Alainta Alcin, a self-titled nine to five CEO, world traveler, and financial enthusiast, shares her inspiring story of increasing her net worth by 40% and becoming a homeowner; her powerful journey reveals the importance of gaining awareness, tracking money, and staying focused on a goal to create financial success. You will learn top tips and tricks to maximize your savings and conquer money management today!
Listen to the podcast
- How Alainta increased her net worth by 40% through eliminating consumer debt, investing, and becoming a homeowner.
- The importance of tracking and managing money for financial success.
- How writing down goals and trusting your instincts can lead to purchasing a home in a buyer’s market.
Welcome to the Real Estate Investor Goddesses Podcast. I’m your host, Monick Halm. On this show, I interview amazing badass women that are crushing it in the real estate investing or finance money space. And I am super excited today to have here with us, somebody who I really admire. Actually, I was on her podcast recently, Alainta Alcin, who is a fellow Haitian-American, and I was on her podcast of Financial Griot. And she’s the self titled nine to five CEO, world traveler, and financial enthusiast. She’s increased her net worth by 40% by eliminating consumer debt, investing, and becoming a homeowner.
Her story on going from less than 3000 in retirement savings to a positive net worth of over $100,000 is amazing. She’s been featured on CNBC and Bankrate media publication websites, gaining attraction on financial literacy tips and strategies. After a tough money conversation with a friend that changed her money trajectory, she is now on a million dollar path. After spending three years in South Korea and traveling Asia and Europe, she’s back home in the US now and that the world is never too far. She’s back to take on life challenges and teach others how to simply change her trajectory to earn the success you’ve worked for. Welcome.
Yay. Thank you, Monick. I’m so happy to be here. I love the fact how you say griot, like the real way, ‘griot’. You got to say it with the accent. You know, sometimes people like, “Griot? What’s that?”
It’s something delicious.
It’s always an explanation behind that story, but thank you so much for having me.
Yeah. Griot is a Haitian dish.
Yes, it’s a really delicious Haitian dish with deep fried pork. You have your fried plantains, you have your lettuce, you get rice. It’s so much a mixture you can do with griot, but it really tenderizes with the pork.
Griot is a deep fried pork and it’s good.
What made you come up with that name of Financial Griot?
Yeah, it was just really a play on words. Just coming up with my friends with Lawrence, the other co-host, as well as lovely Mardellas. And we’re just on Zoom just chatting like we’re doing right now. And we’re like, “Yeah, we’re going to do this podcast, what will be our name?” We’re like, it has finance, but we have to kind of connect it to our culture and the lineage, right?
So we’re trying to come up with all these things like financial Haiti or financially. We’re just trying to say all these things and just Lord just kind of threw it out there and said griot. We like griot. And we think of it like we were starting off saying Griot is the dish. It’s a Haitian dish. Famous dish, the deep fried pork and a turkey, if you will. But griot is actually, if you look it up, it’s a story. It’s an orator, right?
And during slavery time, we all used to come together and share our stories while we’re eating. And that’s how a lot of information was shared. That’s how a lot of things were passed around in terms of sharing information within those stories. And that’s really essential. What we do on the Financial Griot podcast, we share our stories, but within those stories, you kind of get this gym, what we call it. In these actionable steps to encourage you and inspire you to do better. And it’s all surrounded around, of course, money.
I love it. I love it. It’s a great show. You all have to check it out. So I know that homeowners should buying a house is a big part of shifting what happened with you financially. So I’ll go back even further because you went from $3,000 to over $100,000, and you also talked when I shared your bio, there was a very important conversation that you had that really shifted your trajectory. So tell us a backstory. What happened and how did you make that huge shift?
So I always thought it was this AHA moment. You know how Oprah Winfrey said these AHA moments, but I call it these nuggets that became a high moment all together collectively. So, traveling to South Korea, I taught English. Right after college, I decided to do the nomad for a few years.
And while there, I just gained a sense of trust in myself and to take on challenges. Because you are leaving the country. You’re born and raised in the US. I’m a Florida girl and just going to a different part of the world. That’s something totally different. And learning a new culture, learning the language, trying to get around. And what I noticed was with Korean culture and Asian culture specifically, is they really focus on education, but they really center around their children and their family, really deep rooted family values. And I see how much the parents and even the students I had at the time just valued and respected their parents and their family and really worked hard in terms of education to be the best no matter what it was, just try to strive and be the best. And I kind of took that in things. I was observing and saying that I have challenged myself now to embark on this new journey. What can I do better?
