As a mother and one of Atlanta’s most prominent lawyers, Lerae Funderburg understands the struggles of balancing business and babies, as well as the challenge in finding affordable legal services. The Lawyer Mommy brand is committed to serving every woman facing these battles by providing DIY courses and free resources including brand protection guides and entity formation checklists. Lerae wants entrepreneurs to create financially viable businesses, while staying true to themselves. Funderburg Law provides legal services to help black and brown female entrepreneurs do just that.
What are the first 3 steps one should take to create generational wealth?
The first thing you want to do is make sure you are protected. You can’t monetize and grow wealth if you don’t have ownership of your assets, both tangible and intangible, and you must protect them. The goal is to protect yourself personally – by creating entities such as LLC’s or trusts so that you are not individually and personally liable for acts committed that could give rise to liability. You want to protect your business – by entering into legally sound contracts that protect your assets and provide for remedies for any acts of wrongdoings. And you want to protect your brand assets or creations by obtaining trademarks, copyrights and patents for your works.
The second thing you want to do is consult an estate planner. Most people think estate planning is reserved for the wealthy or elderly, but it’s equally important, if not more, for us. You work hard for what it is that you create and earn, so you should ensure it goes exactly where you want it to go if you die or become incapacitated. We shy away from talks of death and avoid estate planning at all costs, but we’re doing a disservice to ourselves and our loved ones by not being responsible for all that we’ve built when you are no longer able to continue building. Estate plans include wills, trusts, advanced medical directives, health care proxies, life insurance, etc.
The last thing I would say to do is consult a seasoned tax professional with a background in financial planning. Saving on taxes is huge and there are plenty of creative ways to ensure that the money you make or gift is taxed favorably (if at all).
Please share advice for those starting with barriers such as low credit scores and debt?
Debt is a reality for many of us. But it doesn’t have to be a barrier. Consult with credible credit repair services, it doesn’t take much time or effort to get your credit cleaned up. Talk to your creditors about different programs they have to help you clear up your debt. There are even agencies who will help you consolidate your debts into one payment and negotiate your debts on your behalf with the credit agencies so that you can pay it off easily. Also, be mindful of when your debts change hands; and, challenge debts that were purchased by new creditors, because oftentimes they are purchased in bulk and some steps were missed that result in a legally valid transfer. If the new debtor is unable to verify the debt by providing you with the correct documentation evidencing the transfer, you may be able to have it removed altogether. Don’t go into more debt. If you can’t afford to pay for something outright and it’s not a necessity, you don’t get it. Most importantly, make a plan and stick to it. Start cutting out some of the unnecessary things in your life. Do you really need cable? Or can you watch that show online? Are you even using your Netflix account? That gym membership you have, but never use – get rid of it. Just start to be more money conscious and have a better relationship with your money and you will start to see results.
What could someone do to break learned behaviors that counteract with building generational wealth?
I’m sure people could rattle off a lot of things that sound good as an answer to this question. But the truth is, you just have to do it. Once you’ve acknowledged the fact that these learned behaviors are there, then you know you can unlearn them, so that’s what you do. Make a conscious effort to do the opposite of what you would normally do until that becomes the norm. Be diligent and consistent. Educating yourself on financial literacy will help you stick to it because once you know better, you’ll do better.
How can readers make sure their children have a “generational wealth” mindset?
Get them started ASAP. We have this bad habit as parents of spoiling our children because we want to give them all the things we didn’t have as kids growing up. Just be smart about it, because we don’t want them to have no concept of the value of money and how hard you work to provide for them. Educate them from the start. Robert Kiyosaki has a kid’s book based on the principles he teaches in Rich Dad, Poor Dad. Expose them to books like that. Open a bank account for them that is actually for them so they can understand saving and spending. Instill in them the sense of earning as opposed to giving them everything.
Please share any closing thoughts, and how readers can work with you to begin this journey:
Thanks so much for allowing me to share with your audience. I think this topic is of utmost importance and should be discussed much more than it is, especially the estate planning aspect of it. If you’d like to learn more, I’d be happy to assist. I can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org You can also check out my website at www.funderburglaw.com or find me on Instagram @lawyermommylerae