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Who is Ms. Black?

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So, you already know.  I’m Ms. Black a single mom, homeowner, and public school educator in NYC. I own two properties and am one mortgage away from being totally debt-free. I love traveling the world with my family and have over $500,000 in my retirement accounts beyond my pension.

I am an NYC kid who attended public school from first to twelfth grade. I am the first on both sides of my family to graduate from college. I was given the opportunity to teach in NYC public schools right after college.

I was also given the best buddy teacher ever! Not only did she help me with lesson plans and classroom management, but she also put me on the right personal finance path. She MADE me sign up for the Board of Education Retirement (BERS) because I wasn’t eligible for the Teacher Retirement System (TRS). She also did my taxes for the first two years. Her best advice was, “Max your retirement savings because you have never made this much money before so live off of what is left.” It was another way of saying live beneath your means. At first, I blindly followed her advice but began to read personal finance books and attend finance workshops so I could have a better understanding of what to do with my money.  

Following that advice allowed me to purchase a Brooklyn Brownstone, an investment property, take bi-annual international trips with my family, and be on track to retire in 2030.

But, I have had missteps along the way. I’ve made purchases on my credit card for friends who promised to pay it, back but never did. Let family get cellphones with my social security number but then they stop paying the bill. I charged a 10-day vacation that took 3 years to pay off. There are probably others that I have mentally blocked.  

Having a buddy teacher that poured into me, basically investing in me, I have a responsibility and a desire to pay it forward.  The knowledge my buddy shared with me was so valuable, appreciated, and necessary, such that I now (and have for years) talk to everyone about money; especially new teachers. As a result, they have encouraged me to share my knowledge more broadly.

I started posting saving tips “Savings Sundays” on IG @stayingintheblk and then decided to start a podcast “Staying in the Black”

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