“Steve Harvey Show” Money Maven Patrice Washington On How She Lost It All & Got It Back

July 24, 2014  |  

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: I try to help them to start healthy money habits. It’s not just about cutting corners, sometimes there are just no more corners to cut. Sometimes the numbers don’t just add up. Your minimum necessities come to $1,500 and you make $1,000 a month, there is no way you will ever have ends meet. So in these cases, I have people look at ways they can increase their income by doing something they love to do part-time. We look at how a person can use their gifts, talents and skills to make up the shortfall.
Women especially tend to give their gifts away. They think they are being nice, but they are not respecting the gifts that they have. Sure ,you love your cousin, but tell her you love her and charge her to plan her wedding.
MN: What are some healthy financial habits?

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.

Another thing is education. Wealthy people respect education and they know that is the way to grow wealth. Education could be watching a YouTube video that teaches you something. We, in the black community, are worried about things that won’t benefit us. How is to going to benefit us to know what’s going on with T.I. and Floyd [Mayweather]. We value entertainment over education. And we have to stop this in order to growth wealth.
There is a proverb that helped me when I lost everything: “What good is wealth in the hands of a fool?” You need wisdom. I had no wisdom then as to how to utilize the wealth I had attained.
MN: One thing I think women have a problem with is asking for what they are worth.
PW: That is so true. Women are taught to be meek and agreeable, they don’t want to be seen as the b*tch. But you have to know your value, respect your value, and protect your value. To do this you have to do some self inventory. Think about the skills and gifts that make you valuable. And then stand up for what they are worth. Even if you have to express yourself in a shaky, nervous voice at first, stand up. Next time it will be easier. You have to work that self-assertion muscle.
MN: Do you feel it is important for women to have mentors?
PW: Yes. I didn’t realize Steve Harvey and Shirley Strawberry (Steve Harvey Show co-host) were my mentors until after the fact… Where I grew up I saw people shooting up drugs, hoes, pimps, I saw a man shot in the head. It was not a place where the word “mentor” was used. So I didn’t recognize it at first. And one of my mistakes when I was in real estate was I didn’t surround my self with mentors.
Now I have mentors; a circle of people I can each out to for advice, to run things past. You need to have this at every stage. I was the best thing on my block–at least I went to college. But I can’t be the smartest person in my circle. You always need to learn.

Trending on MadameNoire

Comment Disclaimer: Comments that contain profane or derogatory language, video links or exceed 200 words will require approval by a moderator before appearing in the comment section. XOXO-MN