Native New Orleanian Kemberley Washington is Up Next—finding her place and making her name in the world of personal finance. Kemberley has contributed content to many media outlets as a personal finance expert, including FoxBusiness.com, Bankrate.com, Yahoo Finance, Jet Magazine, Smart Asset, TheStreet.com and many more. She writes a personal finance blog at Kemberley.com and appears on various television and radio stations sharing her special brand of personal finance advice.
A certified public accountant, Kemberley is the creator of the B.A.D.G.E.® plan, a personal finance educational curriculum, and the author of The Ten Commandments to a Financial Healing. She is as a professor at Dillard University and previously worked as a criminal investigator and revenue agent for the Internal Revenue Service.
Kemberley serves as a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) Financial Literacy Commission.
Q: Your financial columns are always so timely. How and why did you start giving financial advice? What was it you saw in the way people were dealing with their personal finances that made you decide this was something you needed to do?
A: I love writing and teaching about personal finance. I started giving financial advice after experiencing my own financial mishaps in college.
Q: So you haven’t always been prudent with your own finances. What was your wake-up call?
A: I recall arriving at Southern University and A&M College in Baton Rouge and being greeted by several credit card offers. I signed my name on the dotted lines. After getting into a little trouble, I realized I needed a financial healing and decided to learn as much as I could about finances.
Q: Who were your inspirations/role models? And why?
A: Definitely, my mother and father. My mother is an educator with more than 30 years experience. She has always stressed the importance of education. My father is a business owner. He has operated his business, Hewitt-Washington & Associates, with his business partner for more than 30 years as well.
I always like to say I am a mixture of the two – an educator and entrepreneur.
Q: We notice that your financial advice also has spiritual undertones. Why is including your faith so important to what you do?
A: God is important to me – very important. I know for a fact I would not be here today without HIM! This is why I always include Him in all that I do. It is kind of interesting, to say the least. I always wanted to become an Internal Revenue Service (IRS) criminal investigator. In college, I prayed a prayer asking God for what I would have called my dream job. And God did bless me with the opportunity; but after getting that job, I realized that it wasn’t my calling. I then began to surrender and ask Him what He would have me to do. If I had not asked a simple question to HIM, I would not have had the opportunity to write my books, teach personal finance courses, appear on the news, teach at Dillard University or do what I love for Kemberley.com. This is why I stress the importance of connecting with Him.
Q: As a college professor, you interact with a lot of young people on a regular basis. What advice do you have for the 18-24 crowd to start them in the right direction when it comes to money matters?
A: Start investing now! I would encourage any young person to start saving and investing at a young age. Time will wait for no one. The sooner the better!
Q: You’ve written a few books about financial healing and inspired living. What was the process of writing those books like? Do you have a favorite?
A: I learned a lot while writing my first book, 21 Days of Powerful Breakthroughs. This process helped me with writing my other books, such as The Ten Commandments to a Financial Healing. Writing takes dedication and discipline. There is not one day I do not write something. On a daily basis, I start my day not only with prayer but with writing. Actually, this is how my first book came about. I felt I needed a powerful breakthrough from God; as such, I went on a 21-day fast. So each day, I would write passages to encourage myself. After sharing these passages with friends and family members, I knew God was instructing me to share them in a book – so I did. A few years later, this book has received more than 100,000 downloads on the YouVersion Bible App. I am grateful I was sensitive to God’s calling on my life. It has definitely paved the way for my second book – The Ten Commandments to a Financial Healing, which has been well received by many. As far as a favorite – I like them all! Here is why. Each book I have written, I have simply written for me! It really was designed to help me first, but I am grateful my books have helped so many. If I really had to choose, I would say 21 Days of Powerful Breakthroughs is my favorite because I read a section each morning.
Q: We’re in the middle of tax season. If you could give a taxpayer who is expecting a big refund one piece of advice on how to best use that money, what would it be?
A: Use wisely – be a blessing, save, reduce debt and invest!
Q: What was the last thing that you splurged on and why?
A: Don’t laugh – but honestly – if you would have asked me this a few years ago, the list may be quite long. But these days I try to use caution before I spend because I never want to go back to my past financial mistakes. So the only thing I can say I splurged on recently was an extra drink at my favorite coffee shop – if that even counts!