Transcript EP 297 – Crawl Before You Ball: Break the Cycle of Generational Poverty with Buffie Purselle
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Dr. Taz: Financial literacy is a piece of overall health. So many of us make decisions, whether it’s the food we’re going to eat, how we’re going to exercise, who we’re going to associate with, and so much more when it comes to our money. Our money is driving many of those decisions. I also meet women all the time who’ve not thought about money, who have not planned for money, whether they’re married or they’re single, and kind of do the cloak and dagger thing when it comes to thinking about money.
Dr. Taz: Now, I love this interview with Buffie because she really just puts it out there. We don’t need to be scared about money, good or bad, it’s just there. It’s another thing. We’ve got to understand it just like you need to understand math, English, science, whatever it is that you’re doing out there in the world. So let’s own it, own financial literacy, understand it a little bit better. We’re all going to be better, our families are going to be better, and our communities as we master this very thing that many of us are afraid of.
Dr. Taz: Welcome back everyone. Welcome back to another episode of Superwoman Wellness, where our goal is to keep you super powered. And it’s not just us, it’s for our families and our communities and anyone whose lives we touch. And in that light, I am pleased to introduce you to my next guest. Super excited about this topic by the way, but I’d like you to meet Buffie Purselle. She’s an entrepreneur with over 20 years of experience in the financial field as the founder of Buffie LLC, her success derives from her professional and innate ability to demystify the daunting world of taxes, personal finance and small business management with skilled, practical, and sometimes sassy guidance with her clients.
Dr. Taz: She’s passionate about teaching financial literacy with her book and e-course Crawl Before You Ball. I love that title. She’s a true southern belle down the street from me, we’re literally probably like three blocks away and is most commonly recognized as a third generation tax practitioner from a family of tax pros. Oh boy. Buffie joined the ladies of Bravo’s Married to Medicine in their seventh season. She’s a nationally sought after tax expert and has been seen on HLN, CNN, and CNBC.
Dr. Taz: Welcome to the show, Buffie, so thrilled to have you here.
Buffie Purselle: Thanks for having me. I feel like I need to hire you as my publicist, as if you need another job.
Dr. Taz: Oh yes, exactly. Let me sign up for more stuff. I’m laughing because I have spent probably three or four hours today. I try to do all my finance and the financial part of my business world. I lump it into these few hours that I’ll spend maybe once a week or every other week. So I was doing that today. It is not my favorite thing to do.
Dr. Taz: In fact, when I did my personality testing, I remember this in high school, it said very clearly these are the different professions you can go into. Do not become an accountant. Do not go into anything that involves spreadsheets or numbers because it’s not your thing. And sure enough, here I am, I’ve had my business for almost 14 years and I’m embarrassed to say this, but I am just now, maybe in the last year and a half or so, getting comfortable with the spreadsheets and the numbers and the evaluations and the language and all this other stuff.
Dr. Taz: I’ve just had this deer in headlights approach to it and my husband’s made total fun of me. But finally it was something I was like, I’m going to master this. I’m going to figure this out. I don’t want to grow and want to grow my family in different ways and want to contribute to the world. I have a huge charitable heart. I can’t do that stuff and be scared of numbers. So that’s where I kind of kick myself.
Buffie Purselle: Don’t kick yourself. Everyone has their thing. I couldn’t do what you do. We’re all blessed in our own special ways and people like you keep people like me gainfully employed.
Dr. Taz: I love it. Well, how did you land in this world? How did you land in the world of financial literacy? Tell us a little bit about your personal story and we’ll go from there.
Buffie Purselle: Well, yeah, I come from a family of tax accountants. My grandmother started her first business as a tax practice years and years and years ago. And out of my grandmother’s 10 children, five of the kids went into the tax business. So my family, I had 10 tax practices in the state of Georgia. And so I grew up doing tax returns after school.
Dr. Taz: Play with your friends.
Buffie Purselle: No, I was doing tax returns. It’s a family business, you have to contribute. And I actually loved it and so when I went out to college, I was working at my uncle’s practice and decided I would start my own. And I was a little rich girl and left them and got a little hole in the wall office and have been loving it ever since.
Dr. Taz: Good for you. How long ago was that?
Buffie Purselle: Oh, 22 years ago.
Dr. Taz: Oh my gosh.
Buffie Purselle: My skin doesn’t look like that though.
Dr. Taz: No, not at all. So 22 years of helping people with their taxes, doing tax returns, talking about financial literacy, what are some of the trends and patterns that you see across the board? Some of the biggest mistakes that maybe we as women in particular make because that comes up over and over again.
