Nia Adams is a personal finance expert and single mom who has been through tough financial times. In this episode, she shares her story and offers tips on overcoming any financial hurdles you might face.
If you're struggling financially, don't give up! Listen to this episode for inspiration and advice from a successful single mom.
About Our Guest
Nia is the creator and founder of Perspectives, a personal finance education brand. A Speaker, Real Estate Investor, and Author. Financial obstacles and triumphs of her own inspired Nia to become a personal finance educator. She uses her story, education, and experiences to help individuals of all ages with tools and resources, empowering them to achieve financial stability by changing their relationship with money.
She is the founder of The Money Mastery Academy and The Money Moves Program, and the author of Life is Short, Buy the House.
Nia is a Certified Financial Education Instructor, and holds a MBA in Finance from Keller Graduate School of Management. Nia attended Chicago State University, where she obtained her Bachelors of Science in Business Administration in 2014.
Connect with Nia
- Nia Adams is a single mom finance expert who overcame her own financial speed bumps.
- At age 23, she started working at the post office and had two maxed-out credit cards.
- After 2 years of studying and learning, she was pre-approved for her first house but suffered a work injury 6 weeks later.
- The lengthy time off work without a full salary led to her inability to make mortgage payments and foreclosure of the home.
- To start fresh, Nia filed for bankruptcy, downsized to a smaller apartment, and worked to prevent another similar situation from happening in the future.
Intro/Outro: You know what it is. That's right. It's time to talk money with your money nerd and financial coach. Now tighten those purse strings and open those ears. It's the Money Talk with Tiff podcast.
Tiffany Grant: Hey everyone. I am so excited cuz I have Nia Adams on the line Now. Nia is one of my finance. This, and I'm so excited to have her on because we're gonna be talking about, um, the journey that she has had, um, being a single mom and getting her finances right and experiencing all the speed bumps possible.
It seems like . Um, it seems like all the speed bumps possible. So thank you so much, Nia, for coming on the show. Thank
Nia Adams: you, thank you, thank you so much for having me. I'm so happy to be here.
Tiffany Grant: Absolutely. Absolutely. So let's hop right in. So let's talk about what your journey looked like. So first and foremost, let's start at the very, very beginning.
Um, I guess when you started getting, you know, your wake up call on your personal finances, um, I guess when did that start for you Actually. Um,
Nia Adams: so first let me preface that by saying that, um, my mom was a single mother, so my mom had me at 17 and she was, I was the third child. So just set that tone. 17 three children.
So I, um, I went on to, you know, do the same thing. I had my daughter at 17 also, so I didn't really get a lot of financial education because, you know, she was spending a lot of her time working, trying to put food on a table and keep a roof over three children. So she didn't really have that time to come and Okay.
You know, explain finances to me. . My dad, he was in the picture like very briefly in the beginning and he like, you know, took me to the bank to open a bank account. You know, that's what you do, . Um, but I never knew what the bank account was for what it was. And when me and him lost touch, obviously I wasn't going back to the bank anymore.
So the account laid dormant. And eventually they deducted all of the money out of the account once it became, you know, they converted it to an adult account. So they deducted until the money was gone. By the time I remembered the account, you know, um, at the time it was, it's chase now, but before it was like, it's not that, that money, that account is closed, you know?
Is essentially what they told me. So I'm going at this with no G P s, no roadmap anything, and I was working at the postal service, so I started working at the postal service when I was 23. And you know, that's a good government, you know, everybody like, oh, you got a good, good government job. So good government.
I thought I was doing it, you know, I thought I was doing good. I'm making good money. I can work as much overtime as I want to. Um, I can work. When I first started, I was working 13, 14 hours every day. So I just, you know, I was loading in money to be 23, you know, making that much money. So I heard others talking about purchasing a house, and you know, that's the American dream, which a white picket fence and a dog.
So I'm like, oh, okay. I can get a house, you know, I make money. My first eyeopening moment was sitting down talking to the loan officer, and I'm like, well, I wanna buy a house. And he was like, no, you don't. No, you don't wanna buy a house , you think you do. And so he like, you don't have any credit. You don't have, you know, any money saved up.
You don't. Ha. And I'm like, . Oh, you know, like, I don't know. I need those means, you know? And I had got credit cards, you know when you get 18 and they flood you with offers. And so I signed up for two of them, but I didn't know that you had to pay them back with interest like that. So I didn't know how credit worked like that.