So I started writing these things down when I was in Korea and said, “I will need to get my money matters together.” And at the time, I had my friend Lawrence, when I was in Korea, he was still here in the US. We were college friends, and he was posting on Facebook, when Facebook used to be the thing. He was posting on Facebook, really being transparent about his net worth. And I think at the time, it was like negative 80,000, $100,000. I don’t know what it was. He had these massive student loans that he was accumulating, going off to Masters, trying to get his higher education and such. And he was just really being transparent about understanding how money works.
And while he was posting being transparent, it kind of inspired me to see how can I focus on myself while I was in South Korea to really work on my money management. Because the best thing being an English teacher while working abroad is a lot of your accommodations are covered in terms of expenses, like huge expenses. When it comes to housing, if you’re sponsored by the school or the government, they will give you a stipend, and that’s covered for the entire year. Usually, what you have to cover through your salary is like a phone bill, maybe water, lights, that sort of thing, whatever. But the huge accommodation for housing is mainly covered. And if you are a teacher, you get free lunches. That’s the great part about that, too. So morning lunches as well as… I’m sorry, morning breakfast as well as lunches were covered.
So I started really noticing how I have this great opportunity to optimize the money I was making. And quite honestly, it wasn’t as much it was what I was making in the US. But it was what you actually keep after all your expenses—
What you make that matter.
Yeah, exactly. After all your expenses are said and done, you’re paid like, “I had a lot of money.” And going back, just cross referencing to Lawrence and looking at what he was doing on social media, again, it encouraged me because I think at the time, I was preparing myself to become a better person. And I think that I wanted more control. And control for me was not only rooted myself to another country, challenging myself, but I need to step into those deep rooted issues when it comes to money like how did I fall into all these collections? How is my credit score just crashing 6500 right after graduating college? So I really started taking a lot of stock in my life. And this is like, what, 23, 24 years old before I was 25? And doing that, I start taking down just like to do list, my credit score starts happening like what is my credit score? How much collections that I had. I didn’t realize I had medical collections from high school. Where is this coming from? So those are things start to make me more aware of what was going on in my money.
So doing that and coming back from South Korea and just paying off just some small debt I was doing in South Korea, my collections, anything along those matters, it started really just putting that perspective and that I’ll say the fire in me. So traveling in different countries, meeting incredible people, coming back, reconnecting with Lawrence, reconnecting with my other friends, I’m like, “Hey, I like what you’re doing? I like how you being transparent.” So we went off to this conference together. I accompanied him. It wasn’t my conference. You kind of crashed like, “Hey, I have an extra bed if you want to come.” So it was one of those things, and we just had a great conversation at dinner to say, “What is your net worth?”
And being in South Korea, I was doing all these cool things and paying off some. I’m thinking I’m in control. No, I didn’t know what the net worth was. I thought like, “Well, I don’t know what credit Halm says. Maybe it’s negative.” And I kind of knew what the net worth was, but I was really ashamed to tell them, even though we were really cool and really close. I was really ashamed to tell them because there’s something about talking about money, and I think it’s a level of vulnerability that you have to shed and you have to show to people, because it shows that not only you’re irresponsible sometimes, it shows that you don’t have control. It shows that you’re irrational. And it shows that you’re fake. And that’s how I felt.
I felt like me, not having control of my money, me not being responsible, the big age that I was, I felt revealed. And it took me time to reflect on that conversation because I knew it was something that I had to change. And it took that conversation for me to realize to say that I know my net worth, and I’m going to be transparent, to share with others with my net worth. But I first have to acknowledge that with myself, that I had a negative $52,000 net worth, including student loans and other bills that I had. And I had to really take control and acknowledge, “Okay, this is what has happened. I know this now. What do you do, right?” Moving forward. And I think I start to just push forward and create a plan for myself.
First for me is eliminating consumer debt. I didn’t know I had a spending problem. I think a lot of people may write off, you know, spending problems and issues and say that it’s an income issue. And for me, writing things down and tracking my money, I wasn’t tracking me as much like, yeah, I’ll pay it off, paying off things. But once I start tracking and managing my money, I can honestly say it wasn’t an income problem. It was a spinning problem.
