Financial Empowerment: Wise Advice Highlights Mavericks’ Latest HUDDLE

The latest edition of the Mavericks’ HUDDLE was designed to help people who are just starting their journey on the financial roadmap.

Or those who got lost along the way.

What he provided was so much more than that, providing terrific advice to just about anyone, no matter what economic path you are in.

Wednesday’s hour-long virtual event benefited from the wonderful wisdom of a strong group of community leaders and business experts who spoke during the session – Financial Empowerment: Closing the Wealth Gap.

Mavericks partner with online banking leader Chime, the team’s jersey sponsor, to produce this version of HUDDLE. The group, expertly facilitated by Yahoo Finance presenter Akiko Fujita, stressed that getting ahead financially requires sacrifices, but also a lot of common sense.

“The # 1 thing (for younger kids) is learning to live within your means,” said Roland G. Parrish, CEO of Parrish Restaurants. “If you are able to find a good job, stay with your parents for a year, then the next year you will have enough money to get a house or a vehicle.

“Live under your means.”

To which, Fujita said, “This is advice we can all follow.”

Joining Parrish and Fujita on the panel were Chime’s Marketing Director, Melissa Alvarado, Vice President of Government Affairs and Public Policy at Dallas Area Habitat For Humanity Joli Robinson, Executive Director of Way Back Home Robert Manley and Michael Finley, Vice -President of Basketball Mavericks and one of the founding members of the HUDDLE Board of Directors.

The HUDDLE is an initiative of Mavs Take Action! It means honesty, unity, diversity, dialogue, listening, equality.

It was the sixth episode and, like the previous five, a heated conversation.

And more. The Mavericks and Chime have announced that they will donate $ 80,000 to five organizations in North Texas that work to provide financial empowerment programs and support:

Greater Dallas Habitat for Humanity, Way Back House, Lone Star Justice Alliance, Oasis Center, and Dallas County Promise.

This financial investment is impressive, but Wednesday’s advice was invaluable, so to speak.

“Save money. Forget you have it,” was Alvarado’s key point. “The first thing for financial health is to make sure you have that emergency fund.

“And take simple steps. It can seem incredibly overwhelming. If you don’t have an emergency fund, start one. It can be overwhelming if we try to solve everything at the same time. Progress is important, but we will not solve everything overnight. “

Alvarado said Chime is doing its part to ensure that individuals of all creditworthy categories are better off financially.

One of the best advice she could offer was to be aware of predatory lenders – like payday loans.

“We offer free overdrafts (protection) to our customers,” Alvarado said. “The first thing people worry about is not knowing how they’re going to get to payday.

“And they are worried about overdrafts.”

She used the example of a $ 3 cup of coffee turning into a $ 38 cup of coffee if paid for with insufficient funds. Chime is working with customers to eliminate this.

Robinson wholeheartedly endorsed this financial strategy.

“The starting line is different for different families with debt-to-income ratio, credit scores (and more),” she said. “Predatory loans – I’ve heard them called quicksand. These lending practices generally target low-income people. “

Manley’s organization helps citizens re-enter society after being incarcerated. It’s a tough reboot for anyone and Manley said employers and owners alike need to fight the temptation that there are prejudices inherent in these situations.

“Once the employer or owner finds out about the background of the individual, they set up a stigma and that also applies to those who are minorities,” Manley said. “It is therefore extremely difficult to find accommodation. This is where Way Back works with employers and landlords to find accommodation. These are the two most important elements, housing and employment. They must take place quickly so that they stabilize and save money. “

He said the average salary of people incarcerated but returning to the workforce can also be much lower. “There is a huge gap, which makes the problem worse,” he said. “When the average annual (salary) is $ 20 an hour and most of our employees make $ 10 an hour. So I would challenge owners and employers to give those with a background – they say they are background-friendly, but they’re not – to give them opportunities.

Robinson said two areas of concern come to the fore when it comes to helping people through Habitat for Humanity.

One is simply being able to go about the day-to-day affairs of life without getting nickeled.

For example: “On Friday, if you go to a business and cash your check, they take a percentage of your check for you to cash it there – instead of being able to go to a bank, maybe set up a margin. credit. and have a bank account in your name so that your check can be deposited without these fees. This means your take home pay is not what it should be. “

What about advice for young people trying to gain a foothold financially?

“I wish someone had told me on the first day of college that you don’t have to get a credit card,” she said. “Be aware of your expenses. Credit cards can be a problem for years. “

Finley rose through the ranks of his childhood in Chicago to become an NBA star. But he never forgot his financial roots.

And he’s trying to pass that wisdom on to this generation of NBA players.

“I talk to a lot of young people,” Finley said. “And I always tell them: hide now, so you can flash later.”

“And that also goes for non-NBA players.”

It is sometimes difficult for young people to accept. Putting the shiny new set of wheels ahead of the mortgage payment is a recipe for financial hardship.

For more information or to watch a rehearsal of The HUDDLE, visit:

The Huddle – The official home of the Dallas Mavericks (

Twitter: @ESefko

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