So I went and I would buy things, you know, I'm like, oh great. I could buy it and I don't have to pay for it. I just swiped this little card, so I maxed those bad boys out. So I'm approaching him with maxed out credit cards, probably in court at the time, getting sued by those credit card companies. You know, keeping it real.
And he is like, no, you need to do this, you need to do this, you need to do this. And so that to me was kind of crushing cuz I had these big dreams of, oh, I make this money. I'm working hard and I'm busting my butt. I can't buy a. , like, you know, like I tell my customer I make too much money to be this bro.
Like, what do you mean? So, That was my first, honestly like eye-opening moment that like, oh, so you need credit to get things. Oh, okay, now I know. I know. Mm-hmm. had no clue.
Tiffany Grant: And, and you know, I wanna stop there for a minute because that is so true and it's stuff that we are not taught and just thinking about.
Um, you know, generational stuff as well. Like, my mom wasn't a teen mom, but my great grandma on my mom's side, um, she had four kids by 19. So when I got pregnant at 17, I'm like, who gonna check me? No kidding. , no, but, um, . But seriously though, um, you know, if you don't know your history, cuz I didn't know that at the time, you know, at first.
But as I got to know about it, I was like, okay. And, you know, getting into family history and stuff. But also I wanted to say too, um, if you're not taught about how this credit thing works, I had the same belief as you. And my eye-opening experience was getting denied for like a $200 credit card. And I'm like, So I'm not worth $200.
Like I know I can afford this. Um, and so that was the eye-opening moment for me, was getting denied that. And so, okay, you went and you tried to get a house and , he was like, yeah, you're not ready. So then what happened?
Nia Adams: So after I picked my face off the floor, You know, and sh shook it off, you know, I took it as a challenge.
I'm like, oh, this is nothing. So it took me about two years to repair my credit, build up some money, some type of savings so I could go back to him. And I heard those magic words, you're pre-approved. So I'm like, yes. So it took me, it took me two years to build back up, and this is before Google and YouTube University.
And this was, I had to go buy books. It wasn't like with Amazon where you can buy the book online. You, I had to go purchase books like maybe from Walmart, you know? It was before all of this stuff was so easily able to be and within reach. So I did that. I worked, I studied, I did with the book set and built my credit.
It took me about two.
Tiffany Grant: So it took you about two years, um, to get everything straight. And so you bought the books. You kind of was like, you know what, Nia Enough is enough. I need to teach myself this stuff because I worked too hard to not be able to afford the things that I wanna get. And so, After the two years, then what happened?
Nia Adams: So after the two years I got pre-approved and I purchased my first house. I'm 27 at the time. So like you said, I'm like, talk to me. Nice. You know, um, got my house feeling really good about myself. Um, again, still working for the postal service. So I bought my house October 28th. I slipped on ice and hurt my ankle December.
Fourth, so six weeks. I, I think roughly after I purchased my house, I got injured at work, and I don't know if anybody knows about the worker's comp process, but it's not fast. But if, initially, I kept working on my messed up ankle, because remember, I, I just learned about savings. So of course I don't have an emergency fund stash sitting there for repairs or replacements.
You know, I didn't prepare for home ownership. I just prepared to purchase. So now I'm sitting here working only till my ankle essentially gave out and my ankle's like, okay, look, no, we, we can't do this no more. So I had to take off work. And so I was off work on and off for about two years. I had casts, boobs, physical therapy, and eventually I ended up having surgery, physical therapy again.
Um, so all this time. It took a while, and then when you get worker's comp, they give you a portion of your money. You don't get your full check also. Um, so I end up losing a house because the time period waiting for the worker's comp to kick in and get that first check. This was time that I wasn't paying my mortgage.
Like that's why I originally had tried to keep working and be like, oh, you know, whatever. It's just a little pain. I wrap it up every day, but eventually my ankle was like, look, no, no, no, no, no, uncle. Like, I can't, so. It. That's what now, two months into owning my home, maybe three months total, three, four months.
Now I'm in danger of for foreclosure. Now I'm in danger of foreclosure. That's, that's, that's what happened. .
Tiffany Grant: Wow. Wow. So, Just to, um, make sure the audience understands like the journey. You bought the house and then you ended up getting injured at work. And once you got injured, then now you're having to depend on worker's comp, which as someone that worked on the other side of worker's comp , um, I definitely understand that process.
