisterhood of women that have devoted their time and resources to assist other women with taking a nontraditional approach to money management. Our hope is that the information and knowledge obtained from our growing community will be passed down to a new generation and continue to help Black women achieve financial freedom. This is a legacy, and when African-American women stick together and help each other out, there is nothing we can’t accomplish.