You know, this is what, 2014, 2016 or something like that, along those lines, making less than $50,000. As a single woman, I felt as though I just wasn’t making enough, because after the fact expenses and everything that was being paid, I had little to nothing in my name. And paying off credit cards, credit cards, that kind of recurring cycle where the same credit card that I paid off, I’m putting another $200, $300 on it the following month. And it kind of created a cycle where I am continuously being subjective, where I need my credit cards.
So eliminate consumer debt and kind of really pushing forward on how I can apply systems and practical steps to get me to a point where utilizing my 401(k), utilizing the things that are accessible to me to get me to that point, practical strategies and tips. And that’s what I did. And those things led me a few years later, to become a first time homeowner in 2020.
Wow, there’s so much there. That’s an incredible story. I heard the importance of awareness, just knowing the tracking, knowing where your money is going, the problem of the real issue being not just what you make, but what you keep. That makes a difference, though. Keeping in terms of your expenses, keeping in terms of I often think about that too, in terms of the taxes you pay, but keeping also in terms of not overspending, which is something that I suffered with. I had a good salary, and it was so easy to spend at all and be left with nothing at the end of the month. All of that is getting that awareness and tracking your money make such a big difference. So you went from this negative 52,000 to now over 100,000 net worth. Tell us a little bit about getting that first house.
So me, purchasing my first house was not only just satisfying. It was just everything all together, but the climate in itself, because it was in the height of 2020. This is the end of 2020 I purchased my home. And at that time here in Florida, they were purchasing homes like Hot Pockets. Some places were unseen, people were purchasing homes. But in the midst of that, I wasn’t discouraged because I was actually more motivated. I was historically just receiving these great rates that we never heard of in the entire US. History of housing markets. So I thought that, “Okay, if one house didn’t work out for me, then I could just continue looking at other homes.”
And I didn’t want to feel the need, like others in 2020, to rush into a home. But I always pray to God and I focus on what I need and say if it’s for me, then it’s for me. I was very specific what I needed to do, going through the pre approval process, knowing my budget, knowing the down payment while I’m going to retrieve a down payment form, as well as knowing how much I want to pay monthly. So I knew exactly what I wanted. And my real estate agent at the time, he said, “You’re like one of the easiest clients I ever had.” A woman that knows what she wants.
The goddess, right?
Yeah. I went through that process, and I will honestly say writing down things is so magical, I can’t stress that enough. There’s something in terms of writing things down the pen and paper. Maybe you’re restating it in your mind while you’re writing. I’m not sure of the connection there, but there is something magical of writing things down, because the same things that I wrote that I wanted my home, I got under $200,000 where I was getting my money. I wanted to close at a certain time. Everything I wrote down, I actually got. I want a house that was up to date, renovated. I received everything that I wanted, and I didn’t settle for something that I did not want. If it didn’t attract to me, if I didn’t feel it in my spirit, then I wasn’t going to do it right. And it was a buyer’s market at that time, so I didn’t feel the need to rush.
So I closed on my home in November. I’m sorry, end of October, 2020. I moved in in November. At that time, I was just so happy with the holidays, and I was in a new town house. I’m like, “Yeah!” I was just excited. And just for me, being a single woman, it wasn’t difficult, but I think I was relying too much of others ‘ opinions because you have some people saying, “Well, you’re not there yet. You don’t have kids, but what if your future husband has a house?” I’m like, “Well, he’s not here yet.” Let me focus on what I have control over.
So those things kind of got to me from time to time by kind of just my eyes was on the prize of getting a home, because I feel like at any point, especially when it comes to women in real estate, is that, honestly, there’s no lose situation when you own a home. You will always be a winner. Always be a winner. It has setbacks, of course, with financials and things that you have to renovate or have to buy. I get that, but there’s always winners when you own it. And I always thought that if I’m in a position where I own, then I’m always in a position where I have a home, a stable home, stable payments. I don’t have to worry about a landlord. I don’t have to worry about eviction or any of those things. So you’re in a position where it’s better for you in the long term than it’s not.
