4 Lessons About Making Money and Giving Back

This post was sponsored by Regions Bank, member FDIC. All opinions are my own.

I recently attended a tremendous event called “Making Moves While Giving Back”, a Regions Next Step – Real Talk event series at the Gathering Spot in Atlanta.   It had some of the brightest and best young leaders in the city, such as Gwen Cole, Joey Womack, Briana Holmes, and Labriah Lee talking about how they have taken control of their lives professionally while also being able to give back philanthropically in the community.  For anyone wanting to lead a “boss” life personally, professionally and philanthropically, this event filled the bill because it really got to the root of how to be a good decision maker in your financial life including great advice on how to reach the goals that you want to achieve.

Here are four financial lessons I took away that you’ll want to keep by your nightstand:

Learn How To Say No

Sounds like a late 1980’s drug commercial campaign, huh? Can you separate the difference between an inconvenience and a problem? As Robert Fulghum would say, “Life is lumpy. And a lump in the oatmeal, a lump in the throat, and a lump in a breast are not the same lump. One should learn the difference.” It’s perfectly acceptable to tell your friends that you can’t afford dinner at that restaurant or you can’t stay at a particular hotel. Nobody will look down on you and if they do, you don’t need to be around them just over money. You’ll be happier in the long run.

The panel from the event talked about the idea of saying no professionally and personally.  This means you may actually turn down a job because it disrupts your work life balance. If you own a business, it may mean that you turn down a customer who doesn’t really value your products or services. Most of all when it comes to your finances, make sure you aren’t saying ‘yes’ to things you simply cannot afford just to impress your friends.

Nobody Posts Their Net Worth On Instagram Or Facebook

While your mind sees these really cool images of parties, vacations, and new automobiles, remember what you DON’T see is the net worth of the person on Facebook. You can put lipstick on a pig and make it look good, but it still won’t change the fact that it is a pig. Remember that many of the people you see doing these great things really can’t afford them, and likely are either in debt or massively behind on their savings goals.

The panel from the event talked about chasing your passion in life, and not just taking a job because of the money.  They discussed how easy it is for a young professional to succumb to the pressures of what your peers are doing. You may find that a non-profit job or business really fulfills you personally instead of chasing salaries that will leave you empty emotionally.

Be Transparent

There always seems to be an elephant in the room about how much everyone makes. While sharing salaries can still be a taboo subject, the panel talked about how it is perfectly alright to make money (lots of it if you want) as long as you are transparent.

Too many companies and small businesses today think they have to pull the wool over the eyes of customers just to make a few extra dimes and nickels. The young professionals of today can get to their financial goals much  quicker by making sure they are transparent about what they want financially for their future. This means when you interview for a job, be clear about what you want for a salary, so you aren’t disappointed down the road. If you are going in for a year end raise, make sure you ask for exactly what you want next year for income. If you are running a business, be open and honest with your employees about the goals for you personally and financially in order to get more buy-in as the company grows.

A Rising Tide Lifts All Boats

The entire panel mentioned how important it is that we all give back to our communities whether it is financially or personally.  We all realize that time is money.  One important distinction about where you choose to spend your time or money when it comes to being philanthropic, is to make sure you surround yourself with the right organization and people.

The discussion of ‘success breeds success’ is a concept that we often forget.  If we stick with a company or a set of people who are not commonly aligned with our goals, then it will be that much harder to succeed professionally and financially.


For anyone interested in additional financial advice and guidance, Regions Bank offers many online resources, like this podcast on moving up in the workplace and this interactive calculator for calculating your cash flow.

Thanks again to Regions Bank for letting me be a part of such an insightful discussion.



About the author  ⁄ Ted Jenkin @ Your Smart Money Moves

Ted Jenkin @ Your Smart Money Moves


My friends and family all think I’m a workaholic, but I say I’m just a guy that loves to help people do better in life.

My mother is still the only one that calls me by my real name Theodore Michael, my wife calls me Teddy, but for the rest of you it is just plain old Ted.

Ever since I was a little kid, I always loved money and being an entrepreneur. In fact, I still have cassette tapes of me talking to my grandmother at the age of five and my mother tells me all the time how much I played with money as a kid...

Read More About Ted Here

Ted Jenkin is a frequent guest columnist for the Wall Street Journal and Headline News Weekend Express. He is the co-CEO of oXYGen Financial. You can follow him on LinkedIn @ www.linkedin.com/in/theceoadvisor or on Twitter @tedjenkin.

Securities offered through Kestra Investment Services, LLC (Kestra IS), member FINRA/SIPC. Investment advisory services offered through Kestra Advisory Services, LLC (Kestra AS), an affiliate of Kestra IS. oXYGen Financial is not affiliated with Kestra IS or Kestra AS. Kestra IS and Kestra AS do not provide tax or legal advice.

The opinions expressed in this commentary are those of the author and may not necessarily reflect those held by Kestra Investment Services, LLC or Kestra Advisory Services, LLC. This is for general information only and is not intended to provide specific investment advice or recommendations for any individual. It is suggested that you consult your financial professional, attorney, or tax advisor regarding your individual situation. 

Background and qualification information is available at FINRA's BrokerCheck website.

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