Leaving A Legacy of Independence

I am so happy to see my country Barbados arrive at a major milestone, celebrating Fifty Years of Independence!

Though I have only lived to see thirty-three years of Barbados’ development, I have learnt and understood that in order to move this nation forward, you must have vision. This means the same for your personal development, that of your family and those who you lead.

Early in my twenties I lacked vision. In 2005, I signed my first employment contract which guaranteed me a salary at the end of the month. I was exhilarated of course, because I could now earn a living for myself. I thought I had finally achieved a level of financial independence; or so I thought. Those of you who have heard me speak, I often refer to the concept of financial leadership. I will explain how this revolutionised my finances.

You see, I was seriously bankrupt in my understanding of money. Yes, I got paid, but I lacked the maturity to manage it.  As I grew in my understanding, I realised that the money was not my issue. It was my behaviour. I thought I needed more, but I had to behave better with my money. Financial leadership is the ability to give your money PURPOSE and DIRECTION. It meant at the tender age, I had to kick against the grain and make decisions that could positively affect my future financially.

It meant I had to grow up on that day I opened my laptop and started budgeting my money. I didn’t like to be disciplined. It was absolutely not my favourite thing to do, but soon this painful habit became one that I cherished greatly.

Often times, it is easier to look at the present and not take a peek into the future, especially in financial planning.

Do you know, that if you don’t set aside money for spending later, you are stealing money from yourself in the future?

Let that sink in for a minute.

Could you confidently say you are actively planning for future generations to come?

This isn’t meant to condemn you, but to cause you to think very carefully about the financial decisions you make.

You might be saying, “I am knee deep in debt.”

You might be saying, “I have experienced a job loss.”

You might be saying, “I have made too many mistakes with my money. How could I possibly think about my financial future and that of future generations?”

You could start over with my thoughts on leaving a legacy of independence:

  1. Understand leaving a legacy is not only about leaving money: You can breathe now. You are not entirely responsible for your next generations’s financial future. Giving your next generation the tools and knowledge to creating a healthy, financial future is part of leaving a legacy.
  2. Embrace and encourage individuality: The truth is, everyone of us is wired differently. If you want proof, we all have unique fingerprints and will not walk the same financial path. Not everyone will earn money being a doctor or a lawyer (and I mean no disrespect to the profession), but we all were born with abilities which could earn ourselves a living.
  3. Refocus your goals: Is it the financial path of someone else you are walking on or desiring to walk on, or are you embarking on your unique financial journey? Unfair comparison kills our financial momentum I am afraid to say. If you are trying to build your life based on the perceived benefits from someone else’s path, you will be unhappy. Find out what you want to achieve for yourself and your family.
  4. Have the future in sharp focus: Transform your financial landscape by the way you think about and view money. See money as a tool. It is not a item you throw away haphazardly. Make wise use of it by investing in yourself for healthy returns. For example, your education, investments, businesses. Developing the habit of investing could transform your financial world, for the benefit of yourself and the generation that will come after you.

Happy Independence

Melinda Belle is the visionary and founder of Astrape (As-strap-pay) DSC_0051Finance, the caring, knowledgeable, trustworthy, financial company guiding you to financial stability and prosperity through education, sound planning and advice. Melinda sees her role as that of an architect and is committed to the shaping of financial landscapes of businesses. She also crosses over to the personal side of finance, teaching families and individuals to manage their money and create wealth.

EMAIL her at: melinda@astrapefinance.com

LIKE her Facebook Page:www.facebook.com/AstrapeFinance

FOLLOW her on Instagram: moneymatterswithmelinda

FOLLOW her on Twitter:www.twitter.com/MelindaLBelle




Financial Independence

Financial independence: the act of creating and maintaining a sustainable living


I remember when I decided to dive into entrepreneurship. I left a full time job for no guarantee of a pay cheque. What was I thinking?

After sharing with a couple of people of my move, I heard the following:

  1. Make sure you have contingencies in place (didn’t have any)
  2. Are you sure about doing this in this current economy? (no time like the present I thought to myself)

From a little girl growing up I knew I wanted a company of my own. I always saw myself as a manager.

The transition from employee to business owner was a challenging one. I had to have a vision and think of ways to make money. The opportunities did not fall into my lap. I had to create them. It wasn’t easy at first, but I soon learned if I wanted to see money going on the business bank account, I had to go get it.

Well almost four years in operation and another business later, I am happy I made that transition.

Financial independence means to me fulfilling my unique calling. Doing what I love and what I was designed to do. And to fulfill my potential. I am sure there are many more ideas to be unearthed.

Financially Independent Generation

What about the next generation? Shouldn’t we be inspiring them to be financially independent?

Some children fall through the cracks of our educational system due to a perceived “lack” of their intelligence. They are basically ignored and left there without of sense of who they are.

These children are just as brilliant as any child who enters school from the age of 4. It may be the school system is not adequately equipped to readily recognise their unique gifts.

While it is important for every child to have that solid foundation, the ability to read, write and perform mathematical functions, the ability to be financially independent should be ingrained in their impressionable minds.

From learning to budget, children can develop the ability to generate several sources of income. They would not be despondent that they don’t fit in the educational system, but they would have the ability to create ideas and make money with the natural abilities they are born with.