So with home ownership, it was a great time, but it came crashing down very fast too. I closed my home in November 2020. I got laid off in December of 2020, literally a month later before Christmas. I got laid off. Immediately, I was scared like, “What do I do? How can I move forward?” And again, I’m a writer at heart, but I think with me writing things down and me interpreting my feelings and trying to get things out is a way in astronomy, how I talk to God, how I talk to my angels, to kind of guide me. So after I soaped into anxiety and the grief like, “What the hell I’m going to do?” I released it, and I wasn’t sure well, not necessarily, I wasn’t sure. I didn’t know how it was going to happen, but I know for certain I was going to be okay.
The hardest part for me was getting the home. I got the home. No one can take away my home. I’m in the home. I’m in a stable environment that’s the minimum thing you need is a home. A lot of people are here just really struggling without proper home accommodations, and I’m blessed to say that I have a home. And those are the things I had to remind myself, yeah, go ahead.
You got your sister to move in, or your sister—
Yes, exactly. So it worked out.
Is there renting for me, so…
Exactly. It worked out perfectly because I actually felt that pretty fast. I got a job, I think less than 90 days or something. My sister moved in, so it worked out perfectly. And I think sometimes when you’re in the thick of things and you’re constantly looking so much into the negative, you’re not realizing the positive. And I’m a very just a firm thinker of thinking positive, even if you’re feeling unsure of the positive thinking. I try to really tap into the energy of thinking positive because my sister was scheduled to move in in a few months, and it just happened to be around the time I got a new job, making more money, actually. So it really worked out. But those are the just ups and downs when it comes to either home ownership or just life. And I think with a home, again, once again, it’s stable and it’s a place that no one can really take away from you. No matter what is going on outside of the world, you always have your house.
I’m going to ask you a question because I find that we learn so much more when things don’t go right and when they do. So when you’re talking about thinking about your financial journey, your investing journey, what would you say was your biggest mistake, and what did you learn from it?
Definitely when I was starting off getting my money management in order, paying off that I mentioned to you when I was in South Korea, I was playing off old collections. Like ten years old, I was still on my credit. Knowing what I know now, that money would have been used for something else. What I definitely know now, in terms of financial education and literacy, it would have definitely been used for something else. But again, it worked in my favor, but it’s something I would never suggest and advise. If it’s a collection over five years, do you really want to start over that track for collection? So that’s something I would definitely do over if I could.
And secondly, is not investing early enough just being scared when you think about home ownership. I mentioned to you I’ve been living alone for quite some time. I’m 33 years old now, so I’ve been a renter before I purchased my home, I’ve been a renter. If you want to close South Korea, you can. I guess I’ve been a renter for literally half my life. So that has to be 15 to less than 20 years being a renter from college up until now, just renting, renting, renting. And we don’t think about that time frame over a decade of renting, where we’re looking at a home, how time just moves so fast. And I think people, or young people per se, get afraid of making this huge investment of a home to say that, “What if this happened? What if that happened? What if I have to move?”
The average person typically stays in renting in the same place, especially if it’s a good price, right? It’s hard to find great rentals. If it’s an average of three to five years, some people stay longer. So the three to five years you could have been investing in your home. And I didn’t look at how fast time goes. It’s like you’re just paying off your mortgage, you’re paying off these things. And I look up, it’s like, “I’ve been a homeowner over two years now,” and I’m just like, “I wish I would invest sooner, knowing how easy it was for me, renting. It’s more responsibility. I’m not going to sit here and say it wasn’t. It’s more responsibility.” Of course, you have to have your P’s and Q’s in order and your documents. But if I took that same mindset that I have now and applied it to the time that I had before, I probably been two or three properties by now. But we don’t look at the time frame of that. And I’m just thinking that logic of that decade, I could have been a homeowner. But I think it’s just the fear, and a lot of people my age wasn’t doing it well.
When you know better, you do better.
You do better.
That’s a common answer to that question. I wish I’d gotten my biggest mistake was not my biggest spot when I hadn’t gotten in the game sooner. The flip sides, what are you most proud of?
I think I’m just most proud of my growth. Every year, I get better. Every year, I gain more enlightenment in perspective of my life. I’m just happy I’m able to connect with incredible people like you. I have a successful podcast, the Financial Griot, and just really sharing information, practical tips and strategies where people can position themselves and be more encouraged when it comes to money management. So I’m proud of that. I’m proud that I’m becoming the person that I always needed when I was younger.
I love that. And to what do you attribute your success?
I want to be Snoop Dogg right now and say to myself.