Buffie Purselle: Trying to take care of everybody and not taking care of yourself. In my digital course, I ask students and 90% of my students happen to be women, what do you want? And they typically talk about what their family’s needs are and not exactly what they want. And it’s important to take time to think about what you want in life. If you’re the one making the money, you should have a say in what’s done with it.
Buffie Purselle: And it seems to be a really hard question for women to answer because we’re caretakers and we want to make sure everyone else is okay and when you do that, you cause these problems later where we make these bad purchases because we feel like we never get what we want and so you got a budget for what you want to.
Dr. Taz: Yeah, that’s so common in the medical community, right? Because there’s so much delayed gratification, it takes X number of years to get through and finally have a paycheck. So you see people make massive purchases and it may not be the best thing for them and then they’re in the cycle of constantly serving that purchase over and over again. I’ve seen that just in my own friend group.
Buffie Purselle: Oh sure. My husband’s a physician also, so I’ve seen it. Plus they don’t teach y’all anything about business in medical school and they should. So yeah.
Dr. Taz: Not at all. Well with financial, how would you define financial literacy? If you insisted that every school, medical school, college curriculum, if everyone took a course in financial literacy, what would be the three things they really needed to understand?
Buffie Purselle: Understanding credit, understanding how to balance a checkbook and understanding what needs and wants are.
Dr. Taz: And how do you differentiate between a need versus a want?
Buffie Purselle: Child, we could talk about this for three hours.
Dr. Taz: Help us.
Buffie Purselle: Right. It sounds like such a simple thing, but it’s not and a lot of people think that needs and wants differ per person and they don’t. It’s very simple. Needs are things that you have to have to live, to survive, like a roof over your head, water, clean water, food, clothing, not the latest fashions, but clothing. Not the latest bag, not the latest Louboutins, but just clothing as a utility to cover yourself so that you can go out in public, and wants are things that you desire. And when you think about it in that way, it’s very simple.
Buffie Purselle: I have a spreadsheet exercise that I have clients go through where they have to go through three months of their bank statements, three months credit card statements, three months cash receipts, and they have to categorize each purchase into a need or a want and people really have tough times doing that.
Dr. Taz: I can imagine that. I see that all the time. Now, do you think men or women or both have a harder time with financial literacy in general?
Buffie Purselle: I’m not going to say that I think… I think we all have trouble with financial literacy primarily because it’s not taught in schools and if you have parents who don’t have a good relationship with money who taught you, you go out to the world and you go to college and then you’re just given these credit cards and you screw up because nobody took the time to teach you.
Buffie Purselle: So I think we all have to learn about financial literacy. We all have to learn to change our relationship with money and we all have to learn that our financial literacy is intertwined with our mental health.
Dr. Taz: It definitely is and that’s the reason Buffie’s on the show guys, is because you’re probably wondering this is a health show, why is she here? But our financial health and our financial literacy is directly tied to our mental health, it’s tied to our physical health too because the choices we make are tied very much into how we feel about money and the amount of money that’s coming in that we’ve saved.
Dr. Taz: Our choices oftentimes are driven by our financial literacy and our financial health. So this is a really important topic and one that I think we all need to talk more about. Now on my end I will be 100% honest and say I see a lot of women that don’t think about money until it’s too late, until the massive trauma happens or there’s a catastrophe in the family.
Dr. Taz: They’re used to handing over their paycheck if they’re making money or they’re just not thinking about it, they’re not budgeting, they’re not spending all those other things. So this is a really, really important topic. I hope you guys are listening and taking notes because Buffie is here and she’s here to set us straight for sure.
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Dr. Taz: All right, Buffie, you wrote a book Crawl Before You Ball. What was the inspiration of that book? What was the motivation behind it? What were you hoping to get across?
Buffie Purselle: So my sister Courtney and her girlfriends would always ask me for loans.
Dr. Taz: Oh my gosh, I love it.
Buffie Purselle: And my sister worked, she was a manager in one of my tax practices, so I know she made a lot of money and her girlfriends are nurses, registered nurses, teachers, like decent careers and I’m like, why can’t y’all make ends meet? So I kidnapped them one weekend, had them come to Atlanta and hang out with me and I made them bring me the three months bank statements, cash receipts and all that and we went through the process and that was how Crawl Before You Ball began.
Buffie Purselle: And I’m happy to report that years later they’re all doing really well. It’s a tough process because I make you stand up in front of everyone and say what you’ve done to get yourself in the financial position that you’re in now. Kind of akin to the, “Hi, I’m Buffie,” like Alcoholics Anonymous, where you say, “Hi, I’m Buffie. I’m an alcoholic.”
