Every now and then, I find myself perusing SSENSE or Net-a-Porter, scrolling past items that are priced higher than my rent: $1,500. While I want to splurge, I’m not yet at a point in my life where I can do that comfortably. I’m sure many of you share the goal of increasing your income and saving, but not everyone is certain where to begin. This is where financial advisors like Deidree H. Goldbourne, the founder of Dei Dream Financial, excel. Goldbourne’s financial advisory and consulting firm helps prepare Black, POC, and LGBTQIA+ communities gain financial literacy and success in financial planning for their futures.
Based in New York City, the fashion capital of the United States, Goldbourne navigates a city where spending on anything and everything goes unchecked. I fell victim to not having a budget when I first moved to the city, even when I was buying more clothing to keep up with the other fashion girls. The city has a way of making it seem like everyone is rich except you, but Goldbourne explains that most of the time, those people might not be financially responsible. Her passion lies in ensuring that the Black community gets the chance at generational wealth. In a roundtable conversation with myself, Goldbourne, and Devine Blacksher, our Senior Fashion Editor, we discussed money through an intergenerational lens of Gen Z and young millennials.
Our discussion focused on how, as fashion enthusiasts, we can manage our money better while maintaining a stylish appearance. We explored saving strategies, alternative approaches to shopping for designer brands as well as navigating the dynamics of fast fashion versus luxury.
If you’ve been on the fence about a splurge item or have your mouse hovering over the “purchase now” button, read through to find out your best options below.
Kerane Marcellus: As a financial advisor, what advice do you have in general for the fashion girls that love to shop?
Deidree H. Goldbourne: A high-yield savings account, that will help the fashion girls. If I could recommend anything, it would be to save and purchase the things that you want, they just have to be in steps. You have to make sure you’re prioritizing your needs first before your wants. What I mean is wealth is not really based on how much money you make, it’s based on how much money you keep. The first thing you can do is make sure that you’re saving for your emergencies first, normally between 10 to 20% is ideal. The remaining funds can be used for discretionary spending after covering essential expenses like rent. Cut back on non-essential items, focusing on your goals to gradually afford desired items over time.You really have to be goal-oriented to make sure that you can buy the things, the pieces, the bags that you want, over a period of time.
KM: So, a high-yield savings account stands out from a traditional savings account because it rewards you with a higher interest rate, allowing your money to grow even faster as it sits in your savings account. What kind of high-yield savings accounts would you recommend?
DG: There are multiple. There’s Ally, Marcus with Goldman Sachs and American Express. The majority of them are over about 4.4%. As long as you’re getting as much interest as you can and you’re automating your savings into your high-yield savings, you should be good every single month.
KM: When it comes to saving up for an expensive purchase that’s around $1,500, what tips do you have to save up for it?
DG: The best thing, in my opinion, for you to do is similar to how our parents used to do it. Really balancing some sort of checkbook or having a budget that you can physically see and be accountable to. A lot of the times when I’m working with clients, initially, I’ll stress to them that they should write down some of the things that they’re spending, and they’ll find out very quickly how much money they have. But for the fashion girls that are buying $1,500 bags, my mother didn’t buy her first Louis Vuitton bag until she was in her 40s. She was married, she had her first home, and she had fully paid off her student loans. Now, I’m not saying that you have to wait that long. My mother was a very money conscious woman, but I know for a lot of us this is a game of “Keeping Up with the Joneses.” When you’re at Soho House, when you’re at Dumbo house, you want to make sure that you look good and your bags are nice, but you really have to think about is this something that you truly need? If it’s something that you can’t afford? Is it something that you need to buy out right at this very moment or can you save over a series of months to do it? Have you paid all your bills? Have you been paying your student loan payments? Have you saved for your emergencies? And do you have any other upcoming expenses that you have to consider? It may not be $1,500 for a bag tomorrow, but let’s say if you save $500 every single month in three months when spring comes you can comfortably afford to purchase the bag.
Devine Blacksher: Now that we’ve gotten the savings conversation out of the way, let’s talk about fast fashion vs. investment pieces. Long term, does it benefit a consumer to invest in that luxury item that’s over $2k or is fast fashion more of a money saver long term?
DG: Fast fashion, it’s hard because there are degrees of fast fashion. What I’ll say is that, I do think that I grew up purchasing clothes with my mother as a small kid and she would always make sure she got me the highest quality pieces possible. She was always big on if you’re getting a pair of shoes, get the best quality shoes you can because they’re going to last you a lot longer. I’m not saying that fast fashion deteriorates, but if you could get a really good Ralph Lauren shirt over a polo that you can get at ASOS, I’m definitely going to recommend you to get the Polo polo from Ralph Lauren. More expensive pieces or items you want to purchase, are they better? Yes, because they’re going to hold more value. Let’s say something happens later on and you want to sell the piece, you most likely can get something in return. Fast fashion is not sustainable for the environment or our own closets, but I do understand how it can work and make sure that we are getting some of the things that we need even if it’s basics. I also want to be aware that if we could purchase more quality pieces over time, not only would it be better for the environment, not only would it be better for our pockets long-term, it would more importantly create a more sustainable, value-added closet that would make us feel more confident in the long run.