On July 24, 2018, the Under the Hood program hosted "Smart Money Matters," a financial management workshop facilitated by Nalini Seepersad-Deen of Sterling National Bank. Sterling National Bank is a Queens-based financial institution that has served as a great partner to QCA. Sterling most recently served as part of our Creative Aging conference planning committee.

"Smart Money Matters" covered the fundamentals of budgeting and offered best practices in financial planning. Attendees were given packets containing work sheets that they could use on-site and at home to better manage their income and expenses, as well as identify their financial goals. After the workshop, Nalini shared a few tips with us on how artists can begin to take control of their financial futures.

What would you say is the most important thing that artists should do to prepare for their future?

In my opinion, the most important thing that an artist or any individual should do to prepare for their financial future is assess their current financial situation in order to develop future financial goals. Know your income level, recurring expenses, future debts, and savings. Then determine where you can budget differently- Identify your “needs” (necessity/ primary expenses) versus your “wants” (save instead of splurging) to save for your future.

 Nalini Seepersad-Deen of Sterling National Bank

Nalini Seepersad-Deen of Sterling National Bank

What is a common issue that people have with managing their finances?

A common issue that many people face when trying to manage their finances is not being able to save enough or not saving at all.  It is important to add a little structure in this department- create a priority list of monthly expenses. After all necessary expenses are accounted for, create a savings target (even as little as $25-$50 per month) - minimize spending.  Also give yourself a weekly/monthly budget and learn to manage your allowance for the given timeframe without dipping into your savings. As you have left over allowance funds you can bank it for the future as well. Over time, challenge yourself to save more each month- but you must begin at an attainable number to avoid “borrowing” from your savings.

What are some tools- books, digital apps, etc.- that artists can use to better manage their money?

To better manage your money, you should use a tool that fits your personal needs. You can create a budgeting excel sheet to track your monthly income, expenses and savings. There are various software and cell phone apps that are also available. Take advantage of financial literacy/ wellness courses available. Also utilize your Financial Institution’s personal banking and financial planning free reviews or services.

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What is your inspiration for doing the work that you do?

My inspiration for providing Financial Literacy and Workplace/Community Advantage Banking in our community is wanting to make a difference for many underprivileged families.  Many individuals are afraid to talk about their finances because they feel there is no help for them or they are intimidated- I want them to know that everyone has financial concerns and they are not alone! It’s okay to seek advice and as financial representatives we are here to assist you with your financial goals.

Are there any specific resources that artists can access through Sterling National Bank to help their money management?

Sterling National Bank provides free financial reviews and consultation in the communities that we serve.  Our banking staff is also available for personal banking services and Community Banking promotions.

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