Multiple Streams of Income

It is honourable to find employment within an organisation. I am in no way disregarding those who chose to work for an employer. It is a definite way to earn a salary and to develop professionally. Remember, entrepreneurship is not designed nor meant for everyone to dive into.

However, did you consider should your job be taken from you, what would you have to fall back on?

Or do you consider the money you have, could be used to generate multiple streams of income for your household?

We are currently facing times of uncertainty and take it from me as someone who has experienced three job losses in my family, you need to have more than one  source of income.

I am not encouraging you to quit your full time job, I am encouraging you to start a side business. It could be hair braiding, blogging, writing a book or even raising chickens. It amazes me how the mothers of old were able to maintain a household with close to ten mouths to feed. These women were women of many trades and they made their money stretch.

Having skills does not make you less intelligent, it makes you more profitable.

It may be a sure way for you to get out of debt and generate wealth.

Financial Planning

I would like to speak to financial planning in the midst of the economic challenges we are facing as a nation.

While it may not be conducive at present to save for retirement, find other vehicles for deferred current consumption, that is setting aside money for spending later. You do not want to be left wanting in your old age. It would not be a pleasant experience to have to be dependent on someone. Ensure your financial independence in the long term. The longer you wait to prepare for retirement, the more expensive it will be to achieve that goal. Those of you in your twenties, this is prime time. Do not allow the removal of tax incentives for Registered Retirement Savings Plans (RRSP’s), as happened in Barbados earlier this year, to deter you or set you back from saving for those later years. Plan now!

I would like to take this opportunity to wish everyone a Happy Financial Independence from all of us at Astrape Finance.

Melinda Belle is the visionary and founder of Astrape (As-strap-pay) DSC_0051Finance, the caring, knowledgeable, trustworthy, financial company guiding you to financial stability and prosperity through education, sound planning and advice. Melinda sees her role as that of an architect and is committed to the shaping of financial landscapes of businesses. She also crosses over to the personal side of finance, teaching families and individuals to manage their money and create wealth.

EMAIL her at: melinda@astrapefinance.com

FOLLOW her on Twitter:www.twitter.com/MelindaLBelle

LIKE her Facebook Page:www.facebook.com/AstrapeFinance

Multiple Skills, More Money

The world we live in today is vastly different from what we were prepared for through our journey from childhood to adulthood. Our parents encouraged us to work hard at primary and secondary levels of school, to achieve the opportunity at a tertiary level education which would inevitably lead to a secure job, where you work 40 hours a week for 40 years, retire and be merry. That notion is now quite far from reality to most of us in the working world today and for our children to come after us. The reality is, there’s no guarantee that a university education will result in a job offer and even when the offer does come, the notion of job security no longer exists. Lay-offs, pay cuts, business closures have been rampant in most societies over the past 5 years and as some individuals keep saying “Everything has gone up other than their salaries”. And so you aren’t lost in translation, that basically means, standard of living has risen rapidly without that pattern being followed by our regular salaries. So with these occurrences, our upbringing shattered by reality, how does one survive?

The answer is simple. In this day, to survive financially, one must, without question, have multiple skills. Brian Tracy the Chairman and CEO of Brian Tracy International, a company specializing in the training and development of individuals and organizations said “Invest three percent of your income in yourself (self-development) in order to guarantee your future.” In simpler terms, the man who spends every day developing himself, will never be broke.

In a conversation with my peers, I pointed out that many of the individuals who weren’t as successful academically as we were; seem to be doing better than us in terms of earnings. From observation, I gather those individuals who realized academia was not their strength decided and in some cases were forced to strengthen themselves in other areas; and what resulted was well rounded young men and women who can put their hands to the plough in many areas. So along with their base salary at their 40 hours a week job, their additional skills have allowed them to have additional earning power. From part-time deejays to cosmetologist, technicians to musicians, they all have the means to earn extra. Those of us who followed what seemed to be the blueprint of success of going through school with honourable grades, have found ourselves in jobs that pay us just enough to get from one pay cheque to the other and just enough to for us not to quit; while we work hard enough not to get fired, and for many of us, it may not even be a job that we like!

So what, can it hurt to invest in yourself a bit, can it hurt to join a class, develop that skill of speaking, hair styling, baking? Think about how much wealth you would be missing out on by not developing that second, third and fourth skill!

This is not the time to solely rely of what was once considered the blueprint to success but to understand fully that success is the maximum utilization of the ability that you have. Robert Kiyosaki, who is best known as the author of “Rich Dad Poor Dad”, famously encouraged anyone who currently has job but looking to start a small business, to start the new business while you are still employed which allows you to make years of mistakes until you get it right. Zig Ziglar an American author, salesman and motivational speaker says “you don’t have to be great to get started, but to be great you have to get started”

Make 2015 the year you promise to develop yourself, if you haven’t begun that already. Look around and there are many examples of the skillful individuals who are easing themselves out of the rat race; simply put, people will pay you for services they can’t perform themselves!

So go on and tackle 2015 with gusto, develop yourself and be the best you can be, and most importantly, earn some money!Romelle


Romelle Greenidge is a University of the West Indies graduate with a Bachelor’s degree in Economics and Management. He entered the insurance industry right after completing university and has been there for the past 5 years. He is now at Sagicor as an advisor and is the process of pursuing his advisor designations.