On Sept. 17, 2016, media personality and Detroit native Danielle D. Hughes partnered with Primerica to bring the seminar based on the best-selling book Smart Women Finish Rich by David Bach to her hometown. Hughes is a social entrepreneur, journalist, as well as an advocate for the youth through the group she co-founded, Detroit Speaks. Hughes started her career as a news anchor and reporter for WRDW News 12 in Augusta, Georgia, and a multimedia journalist at WDHN in Dothan, Alabama. Her dreams took her far and wide, only to lead her back to Detroit to focus on a new dream that would help women understand finances and reach their financial goals. According to Wells Fargo:
- In 80 percent of the nation’s households, women are the primary decision makers regarding purchaes.
- Only 50 percent of millennial women have started saving for retirement versus 61 percent of millennial men.
- Only 18 percent of millennial women (compared to 29 percent of millennial men) demonstrate high financial literacy.
Mary Hayes from Invesco Investment Group presented to the women and focused on how to not only live rich but how to finish rich as well. She taught the women how to learn to earn, put money where their values are, where women are on the financial ladder compared to men, about retirement, Social Security, savings, and more. The women also learned new statistics such as women own 9.4 million businesses (30 percent of which are in the country), women live up to six years longer than men, the average age for a widow is 55, 25 percent of widowed women go through their husband’s death benefits in two months, and how saving a little over $4 a day in your 20s could help you save a couple thousand dollars a year.
The second presenter, Tierra Jae of New Beginnings Credit Consulting and Restoration, taught the women how to repair and build their credit. Jae gave the women key steps to build their credit, free credit check sites, and banks that offer secure credit cards.
Rolling out was able to sit down with both Danielle Hughes and Tierra Jae to talk in-depth about their ventures.
When did you start your business?
Tierra Jae: I started my business unofficially in 2012. In April 2014 I filed and made it an actual business and in 2015 I launched my business to the public.
What other companies have you founded?
TJ: I’ve had a transportation service, a tax office, and an online boutique.
Where is your office located?
TJ: My office is located in Southfield, Michigan. My business is also online. I have clients in at least 40 of the 50 states.
What made you want to start doing credit repair?
TJ: I messed up my credit. Letting people get things in my name, maxing out credit cards, too much shopping, you name it I did it. I made a lot of bad decisions. I had my daughter and had to apply for an apartment, but couldn’t get it because of my credit. I began to teach myself about the trade. My friends and family began to see how good I was at credit repair so I began to help them and then decided to quit my job and pursue it full time.
What is the process that your clients have to go through in order to have better credit?
TJ: I have custom credit repair packages for each individual because everyone’s credit is not the same. With that being said, there’s a repair process and a restoration process. The first part of the process is cleaning the credit report and boosting the score. Eighty percent of most credit reports have an error and those need to be taken off. Once I do the repair part, we move on to the restoration part, which is helping the client build their credit up. We write dispute letters and build upon that new credit status and get credit cards, homes, cars, and whatever other goal they may have in mind.
After your utilizing your services, does your client still owe money to those listed on their reports?
TJ: About 30 percent of the time, they’ll have to pay something. Most of the time I get it removed. If they have to pay anything, it’s usually about 40 percent of whatever the company said they owed with a settlement letter that I send. I encourage my clients never to pay anything without consulting with me first.
What is the average time that it takes you to repair someone’s credit?
TJ: Usually people come to me with a score that I call “a dirty 5.” That is a 500 credit score and that means that they have some credit but not good credit. For me to take someone with a dirty 5 to a 700 score takes an average of six months. They began seeing results in their score within the first 30 days.
How many hours a day do you spend working on your business?
TJ: I only get about five hours of sleep so I usually work on my business 16-19 hours a day.
What is the goal of your business?
TJ: My goal is to have branches all over the country and have all my clients with 700+ credit scores.
What is Detroit Speaks?
Danielle Hughes: It is a rising nonprofit for the youth ages 13-17 where we work to promote innovation, community, and scholarship within the metro Detroit area. There are three of us all together: Jasmine Swain Brianna Alexander, and myself. My partners and I are all living in different states so we’ve done a lot of webinars and volunteer-based activities. We’ve done College 101 webinars and more. We want to be the women that the youth never had in their lives and give them information that we might have missed out on when we were growing up.
What made you bring this seminar to Detroit?
DH: Well, Detroit Speaks had a financial webinar back in July called Finances 101. We noticed how finances and credit weren’t really talked about in Black homes — or any homes for that matter. I wish I would’ve started having these conversations younger because I would be so much further along now. I wanted to bring it home because I know if I didn’t know about it, I knew there were many other women in the same position who would not know as well. I just wanted the women of Detroit to be educated about finances and how to build good credit.
Was this a Detroit Speaks event?
DH:: The idea came from the Detroit Speaks webinar on finances but I branched out individually to bring it home and present it to the women of Detroit.
What’s the next step for you?
DH: My plans seemed to alter over night but I prayed and prayed and God led me here; I literally walked into my purpose. I want to focus on finances for a while and take this seminar on tour, hitting different states in the country. I want to help people reach their personal and financial goals.
What is something to want to say to women to encourage them when it comes to finances?
DH: Learn to earn. It’s out here. Cut off the TV and social media. Open the books and the articles. The information is out there; you just have to go and get it. There is no reason that [any] woman should not be living the financial life of her dreams. It’s totally obtainable.
Photos credit: Clark Visions