Buffie Purselle: Well I make them say, “What happened was I got married and I thought that I should ball because my husband makes good money and I make good money and everyone’s looking at me and blah blah blah.” So you hear it out loud and then you hear how ridiculous it is and it facilitates a change.
Dr. Taz: I love that. And the book, I’m assuming you teach financial literacy, are there exercises that everyone has to go through? And I think there’s a course too. Tell us a little bit about that as well.
Buffie Purselle: We do everything from practicing mindfulness to practicing meditation so that you don’t make reactionary mistakes when bad financial things come up. If you think about it all too often, if you get some notice that you know haven’t paid some bill and you get some knee jerk reaction and you get some high interest loan to pay that bill off instead of taking a beat, breathing, calming down, getting somewhere quiet, getting centered and figuring out a plan to deal with this problem.
Buffie Purselle: We create most of the problems ourselves with these knee jerk reactions and not really taking time. But yes, anything from meditation to role playing, learning how to say no to family members, which is very hard, and friends.
Dr. Taz: That’s a big one. Like some of these families. What do you say to that? I’ve watched my poor husband, oh my gosh, I don’t think he’s going to listen because he sees Superwomen Wellness in it. But anyhow, the man has been run ragged and it’s hurt him with what the expectations are and what he feels like he has to do and I hear this from other people too, both men and women who feel like it’s their responsibility to hand out, especially if they’re the highest earning member of not just an immediate family, of an extended family, that is their responsibility to do certain things. How do you help redirect that?
Buffie Purselle: Yeah, I have a whole chapter and that’s called Codependent Poverty.
Dr. Taz: Explain that to us. When is that?
Buffie Purselle: Yeah, codependent poverty is when everybody in your family within your orbit has their hands out and there’s an expectation that because you’ve done well that you must take care of everyone. But that’s just simply not true. I think we think that we’re helping when we get the phone call that someone can’t pay their car payment this month and we pay it for them, or their power bill can’t be paid and we pay it for them. We’re not helping them, we’re enabling them to do something else and sometimes people need to hit rock bottom so that they can learn to change their relationship with money as well, and so I can relate to being a human ATM machine, which is what it sounds like your husband’s been doing for his family.
Buffie Purselle: My family was very much like that where I knew I was being groomed to be the next person that would be forced to take care of everyone. And I had to say no. I woke up one day and I learned that no is a complete sentence and I stopped getting invited to a lot of the family gatherings for a little while and my phone stopped ringing with people begging me for money but folks learn to stand on their own two feet and it’s hard, but you’ve got to do it because you’re really not helping them. You’re enabling them to keep getting into a mess.
Dr. Taz: And there’s some cultures where there’s that expectation.
Buffie Purselle: Oh yeah. I’m a black woman, so yes, a black woman who’s made all this money in the family, oh you going to take care of everybody?
Dr. Taz: All the males, right? The only male in an Indian family like-
Buffie Purselle: That’s the problem.
Dr. Taz: So it’s just like how do you do that without feeling like you morally or ethically hurt everybody?
Buffie Purselle: Give them a job. What I learned to do was I’m not going to loan you any money because we’re both going to be upset about that transaction. You’re going to resent me because I have the ability to give you the money and I’m going to be mad at you because I’m going to see you out on holiday in Hawaii in a couple months and I’m going to wonder why you haven’t paid me back.
Buffie Purselle: So it’s just best for you to earn the money. And so since you know I’m blessed to own a couple of businesses, I’ll say, you can come earn the money, You can come work.
Dr. Taz: Oh, I love that.
Buffie Purselle: And you can come earn the money and then I get a tax deduction for it. So I’m happy either way.
Dr. Taz: I like that. What a great solution to that. Well, sort of related, maybe not directly, you talked about generational poverty. Explain that to me. That is something very near and dear to my heart. Tell me what’s going on there and what is generational poverty? Can we break it?
Buffie Purselle: We definitely can break the cycle. Generational poverty is, like I kind of mentioned earlier, if your parents don’t have a good relationship with money, they’re not going to be able to give you a foundation to have a good relationship with money. And so if you grow up watching your parents struggle financially, having money sickness as I call it in the book, getting depressed and taking to the bed on the 1st and the 15th of every month and having no ability to just run the family, being depressed, chronically stressed about chasing a dollar, that happens to you later when you become an adult because it’s your normal. And so you think that life is about struggling and that it’s common that you should always be chasing a dollar and not be able to pay the bills if you’ve not witnessed that anywhere else or if no one else has taught you that.
