Dante Johnson | Financial Expert
On his introduction into finance:
I've been involved in finance my whole life. Growing up in Philly, I watched my father because he was an entrepreneur. He owned a bar in the city, so I worked alongside him during the summer months. Seeing his hustle and the money flow made me want to see how money circulated and how it worked. I wanted to learn what it would take to keep the money within our community and our family. I also wanted to learn the real understanding of what creating wealth really means.
On his finances in his early 20s:
In my early 20s, my finances were terrible. I used to hustle, so the money came in fast. I was getting into some good money, but I had the wrong mentality. I was able to get the money, but I didn't know what to do with it. All I wanted to do was party, buy clothes and take girls out, so my mindset was terrible. Now, after getting my MBA in finance and learning more about investments and stock, I've set myself up pretty good. But it takes a lot of time, effort and self-discipline. I'm okay now, but I'm nowhere I want to be. The plan I have set in place is going to take me to the next level.
On obtaining his Bachelor’s in Business Administration, Masters in Finance and his understanding of the cost of college:
With my undergrad experience, that was a blur to me. I did everything under the sun except learn what I needed to learn. I went to class, but I didn't have the mindset to obtain the knowledge that I needed to obtain while I was there. I was doing everything that I shouldn't have been doing. As of now, I'm currently enrolled in a PhD program. My MBA program was an executive program and I completed it in 18 months. It was hybrid courses, so I was taking classes online while having a full-time job. Going back to school with a different mindset allowed me to be more receptive of the information that I was hearing and implement it into my daily life. A lot of my financial knowledge came from me learning and teaching myself different things throughout my undergrad and graduate courses.
With the cost of college, you must utilize the internet. There are so many grants and scholarships that aren't presented to us physically, but they are out there for us. We just must search, find and apply for them. It's extra work, but these opportunities are out here, especially for minorities.
On real estate and the stock market:
If you have money to invest in some form of real estate, do it. They're not making any more land, so if you can get your piece, take advantage of it. You want to have your place in this world where you pay taxes and build at the same time.
The economy runs the market. How we spend our money determines which way the stock market will fluctuate. The names involved with some of these larger organizations determines which way the business will go. The hiring of a new CFO or CEO can ad value to an business organization which will improve its value on the market and vice versa.
Aside from finance, talk about your workout regime, hobbies and faith practice:
The gym is therapy for me. I block out the world in the gym. In high school and college, I played basketball, so I still hoop sometimes. I just started doing yoga and meditation which helps with staying calm and deep breathing. I also watch sports because I love competition. In terms of my faith, I'm a Muslim. I get a lot of my discipline and grounding from my faith practice. I pray 5 times a day, read, fast and work on my inner self.
The recent government shutdown revealed a gaping hole in the ceiling of the American citizen's savings accounts. What suggestions do you have for individuals who want to start saving but don’t know how to start?
We must pay ourselves first. Regardless if you have a job or you're an entrepreneur, you must set money aside to save. 10% is the rule of thumb. Your savings account should be for saving. You should not touch that money. Also, we must start living below our means. With everything going on with these designer companies, we can be slaves to the label brands. Everything doesn't have to be designer. These are concepts that we must obtain and practice.