Um, and it is very time consuming and also a lot of times the company's fighting against you. Uh, but that's another episode for another day. . But anyway, um, , so now you are having to depend on that. And so you're excited about being a homeowner, then all of a sudden that is about to be taken away from you.
So how were you feeling at that
Nia Adams: time? One, I was feeling ashamed. Um, because you know, of course you're always your own worst critic, so you're always thinking like, oh, you know, how could you let this happen? Uh, you know, what am I gonna do? But I was too ashamed to tell other people, I don't wanna put my.
Burden on someone else. You know, it is just so many different emotions. I'm still a single mother, so I have this child that I have to provide a roof for, so I don't know much about money, the foreclosure process or any of these things. So I'm essentially this lost that. That's how I felt. I was lost .
Tiffany Grant: Mm.
Yeah, absolutely. And so from that moment on, um, so what happened after, like, let's say for instance, the foreclosure and now you're practically starting at ground zero, um, with your ankle and everything going on. Um, what was next for you at that moment?
Nia Adams: So I filed bankruptcy. , um, to, like you say, to essentially like, wipe my slate clean, um, get everything off and start from zero.
So I had to work like with the secured credit cards because, you know, I'm starting from scratch and I have to build up my credit worthiness to let people know that. I, I'm not as high of a risk, I guess you could say. So I started with that. I started looking for an apartment. So I moved down to an apartment.
I downsized to an apartment, small apartment with me and my daughter. I kind of made her bedroom, the living room, like, so, like budget, you know, real really? Mm-hmm. . Mm-hmm. down to the minimum. And I just, I started working again. I started working on my money. I started trying to build myself back up and just change.
What make sure that didn't happen again? Honestly, that's really what I was working to do to make sure that I didn't end up in that predicament again. .
Tiffany Grant: Gotcha. Okay. So as you were working through the bankruptcy and things like that, um, you down, you downsized to a smaller apartment, so you can make headway on all of those things, which I tell people all the time, like, don't feel like you have to stick with, you know, what you have or what you know.
If you're not making headway on your, um, your goals, um, it's okay to pull back. Sometimes it's okay to, and I like to use the analogy of a bow and arrow, right? So with a bow and arrow, sometimes you have to pull back in order to go further. So it sounds like. That's where you were at the time. You were like, you know what, I just need to pull back real quick.
Um, so that way I can recalibrate, get this stuff together and we're good. So now after you've worked through that, did you ever buy a house again? .
Nia Adams: So yes, I did. Cuz see, when I first foreclose, I had the wonderful id when I first was in danger, foreclosure, I had the wonderful idea like, okay, I'm just gonna stay here since I don't have a mortgage.
I'm gonna save my money and then I'll just buy a house cash. Because you know, I heard somebody say that and I'm like, oh, I'm wouldn't do that. But did I save any money? No. Or did I live my best life cuz I don't have a mortgage. I lived my best life cuz I don't have a mortgage. So that's why I had to make that final decision, like, okay, we're gonna downsize to a department.
Like sometimes you, like you say, you have to have that reset. So yes, I'm actually a real estate investor now, so , I'm actually a landlord now. So yes, I did buy more properties. I'm actually prepared to buy another property now, but it's because I changed the way I use. and I changed the way I think about money, um, which makes me not, I don't put it on a pedestal.
I just more so think of it as it's just another tool in my belt. It's just something else in my card that I use. To get where I'm trying to go. So yes, I actually, I did .
Tiffany Grant: Yay. And I love your story for that reason because it doesn't matter what life threw at you, , you were like, you know what? I'm gonna work through, I'm gonna get it right and now I can offer other people housing.
Um, you know that now you can rent out. So that's awesome. And so. Speaking of, I want to give our audience some quick tips on, cuz you have a book as well, um, about preparing your finances. So some quick tips on what people can do to pre prepare their finances for home ownership. Cuz it's way more than just having a good credit score, um, and having the income, there's a lot more to it.
So what are some quick tips that people can use to start preparing their finances for home ownership?
Nia Adams: So I actually have a free home buyer guy that teaches you five. And this is what I say, that every person should do. One, get an emergency fund. Um, this emergency fund is gonna have a savings, not just for down payment.
You wanna have money for closing costs, repairs, and replacements after you're in the home. Second, you wanna do your research. You wanna go through this process, feeling confident about it and being empowered as you purchase your first home. So you want to learn about the different type of loan products, so you'll have some type of knowledge and know what works well with you and your financial situation.