Buffie Purselle: And so the cycle goes on. Every generation, the next generation is doing the same thing, even if you make more money. Because what happens is you’ll spend more because you think it’s normal to not have. It’s normal to not save. It’s normal to not constantly be stressed about money and we have to stop that and change that narrative because honestly a lot of people, they won’t articulate it this way, but they think that’s what life is. It’s like you’re supposed to be stressed about money all the time. And I’m like, no, I’m not. And that’s not just because I’ve done well financially I’ve had hard times as well, but it’s because I choose not to allow money to run my life. I run money. It’s the other way around.
Dr. Taz: I love that. So many people walk around that way though, right? Money runs their life. How do you rewire that? How do we change that? Are there three things we could do right now?
Buffie Purselle: I love you with the three things.
Dr. Taz: I know. I’m just like, give us an actionable item. We want to move on this.
Buffie Purselle: Like I said before, you have to say what happened, which is to state how you’ve gotten yourself in this financial situation. The next step is to have a come to Jesus moment with your family. Anybody, and if you’re not from the south, come to Jesus is like a family meeting where you have hope to have some epiphany. And so you have everybody for which you are financially responsible, be in this meeting and you say look, we have these goals and the only way we’re going to get to these goals, if we cut out all this craziness with the finances.
Buffie Purselle: And everybody signs an agreement, and even kids, because their little cute faces will jack you up every time. They’ll jack you up with those cute little faces and I don’t have kids of my own, but I have nephews who have always been in my pocket, but I put their butts on a Crawl Before You Ball plan.
Buffie Purselle: And then I would say the third thing is to forgive yourself for prior bad financial decisions because you can’t move forward if you stay in a perpetual place of blame.
Dr. Taz: Oh, I love that. Such great, great advice there. All right. I had to ask you this. You’ve done a lot, you’ve accomplished a lot. How do you balance it all? What’s your superpower?
Buffie Purselle: My superpower is empathy. I really believe that.
Dr. Taz: Empathy?
Buffie Purselle: I do. I’ve always had an innate connection with others. I can see people and I feel what they’re going through and I just believe that anyone at any income level, $20,000 a year to $20 million a year, you can have a fulfilling and happy life. And some people say you’re a lah-di-dah in the sky, pie in the sky. No, I really fundamentally believe that and I’ve witnessed it in my 20 years plus in practice.
Buffie Purselle: I’ve seen some of the happiest people in the world live in a double-wide trailer but their bills are paid and they are able to work and spend time with their family, which is what’s important to them. And I really care about others. I know people are like, ah, but it’s so true. I could cry.
Buffie Purselle: I give this speech to my clients all the time, and I know I may be out of time, but where I say that there are no boundaries in this world, those are like blocks that we build up in our own head and if you really believe in yourself, you can do anything because look at me. I’m a little brown girl from Georgia, and I’ve kicked ass and I’m proud of myself for that but ain’t nothing special about me other than my name.
Dr. Taz: Oh my gosh, your name, all of it, you’re incredible. And thank you for inspiring all of us to and do better when it comes to money to be financially literate. I have so many stories. I mean, I don’t want to waste too much time on all of them, but I’ve got to tell this one. I remember we had money sickness in our family. It was always a hue and a cry about all that stuff. And when I got out of residency and I got that first paycheck, I was in the ER and I was like, oh my God, I’ve never made money like this before and I think I went and I got a car and I got clothes that I always wanted to get and I got a bag or whatever else. And I guarantee you, I promise you this, it took nine months, and after nine months I was done. I was bored. It was no longer fulfilling.
Dr. Taz: And that’s where I was like, okay, I’m stable now. Let me think about what I really want to do. So it’s so important to realize that this is an artificial construct, right? We’ve got to own it. We’ve got to wrestle with it. We’ve got to realize it’s there, but it’s not really what’s blocking us or bringing us into our power. So thank you so much for joining.
Buffie Purselle: Thank you for sharing that story.
Dr. Taz: I love, I love everything you’re doing. How can folks connect with you? What’s the best way to find you, reach you, connect with you, all that other good stuff?
Dr. Taz: I’m going to find you on there. I love that. And then your book Crawl Before You Ball.
Buffie Purselle: You can get Crawl Before You Ball on Amazon. Thank you for reminding me.
Dr. Taz: I want that book. I’ve got a few cute faces too, that I need to set straight.
Buffie Purselle: It’s a great holiday gift. Get the book, give it to everyone in your life who’s constantly asking you for cash out requests.
Dr. Taz: There we go. I love it. Well, Buffie, it’s so nice to meet you and I hope I run into you around town here but thank you for taking time out today to join me and for everybody else watching and listening to this episode of Superwoman Wellness, don’t forget to rate and review it and share it with your friends. I will see you guys next time.