Millennial CEO Latasha Kinnard Speaks To College Grads On Coping With Student Loans

Here are five smart ways new grads can reduce the burden of student loan debt

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(Image: Latasha Kinnard)

Latasha Kinnard started investing at age 19, after listening to a personal finance presentation. She was astounded at the difference five years could make in the investment world. Instead of waiting, she jumped head first into investing and the options were either sink or swim. Fortunately, she swam. Partly due to the success of her investments and financial discipline, “Tasha” was able to leave her job at a Fortune 500 company to grow and develop her business. Reared on the South Side of Chicago, Tasha attended Washington University in St. Louis and is deeply passionate about lifting others to new financial possibilities.

As the CEO of Start Young Financial Group, based in Atlanta, her vision is to eradicate the wealth gap and reduce poverty in America and ultimately around the world. Her client profile strongly consists of young black professionals or “millennials”, especially those from economically disadvantaged backgrounds. The purpose of Kinnard’s Young Black Millionaire Movement is to encourage young adults to be more money conscious and financially literate. “It’s imperative that we understand our ancestors sacrificed so that we could have educational opportunities, but also so that we could advance economically. Our communities are depending on our ability to build and I refuse to watch my generation live below their financial potential. Not on my watch.” We’ve asked Tasha (@TashaTheBuilder) to share five smart ways that new college grads can reduce the burden of student loan debt:

1. Don’t let student loans stress you out: Your financial journey is about you and your financial well-being. You are the one that matters in this scenario. While it is important for you to take ownership of your financial situation and honor your commitments, the first priority is to create a secure foundation that you can build on. Not to pay Sallie Mae. Trust me, she’s good.

[Related: The Big Career Mistake That’s Causing Recent Grads to Miss Out on Income]

2. Have a realistic strategy: Sometimes, fear, guilt, and anxiety prevent us from dealing with student loan debt head on. Most graduates do not even know how much they owe in total. By ignoring your debt, you are exacerbating the problem. On the other hand, when you create a strategy that focuses on what you are realistically able to do, you empower yourself to move your finances in the right direction.

3. Ask for money. Yes, I said it. For birthdays, special occasions, and holidays like Christmas, don’t opt for cute gifts… ask for cash. It might seem culturally taboo but I promise that it is a win-win for everyone involved. Simply inform your loved ones that you would like cash instead to help pay down your student loans more quickly. Usually, the people you love are happy to help and happy that they don’t have to find you a gift.

4. Hustle while you work: Considering that we are combatting student loans, credit card debt, and high rates of unemployment, it is not surprising that millennials must hustle just to stay ahead. I recommend that you consider monetizing your passion as a side job or consider alternatives that allow you to make money such as providing transportation services, running errands, or even tutoring.

5. Don’t take on more debt: Don’t you dare take on more debt. This means cars, clothes, homes, and everything else. This is only going to add to your financial burden unless you have first-class counseling, which is not widely available for millennials. I know it seems like debt is so normal, but I do not have a single client that has ever regretted NOT taking on more debt. There are extenuating circumstances, but be on high alert. Start Young Financial ( is forging forward with its movement to raise financial awareness, increase financial literacy, and decrease the wealth gap. “My generation will not only have a seat at the table, we will also have our very own.” Stay connected with Latasha Kinnard through Twitter: @tashathebuilder and Facebook:

Roz A. Gee (@RozAGee) consults as The Brand Empowerment Agentâ„¢ and Media Match Mavenâ„¢ of The Rated Gee Agency ( with service sectors in Media Relations, Brand Identity and Development, Brand Messaging and Speaking & Training. Roz has masterfully mixed over 20 years of cumulative experience and has worked professionally for industry titans such as General Electric, AT&T, AOL, IBM, SAP/Sybase and Northrop Grumman. Schedule for a complimentary analysis at, Facebook:

  • Kev Farris

    I luv it! You need to keep her around for future articles she’s smart and can relate to all age groups!!!!

    • So glad you enjoyed the article, @kevfarris:disqus . And thank you for the vote of confidence in my work and its ability to reach all age groups.

  • Stokes64

    Excellent article! All college graduates should read this

  • awarrior

    Hi Tasha, This is Raphael. I enjoyed the article and especially the tips that are of such value to our next generation. Keep the videos coming, they are informational and inspirational. Keep up the great work si-Star. Your star is just beginning to shine. #TeamTashaTheBuilder

    • Hi @awarrior:disqus! Thank you for such kind words. I will stand in agreement with your comments. I can only hope that I am beginning to shine. In the mean time, I will continue to inspire the next generation… MY generation! 🙂

  • Marquisha Lawrence

    Excellent article to match the excellence that Latasha Kinnard provides to her clients and the broader community! Check out her Youtube Channel for Start Young Financial Group TV:!

