“Steve Harvey Show” Money Maven Patrice Washington On How She Lost It All & Got It Back
Patrice C. Washington is the Money Maven of the Steve Harvey Morning Show where she dishes out financial advice. Not only does Washington do a weekly segment of the show, she is also a personal finance columnist, a best-selling author, radio host, and national speaker. Atlanta-based Washington is the founder and CEO of Seek Wisdom Find Wealth, a personal finance training and development company. She started the company to help individuals go from debt management to mastering their money with a unique focus on creating a new mental mindset.
Besides her financial prowess, she knows what it’s like to work from the bottom up. And what it’s like to lose it all.
As Washington was raking in seven figures as a real estate agent in Los Angeles, she was literally losing everything during the financial crisis. And she was unprepared. This led to her mission in financial education.
MadameNoire: How did you wind up on the Steve Harvey Show?
Patrice Washington: I used to work for Steve Harvey in college; he had been a mentor of mine for 14 years and when I was ready to put my second book out he asked me to launch it on the show. We got so many questions and requests, he asked me to come back again, then again. Then he said you will do a segment on the show. He didn’t ask me, he told me.
MN: How did you start working for him while in college?
PW: I was at the University of Southern California and he was coming to do a live broadcast. So I went to the broadcast to ask him for money for our black student union. He and his staff liked my approach and offered me an internship. I asked was it paid, they said no so I declined. I was already working and I had no interest in broadcast journalism. I was a business major… I was working the graveyard shift at a hotel. My dad found out about the hotel job and made me quit. So I called back the Steve Harvey people and started as an intern and worked up to PA then to segment producer.
Besides the show, I also got my real estate license during my sophomore year and became a real estate and mortgage broker in my senior year, at age 21. I started to do so well in real estate that I left the show.
MN: How did you lose everything?
PW: I was doing extremely well. Making seven figures… It was during the financial crisis. And I had heard what people said about diversifying your assets and not putting your eggs in one basket but I didn’t realize you should diversify them in different industries. I had a lot of things and money but it was all tied back to real estate. The recession happened, and I was unprepared. I started in real estate in 2002 and everything was going great. But then in 2007 it fell apart for us like it did for so many people. And we lost the business and then we lived off our savings for one year until that ran out.
MN: How did you start working for Steve Harvey again?
PW: After my husband and I had lost everything, we relocated to Atlanta. And it so happened that Steve Harvey had just moved his show there. They offered me a job in 2009 and I stayed for a year while I could get a clear picture on my purpose. My purpose was to share my experience and knowledge with others. Before when I counseled people about money and they complained they could not pay their bills, I would say, “Well, pay your bills.” Because I had not experienced hardship as an adult, I had no compassion. But now that I have been there, I had a better understanding of what some people are going through. This allows me to better help them.
MN: What is the financial question you get the most?
PW: People want to know how to start over. They want the steps to get out of debt. But I tell them you have to work on your mindset first. I can give all the steps in the world but you aren’t going to do them if you are not in the right mindset. So I focus on the internal first. The first things people have to do is to let go of the blame and shame.
You have to stop blaming others for your failures. Sure, I couldn’t control the fact that the real estate bubble was gong to burst and cause me to lose everything. But what was I doing to prepare myself in case of an industry disaster? What steps had I taken? So you need to claim your responsibility and your choices.
And we, especially in the African-American community, have trouble dealing with shame. We sometimes, be it because of our culture or some people’s religious beliefs, we don’t like to acknowledge that we owe someone something. I want to help people create a money mindset first and then we can get into the skill sets of creating wealth.
MN: What do you say to people living paycheck to paycheck?
PW: In my book I have nine healthy habits. One is gratitude. We are so busy that we don’t appreciate what we have but we will complain about what we don’t have. That only brings negative energy back to you. Instead be thankful for what you have and more will come to you. Part of being grateful is respecting what you have. Respect your relationship with money, it will be the only way it will grow. Just like any other relationship. If you don’t have your bills in order that is a form of disrespect. Open your bills when they come.