Next, you're gonna research your team. So you wanna pick your team. You're not just gonna pick somebody just because your friend used them, because your friend's finances looks different than your finances. So you're going to look and actually choose your team, stalk them online, do whatever you need to do so you can find out more about them before you work with them.
So you'll start this while you're preparing, as opposed to waiting. And when you start the process, then you wanna create a budget. , you have to see what you're currently working with, what's coming in, what's going out, and are you comfortable with what you currently have Now before you take on the expense of a home.
And then debt elimination. You wanna work to pay off debt, but you wanna pay off debt based on the highest claim on your paycheck. So if you're preparing your credit, you pay off debt differently than you pay off. When you're trying to work on buying a home, the more you pay off. So just to give us an example so that it's understood.
Think about it in the terms of you might have a credit card payment, you might have a car loan. If your car loan is close to being eliminated, you might wanna pay that off so that you have that lower payment. So when a lender looks at your money, they'll say, oh, okay. They have less things they're paying monthly, which will help you qualify for more home.
Tiffany Grant: Yes, yes. All of those tips, I could totally relate . Um, and I do have some stories around some of them, but um, with the last point, I'm glad you brought that up because the debt to income ratio is so important. Um, and that's what you're trying to help people work on. , um, when you're talking about that last tip, because I've seen people that had good credit and stuff like that, but their debt to income ratio was not good enough.
And so the lenders looking like, well, you barely make an ends meet with what you have. So I don't know about, you know, this whole mortgage situation. So I wanted to have Nia. , all of those tips up because it's way more important than just a credit score. And, um, just personally speaking, I'll just do one story, uh, with the first tip.
As soon as I closed on my house, got my key moved in, I was running a bath from my youngest son, and the bathroom flooded. And so, you know, when I was going through due diligence, okay, nobody's filling up the bathtub , you know, so there was no way we could have found that. But as soon as I moved in, closed, and so now it's my problem, I can't go back to the owner and say, oh, well the bathtub.
Flooded. You know, I like all of that's done with. And so the first night I had to get a plumber in here and if you've ever had to hire a plumber even for them to come out, it is not cheap . And so I had to do that the very first night. Now, if I didn't have any savings or anything, then guess what? How was that gonna get fixed?
And so I highly recommend, um, that all of these tips cuz they were so good. So if anybody was interested in getting this guide or finding out more about you, how could
Nia Adams: they do so? So you can actually do everything from our website, um, www.perspectiveschange.com. Um, and then you can find me on social media, Instagram and Facebook at Money Perspective.
Tiffany Grant: Okay. Can you say it one more time, um, just so I can make sure we got it? Cuz I, it broke up real bad for me. Uh, so I just wanna make sure we get it. Um, so just go from, where can we find,
Nia Adams: okay. So my website is www.perspectiveschange.com and then you can find me on Facebook and Instagram at Money Perspectives.
And then YouTube and TikTok Nia's perspective. Thank
Tiffany Grant: you. Thank you so much Nia. So if you all didn't catch that, I will have all of that in the show notes. So definitely check those out and thank you so much Nia, for being transparent and sharing your story with us here today because I'm sure it's gonna help someone that may be looking at that type of situation as we speak and so they know that there is like at the end of the tunnel.
So I appreciate you coming on sharing that with us and then also sharing those awesome home ownership tips.
Nia Adams: Oh, thank you for having me. I accept any opportunity to help people realize that they can be a homeowner. ,
Tiffany Grant: absolutely. Thank you so much and I hope you have a wonderful rest of your day. Bye.
Intro/Outro: Thank you for listening, joining and being a part of the Money Talk with TIP podcast this week.
You can check Tip Out every Thursday for a New Money Talk podcast, but if you just can't wait until next week, you can listen to previous podcast episodes at Money Talk with t.com or follow tiff on all social media platforms at Money Talk with T. Until next time, spend wise. Thing less than you make a word to the money-wise is always sufficient.
Build credit for success
Building credit is an essential part of success in life. Good credit can open doors to better job opportunities, loan approval, and lower interest rates. Unfortunately, many people are unaware of the importance of credit or how to build it.
Nia Adams, a financial coach, and single mother, was one of the many people who did not understand the importance of credit until it was too late. Growing up, Nia's mother was a single parent who worked hard to put food on the table and provide a roof over her three children. With no financial education, Nia could not figure out the importance of credit on her own.
