North Philly woman uses her experience to teach others to build wealth

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PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — She paid off $169,000 in debt in less than two years. Now a North Philly native is teaching other women of color how to achieve financial independence and build assets.

Shaquana Watson-Harkness said a couple of years ago, her finances were in shambles.

"It seemed like I was doing well. But financially, I was just making a lot of poor decisions," she said. "For the most part, I was really emotionally overspending out of loneliness. And I got to a point where I was basically getting paid on a Friday, and by next Tuesday, I was broke."

After a New Year's resolution, Watson-Harkness decided to take a financial bootcamp.

"Once I did my first budget, about 20 months after that, I paid off $169,000 of debt," she said.

"Now, basically, I teach my clients, through my coaching program, my proven method of how I paid off that debt so that they can build generational wealth for themselves and for their families."

Watson said inequities like the gender pay gap and the racial wealth gap motivate her to focus on women of color.

She said two keys to building that generational wealth are investing and saving. She frequently gives away free tips and information on her instagram @dollars.makes.cents.