Well, what about yourself?
No, I’m not going to say that.
You can say that specifically about yourself.
I just want to thank myself, not specifically myself. I would say it takes a community I’m not going to say it’s solely myself because I took on the challenge, but it took people like Lawrence, like my best friend Holly, or Lovely, my co-host of The Financial Griot, it took their guidance and their perspective, my community and my network of people to help me and guide me. I think a lot of people, and I can speak for myself, I’m extremely ambitious. I was misguided. It’s a lot of things I could have done better, but just being misguided. And it took me to travel to different countries and live in different places and come back with a better mindset in wanting and desiring to be a better person. And I think I attracted a community who wanted better for themselves as well, who was doing better. So they helped me influence me to become the woman that I want to be. So they really inspired me every day in my family.
What do you wish you’d known at the beginning that you now know?
Oh, that’s a lot. It’s definitely just challenging fear, really tapping into fear and looking over the other side. I think for me, I was selling too much into fear and too much into what ifs if all these things gone wrong, what if I didn’t go to South Korea? What if I didn’t purchase this home? What if, what if, what if, what if? What if you don’t put enough energy into what if it does become successful? And it just took me a long time to get over fear, and I just wish that I had enough courage to get over it as soon as I could, because I think I waste a lot of time and energy thinking I wasn’t capable or I wasn’t good enough to do any of these things. I think a part of that is not seeing enough people that look like me or talk enough to me to say that you are able and you are capable. So for me, it’s definitely getting over the hump over fear, because on the other side of that is a better person. It’s better you.
All right, before we get into our famed end of Trinity questions, I want you to share what is the best way for people to connect with you, find out more about you and what you do?
Yes, absolutely. So they can connect with the Financial Griot. The Financial Griot podcast is on every podcast platform. Apple, Spotify. We’re even on YouTube. Yes. We’re on YouTube. No visuals yet, but you can definitely hear us. We’re on YouTube, but you can follow me on my personal IG handle @alainta_alcin and I’m on YouTube as well. My own personal brand of YouTube where I share strategies, tips and personal development. That’s something that I love and I love to share different things and different strategies to help people grow and evolve into a better person, because I know those things have helped me in the past and continuously to help me as well, because it’s more about money when you think about it. It’s about control. It’s about your habits and behavior. So I tap into that as well. So check me out on YouTube.
Awesome. All right, so now it’s time for our Trinity, which is a brag or gratitude and a desire. So what’s one thing you’re celebrating right now? What’s your brag?
My brag right now is we just been officially nominated, the Financial Griot. We’re semi-finalists on the Haitians Who Blog Creative Digital Award. So is being nominated for Podcasts of the Year, so I will be sharing that pretty soon so everyone can vote for us for Podcasts of the Year. So that’s something I’m super proud of because we’re a new podcast. I’m really happy that we’re being recognized.
So what’s the podcast again? What’s the platform again?
Oh, the platform is Haitians Who blog? It’s a digital content award. So, yeah, I just received the email yesterday, so I just…
Oh, well, bragged. And what’s one thing you’re grateful for?
I guess life in general. Every day I thank God, and I always say this is thank you, God in events, for whatever opportunities, wherever love that has opened for me, and whatever blessings that awaits me. So definitely just life. Think of God in events, grateful.
Beautiful. And last but not least, what’s one thing you desire?
One thing I desire. Hopefully, my boyfriend is listening to this. I’m not about to put them out like that. One thing I truly desire is having sharing my story and sharing my perspective on a bigger platform, maybe TEDx or anything along those lines and just speaking more and really putting myself out there. And I want a desire to reach more people and masses of people, not only that look like me, but people that are discouraged, people that don’t think they’re able and capable. And I hope my story and other stories be able to help them and encourage them that they are able and they’re deserving.
Wonderful. So shall your desire be, or so much better than you can imagine.
Welcome. Thank you so much for being here. You can connect with Alainta and it’s A-L-A-I-N-T-A, she’s on Instagram @alainta_alcin. The YouTube link, you can find the Financial Griot podcast and definitely check us out at REIgoddesses.com. There you can connect to all our social, my other events, our programs, our classes, our investor club, and definitely subscribe and like this podcast so you can never miss another amazing Real Estate Investor Goddesses podcast interview. So thank you. Bye-bye.
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