The Social Work Wealth Magazine - Fall 2023

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Your Social Work Wealth Conference "KEYNOTE SPEAKER"




It's also critical to be aware of our past, present, and future obligations because they might affect how we choose to proceed. For instance, striving to amass a large sum of money, such as $1,000,000, may necessitate giving up valuable time that could be used to fulfill our obligations and priorities. Likewise, emphasizing one aspect of our lives as the sole measure of success may uninten­ tionally result in the neglect of other crucial areas. For instance, when I consider past, present, and future obligations I think about events such as having an infant child while recognizing that I may want to (futuristically) raise this child as an adolescent in a single family home, in the suburbs of Chicago. That example has the potential for me to consider my past and some of the negative impacts I experienced being raised in the inner city, my present- recognizing my current obligations, and my future, encompassing my goals, prior­ ities and responsibilities.

Veronica: First, thank you for sharing examples of past influences that could affect thinking about cmTent and future circum­ stances. I also appreciate how you mentioned the importance of paying attention so we do not neglect other crucial areas in our lives. Building upon that, could you share your thoughts about how to expand our wealth dimensions? For example, many may only consider wealth from a financial perspective. What are your thoughts about this?


Tiffany: I think it is crucial to expand our understanding of wealth beyond its financial dimension. Wealth can encompass social, spiritual, and religious facets. Defining wealth is an extremely personal task. For example, I am the most wealthy when my entire life feels aligned. When my relationship with God is deeply centered and rooted, when my finances allow me to choose how I want to spend my time and energy, when my family is well... I am wealthy! You can embark on a more meaningful and holistic life journey by defining your unique definition of wealth and how ·t fits with your idea of success.

Veronica: It truly sounds like your definitions

and experiences with success and wealth are resonating with your soul and supporting you in a meaningful life journey. When you think about the future of social work and how to connect the dots between our social work identities, success, and wealth, what closing words of inspiration would you leave with our SWWM readers?

Tiffany: When thinking about the future of social work and connecting the dots, I would encourage social workers to redefine success on their own terms. Don't feel pressured to live up to the standards of success that have been imposed on you throughout your life. In a nutshell, we are often taught that money is aligned with success. It simply doesn't have to be. It can be. But it doesn't have to be. The Unorthodox definition of success could easily be defined as- having all that your soul needs to feel whole and show up as the best version

By: Olymphia O'Neale-White, DSW, LMSW & Ashlin Price, LMSW, CAC-AD An unacknowledged truth is that financial literacy is neglected in social work curricula, which affects the ability for social workers to achieve financial freedom. Financial strain can negatively influence the social, emotional, physical and mental aspects of the human experience, and social workers are no exception.

The broadened perspective of financial literacy among social workers encourages an environ­ ment meant for exploration and learning. Social workers are then able to expand their reach and more effectively combat financial strain with income building strategies.

Transforming the relationship social workers have with finances provides a foundation for informed decision-making, which cultivates a healthy connection with money and entrepre­ neurship. This insight also reinforces the action of professional advocacy, empowering social work professionals to negotiate equitable compensation in the job&1arket.

As clinicians and financial social workers, we crafted this article to support our fellow social work professionals in enhancing their financial knowledge through discussing the three types of income and exploring ways to enhance income potential. However, in sharing this writ­ ing, we extend the disclaimer that we are not financial advisors. Instead, we developed this content for educational purposes, which includes financial literacy topics and our �pe�al insigh!s. Keep in mind, to make the best financial decisions that suit I} your needs, it will be (jl � � important to conduct ,. "· in-depth study of II topics including forms of income, investment / options, and wealth-building strategies. In addition, you are encouraged to seek the advice of ,. a qualified financial 'E, advisor. The world of investing often involves varying levels of risk, including








forms of income, investment options, and wealth-building strategies. In addition, you are encouraged to seek the advice of a qualified financial advisor. The world of investing often involves varying levels of risk, including monetary losses. As a result, there is no guarantee of what your level of success or challenge may look like in making, saving, or investing money. Always remember to be strategic, make healthy financial decisions, and continuously enhance your knowledge.

