Figuring out how to fund your dreams can be tough, and can be even more so for us Caribbean women. Why? Well between glass door politics, earnings gap, and traditionalist thinking, it can be hard to navigate the finance space let alone get the money you need to build your dreams. You have to get creative and sometimes even non-traditional to achieve your goals.
Whether you’re a business babe or have something a little more personal in mind, the money has to come from somewhere. Here are a few tips you can do to help get started.
1. Have a clear goal
The beginning of any journey starts with a goal, especially one that deals with money. Setting clear objectives is truly essential for achieving success. Without a defined goal, it can be difficult to stay motivated and on track. What’s more, without a clear understanding of what you are working towards, it can be easy to become distracted or to allow other priorities to take precedence. It’s important to know what you are trying to finance and how much.
Are you trying to save for the down payment on that new house, buy a fancy car, or even invest in your business? It’s important to have the goal in mind to find the right approach. Making money takes different forms and some work better than others depending on what you’re trying to do. Have a clear goal first of what needs to be financed and how much it will cost.
2. Understand the options available to finance
What are your options available to finance the goal? This can come from internal or external sources……Here’s what I mean:
Review your situation; Are your cash flows, whether it be from salary or business, bringing in anything extra after you’ve spent it on the necessities? If so, you might be in a position to save internally till you get what you need. But be warned though if you take this route and use the savings, it means you won’t have any leftovers in case any emergencies pop up which is risky. So ask yourself: Can you afford to be without that cash? How long will it take for you to rebuild it?
On the flip side, external options may be available. Taking a loan will give you immediate access to the money you need, but it does come with a commitment to pay back and will have consequences if the obligation is not met. Also, consider that this commitment can exist long after the funds were used to achieve the goal. You need to consider if you have sufficient cash flow each month to cater for this.
3. Alternative sources of income
Think side hustle! If you already have a business, this means having what we call ‘passive income’ within the business. But the idea is to have a second (or even third) source of income outside regular activities. Why consider an alternative source of income? Because your primary income whether from employment or business is already under pressure with the day-to-day running of life. It has a purpose, which is to sustain you and your current lifestyle. It might be difficult to attach another need to it without causing some strain. Creating a separate source removes the strain and can be wholly devoted to the goal.
4. Create a relationship with a financial institution
No conversation about money matters can happen without talking about the banks and other financial institutions, and no type of legitimate business and commerce can happen without them. You want to make sure that you at least have a bank account, but take it a step further and also open an account in a credit union. Credit unions have a long history in the Caribbean, forming a significant part of most islands’ financial landscape.
These institutions continue to be the underdog fighting to ensure that members’ needs are met even when bigger corporate entities say no. So if you are looking to fund your dreams, a credit union is a great place to have a conversation about financing options whether it be to save or otherwise.
As Caribbean women, we already have a lot of struggles, trying to fund our dreams shouldn’t be one of them. We have the drive and determination – it’s in our DNA. With a little help from these tips, we can make it happen.
Andrea Ragoo is the CEO and Founder of ATR Business Solutions, and she has a deep-seated desire to help all entrepreneurs, particularly women of color achieve financial freedom. Based in Trinidad & Tobago, her years of experience has shown her that many Caribbean women struggle today with money matters, and her goal is to help others ‘manage their money instead of having their money manage them’. She believes that every single person can conquer the financial aspects of their life and business, so they can truly be profitable. Feel free to connect with Andrea via her website or on Instagram @atr_business_solutions