    Great work! I look forward to seeing more of Latasha Kinnard. She’s the generation’s next financial guru!

    • @marquisha_lawrence:disqus thank you so much for sharing. People are going to think I have you on payroll.

      Thanks for your vote of confidence. I do hope that I can be a voice for Millennials as a financial guru. 🙂

  • Lavita Board

    Great information for millennials as well as ALL age groups! Following the Start Young Financial movement!

    • Hi @Lavita thank you so much for commenting. Please do join the movement and don’t hesitate to plug in. I love being personally connected to the members of my community. 🙂

  • Great tips!

  • Aisha Martin

    Awesome post!! Great information for millennials, too. Hope to see more posts from you!!

    • @aisha_martin:disqus thank you! I am so glad that you enjoyed this post. And you know what, I hope you see more posts from me too!! 😉

  • Mia

    Good stuff!!!! Thank you for sharing!

  • Jamie Robinson

    Great tips! Relevant and doable.

    • Hi @disqus_DBxXjvmkOw:disqus! That is exactly what I was going for. So glad that I hit the mark. thank you for commenting. 🙂

  • Angelica

    Amazing and wonderful to see a young woman of our people and generation not letting the system, our society, and culture make her one of their models. And so thankful she is giving back and not leaving us behind! We need more like her! She is an inspiration to us all. Thank you Black Enterprise for choosing her!!

    • Thank you @Angelica! It is my goal to be a real and authentic voice for the people of our generation. Especially people of color. There is too much at stake to be less than real or to sugar coat the truth.

  • These are really great tips! I like the asking for money from family members part. You can even save up the cash within a month and pay down on student loans or invest it. Great article!

    • Thanks for commenting @visionarystationery:disqus. I was actually wondering how people would feel about that part. 🙂 Glad to know that you are on board with that particular strategy. It really does work and makes life easier for everyone involved.

  • B Eneas

    This is excellent! So glad Black Enterprise decided to feature this noteworthy article.

    • @beneas:disqus thank YOU for the vote of confidence and for highlighting this article as noteworthy. I certainly hope that millions of young adults struggling with student loan debt will agree!

  • Kysha Mitchell

    Great article! Financial literacy is not something generally taught to our children by parents or the schools. Thank you Latasha and Black Enterprise for making this a priority. I’ll share this with my community millennials 😉

    • @kyshamitchell:disqus financial literacy is certainly ignored all too often. Thank you for sharing this with your community and I will do my best to continue to bring this topic to the forefront.

  • Tanay Abrams

    Awesome article! Great to have an example to follow and simple (but often unthought of) tips to incorporate. Thanks Tasha!

  • DaJuan Savage

    Awesome article. More kids need to be schooled on financial education.

  • Terrance SetepenRa Wilson

    This is an awesome article that every college grad should read, i know that i could have benefited from the valuable insight offered in this article. This is one that i will most definitely bookmark and share every chance i get. Thank you Black Enterprise for being consistent with sharing valuable content!

    • Thank you @terrancesetepenrawilson:disqus! Black Enterprise is definitely a great place to come and get relevant information. I hope to make personal finance for Millennials a constant point of focus. We need it. 🙂

  • Ida Marshall

    This is an Awesome article !!!

  • Monica Cobb

    Great article. Please keep sharing these valuable tips. Nobody should want to be in debt abd I welcome any suggestions and advice to stay out of it.

    • Thank you @monica_cobb:disqus! I will certainly continue sharing tips and tricks for young adults to achieve financial freedom.

  • Octavious Crapp

    Awesome article! Thanks for the info!

  • Who says we need to worry about today’s young people? Latasha gives me reason to be optimistic about the future. With brilliant minds like hers the future is looking pretty bright despite what you may see in the media. Keep up the good work Latasha I have a feeling you are going to make a powerful positive impact on young people everywhere. You’ve inspired me and I’m an old baby boomer!

    • Wow, @coachmichaeltaylor:disqus! Thank you for such a kind compliment. I really do appreciate it as it is my goal to inspire and uplift.

  • Who says we need to worry about today’s young people? Latasha gives me reason to be optimistic about the future. With brilliant minds like hers the future is looking pretty bright despite what you may see in the media. Keep up the good work Latasha I have a feeling you are going to make a powerful positive impact on young people everywhere. You’ve inspired me and I’m an old baby boomer!

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  • LaLa LaKeisha Troy

    Great article! I graduated a week ago and I instantly became overwhelmed with the amount of money I owe in student loans. I agree that asking for money is a great idea. I requested monetary gifts for graduation. To my surprise, my mom gave me a blank check and my friends and family all sent more money than what they would have spent on a gift. Great tip! Please keep sharing!

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