On the HGTV series Property Virgins, host Egypt Sherrod is known for giving lots of advice and a little tough love to first-time home buyers who haven’t a clue as to what they can afford or what makes for a good investment. The longtime radio personality and licensed real estate agent isn’t limiting her words of wisdom to just her clients; she wants everyone to know the importance of being financially literate and of passing that knowledge on to your children.
“We are not teaching our kids about wealth preservation. And that’s the key. You can make a great salary. You can save all the money you want. But if when you die, you’ve done no estate planning at all, you haven’t taught your kids how to manage their money, how to invest, how to make credit work to their advantage, then you’ve not done your job,” Sherrod says. “Instead of leaving our children legacies, we’re leaving our children debt–generation after generation, digging ourselves deeper in a hole.”
Sherrod goes on to note that most people don’t get an education in financial literacy, either at home or at school, although it’s one of the most important lessons of our lives: “We need to learn about estate planning, about creating a trust to protect our money, about insurance. Those are the things we need to learn–not just in college, they need to teach those things in high school. Honestly I can’t remember when I’ve ever used calculus, but what I have used is my credit. Why didn’t they teach us that in high school? We can’t depend on society to teach our children, so we have to do it ourselves. And it starts by us stepping up and saying, ‘Let me learn first.’”
For Sherrod, author of Keep Calm… It’s Just Real Estate, educating people about homeownership specifically, and personal finance in general, is a calling. It’s part of what she does through her nonprofit, the Egypt Cares Family Foundation, which is devoted to strengthening the family unit through workshops, community outreach programs, and scholarships around financial literacy, health awareness, higher education, and successful communication. “We provide resources to make the family structure financially sound. We teach them about wealth preservation and wealth management. We teach them about insurance and homeownership. About how yes, you can do it too and yes, there are programs that will help you,” she says.
Being on television affords Sherrod a platform most people only dream of, and she’s determined to use the opportunity to spread the message of wealth building. “I am really grateful that I can get up every day and do something that I love to do. It fulfills me, but I’m also serving a higher purpose. I’m investing in our future,” Sherrod says. “It brings me so much joy when I’m walking through the streets and the kids say, ‘Oh that’s Egypt,’ because you would think kids don’t care about real estate. But when they take notice, that means a lot. That is what I set out to do: reach the kids so they grow up understanding that owning your home is the way to go.”