When Nia was 23, she started working at the postal service and making good money. She heard others discussing buying a house and wanted to do the same. When she went to the bank to inquire about a loan, she was told she had no credit to qualify. She had no understanding of how credit worked or what it meant to have a good credit score.
Nia had already maxed out two credit cards that she had signed up for when she was 18. She had no idea that she was required to pay back the money with interest. This was a wake-up call for Nia and she realized the importance of building credit.
Building credit is a process that takes time and dedication. It is important to start establishing credit early in life. Paying bills on time and in full is a great way to start. Other good habits include paying off any debts, having a mix of credit types, and keeping credit card balances low.
In addition to building credit, it is important to monitor it. Checking credit reports regularly can help to identify any errors or unauthorized activity. It is also important to be aware of any changes in credit scores.
Building credit is an important part of success in life. It can open doors to better job opportunities, loan approval, and lower interest rates on loans. It is important to start building credit early, pay bills on time and in full, pay off debts, have a mix of credit types, and keep credit card balances low. Monitoring credit reports and scores is also essential. With dedication and commitment, anyone can build credit and achieve success.
Rebuild after setbacks
Unfortunately, life can throw us a curveball and set us back in our efforts to build credit and achieve success. Nia, a single mother, experienced this first-hand when she was denied a $200 credit card. This was an eye-opening moment for her, as she realized that she was not in control of her credit. She decided to take the challenge and work on repairing her credit. Nia purchased books to learn about credit and saving, as there was no Google or YouTube University at the time. After two years of hard work, she was pre-approved for a home loan and purchased her first house.
However, two months after purchasing her home, Nia experienced a setback. She slipped on ice and hurt her ankle, which required surgery and physical therapy. During this time, she was unable to work, and her mortgage payments went unpaid. After two years of waiting for workers’ compensation to kick in, Nia lost her house to foreclosure. She felt ashamed and lost, as she was now starting from ground zero.
Nia’s story is a reminder that life can throw us a curveball and set us back in our efforts to build credit and achieve success. It is important to keep pushing and not give up, even in the face of setbacks. With dedication and commitment, anyone can rebuild after setbacks and achieve success.
Pay off debt strategically
One important lesson from Nia’s story is that it is important to pay off debt strategically. Nia found herself in a tough spot after her foreclosure and had to start from scratch. She began working with secured credit cards and looked for an apartment, downsizing to a smaller place to save money. Nia also changed the way she thought about money, recognizing it as just another tool in her belt.
The first step in paying off debt strategically is to establish an emergency fund. This fund should include savings for a down payment, closing costs, repairs, and replacements. It is important to have money set aside for unexpected expenses that arise when owning a home. It is also important to do research and learn about different types of loan products to find the best one for your financial situation.
The next step is to research and choose a team. This team should include a real estate agent, lender, and attorney. It is important to choose the right team to ensure that you are making the best decisions for your financial situation. Finally, it is important to create a budget and understand what you are currently working with and what you can comfortably take on with the expense of a home.
In conclusion, Nia’s story is a reminder that it is important to pay off debt strategically. Establish an emergency fund, research, choose a team, and create a budget to ensure that you are making the best decisions for your financial situation. With dedication and commitment, anyone can rebuild after setbacks and achieve success.
Save money for emergencies
When it comes to saving money for emergencies, it is essential to have a plan. One of the best ways to do this is to establish an emergency fund. An emergency fund is a savings account specifically for unexpected expenses. It should have enough money to cover at least three to six months of living expenses, such as rent, utilities, and food. It is important to save money in this fund regularly, even if it is just a small amount. This will help ensure you have enough money to cover any unexpected costs.
It is also important to research and choose a team of professionals to help you. Researching the best mortgage rates and terms, as well as the best financial advisors and lenders, can help you make the best decisions for your financial situation. It is also important to choose a team of professionals to help you, such as a real estate agent, a financial advisor, and a mortgage broker. These professionals can provide valuable advice and guidance to help you make the best decisions for your financial future.
Finally, it is important to create a budget and stick to it. Creating a budget will help you to track your spending and identify areas where you can save money. It is important to remember that a budget should be flexible and allow you to make changes when necessary. It is also important to remember that it is okay to treat yourself occasionally as long as you still stick to your budget.
Nia’s story is a great example of how it is possible to save money for emergencies. She was able to pay off her credit card debt and establish an emergency fund. She also researched and chose a team of professionals to help her make the best decisions for her financial future. Finally, she created a budget and stuck to it, allowing her to save money for emergencies.