The aim of the American Dream is for an individual to accumulate wealth that can be passed down from generation to generation. Over the past thirty years this aim has expand­ ed to the masses, and social workers have not been left untouched. In light of this new reality, masters level social workers express dissatisfaction with their average 50k pay (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2022), benefits packages, or overall financial circumstances. The phrase, we are in it for the outcome not the income, hits a little different when research shows mental health practitioners are more likely to engage in unhealthy financial behaviors and decision-making. Britt et al. (2015) identify such behaviors as including amassing significant debt that exceeds the individual's income parameters through practices including excessive spending. Fay (2023) further notes that on average, Americans tend to die in debt. However, this does not have to be the narrative for social workers. Enhancing your knowledge about various forms of income can curtail such outcomes and help to promote healthy financial decision-making and behaviors. As a result, this article will provide foundational information surrounding the different income streams and how to enhance your income potential as a social work professional. Let's begin with the three types of income streams: earned, passive, and portfolio.

Earned income is the money that you gain from employment. In other words, full-time, part-time, or side hustle opportunities all account for earned income because you are providing time in exchange for compensation.

This can look like your regular 9am - 5pm position, UberEats delivery, notary services, or contracted home studies. Earned income is the most common type of income whether you are working for yourself or someone else. We want our earned income to be reliable, responsible, and dependable to satisfy our basic needs and our dreams. Earned income can often seem static. In other words, it may remain the same for years with employers not accounting for changes in cost-of-living expenses and other economic shifts. As a result, it is critical to take charge and use your voice for self-advocacy to enhance your earned income. It is important to actively engage in ways to increase these earnings. For instance, if you are a business owner, this could look like offering a new service. If you are a full-time employee, this could look like negotiating a salary increase during annual evaluations or early on during the job offer process. To negotiate your salary and enhance your earned income, it is important to consider the following: 1) the average salary of your position, 2) trends of the market value regarding your work, and 3) your professional standing when compared to peers in the same role. Tools to find the average salary of your position, current market values and trends, or level of expertise can be easily accessed, and often for free! Tools may include Glassdoor,, Google, Linkedln, and the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Another source of information to empower you for salary negotiation is to review human resource policies for information regarding annual increases, bonuses, and incentives. Request this type of information routinely to help build your strategy for salary enhancement. Further, if you are onboarding for a new position, negotiate your salary and benefits early on. Keep in mind that negotiations may extend beyond monetary compensation. Depending on the agency, you may be able to negotiate your work hours, continuing education benefits, employer sponsored training, paid time off, job title, or clinical supervision. However, we must acknowledge that it may be uncomfortable for many social workers to navigate this space if you have never negotiated before. SOCIAL WORK WEALTH MAG/ZIN£


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Let's Talk About Finances

Veronica Hardy, PhD, LCSW, NCC

Easy Tips Towar(I Cultivating Financial Well-Being BY: LOUVENIA LOCKLEAR

In modern society, it is essential to recognize that the convergence of financial well-being and career satisfaction is not an elusive concept. As you contemplate this notion, consider your own financial standing. Is it in a state of equilibrium, or is a change required? Through a few nurturing steps, our financial situation can be transformed.

Significant transformative moments often reshape our perspectives, even if not immediately apparent. In Sep. 2020, I lost my full-time job due to downsizing. Until then, I had prioritized my employer's needs over my own. Surprisingly, I saw this as a pivotal moment that shifted my perspective.

This awakening was marked by the acknowledgment of latent talents and potential as well as the embrace of the idea that resources are plentiful and limitless. A fundamental epipha­ ny resulted from this viewpoint change: my success wasn't a finite pie, and someone else's success didn't lessen mine. An abundant attitude revealed that there was an endless supply of opportunities, contacts, and resources for me to succeed and experience financial well-being.

What transpired was a transformation that demonstrated the strength of choosing abundance and financial well-be­ ing over scarcity. I made the decision to pivot and change my story. I began submerging myself in information instead of giving in to the scarcity mindset that frequently comes along with such rapid and unexpected shifts. Books were my friends, teachers became my mentors, and uncharted regions of self-discovery served as my fruitful ground. I ventured outside of my comfort zone, took a leap of faith, and started a business-something I had planned to do for years but kept putting off due to apprehensions.

What are 3 tips toward cultivating a path toward financial well-being?



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