MO.com is made possible by our friends at:
Xavier Epps spent nearly eight years with an investment banking firm before launching XNE Financial Advising, LLC and was responsible for preparation, collection, maintenance, and dissemination of financial analysis for the banking industry.
XNE Financial Advising, LLC provides individuals a simple and user-friendly financial plan that allocates future personal income towards expenses, savings, and debt repayment, which allows the arrangement of each budget to be personalized for each customer’s needs. XNE Financial provides small businesses cash-flow management through the utilization of financial budgets which allocates funding of business revenues towards operating expenses such as payroll, rent, utilities, marketing, taxation, and debt repayments.
MO: What are some of the biggest issues you see your clients facing and how can they be avoided or corrected?
Xavier: The biggest issues I’ve seen with individual clients, is the lack of understanding how to create a financial budget which can lead to debt problems, overspending, and reoccurrence of emergencies without adequate emergency savings. The main derivative of overspending has been Personal/Entertainment Spending which can be addressed by realistically budgeting around how much you know you want to spend (no need to trick yourself into thinking you’ll only going to need x amount each pay for this line item and know you’re going to spend more, just budget for that amount and work around it into the future). If your running into debt problems, call each creditor to set up reasonable payment arrangements based on YOUR true ability to pay (many just accept an agreement from a creditor because they’re working with them but if you know you can’t maintain that payment, ask for a lower payment amount until you’re able to pay more). The last big issue is constant unforeseen emergencies, which may require curbing overall spending or eliminating some monthly expenses to free up money to build an emergency fund at a faster pace.
MO: Where does your passion from finance come from?
Xavier: My passion for finance came from my time spent while working in Wall Street. After years of conducting research and applying micro- and macroeconomics to everyday life, it really inspired me to find a way to leverage it and help others financially. During my tenure with the investment banking firm, many individuals would inquire information regarding how to accumulate wealth for their family and future but needed a solid foundation to build from. After learning more about their overall financial lifestyle, I noticed some had debt issues, a few had tax problems, and a majority had unrealistic household budgets so, I thought to myself before I can move forward with assisting them to accumulate wealth I need to help them regain control of their home finances. My passion for finance grew enormously after assisting a handful of individuals to position themselves to begin building wealth through utilization of budgets, debts, and tax analysis. The small business aspect came into existence when my services were requested by a company to assist their business in the same manner I do for individuals. I then saw an opportunity to apply my Wall Street experience on a big scale to small businesses by treating and evaluating their financial standing as I would for publicly traded companies.
MO: What advice would you give to someone facing financial hardship who thinks that they can’t afford to save but would like to?
Xavier: The first thing to do if you’re facing financial hardship and think you can’t afford to save but would like to, is to STOP THINKING YOU CAN’T. Mentally placing a roadblock in front of an initiative or goal will make it just that more difficult to actually accomplish it. Once the negative thought is removed, begin thinking of positive ways to begin saving. Many low to median income earning individuals grossly overpay into Federal taxes (if you routinely receive a sizable Federal refund annually, you may be overpaying). Consult with a tax professional so you can only pay what would be required by year-end. Next, see if cost cutting initiatives will help; review the last two months of bank and credit card statements to spot any frivolous spending. Lastly, if the difficulty of saving is a derivative of income, consider teaming up with a relative or close friend to help split monthly household expenses.
MO: Why do you believe that the next credit bubble to burst will be student loans and how would that impact our economy? < —- Can we re-phrase this question, recent talks with industry experts has slightly altered my thinking, maybe you can use this “Why do you believe the student loan debts outstanding is detrimental for investors and students and how would that impact our economy”
Xavier: My reasoning behind the issues with student loans is due to the dismal economic growth (not enough of growth to support our growing population) and the overall ailing employment conditions in the U.S. As of today, there’s about one trillion dollars of student loan debt that’s outstanding and approximately 85 percent is subsidized or back by the Federal government ($850 billion) and these loans are securitized (asset-back securities) and sold to investors in the capital markets. Pivotal question is this, how long would the average investor buy these securities if the balances of federal student loans continue to grow at such a rapid pace (60+ percent in the last five years) but continue to receive relatively low returns on the investment (interest rates)? Despite the low risk these investments carry due to the backing of tangible assets, any small interruption in the capital markets (liquidity issues for example that was witnessed in 2008 & 2009) will require investors to rethink investing in such securities and cause the Federal government to step in to support them again. The higher cost of education isn’t helping the cause, we’ll get to a point where younger generations will hold out on sizable purchases (home, cars, electronics, etc…) that would help grow the economy due to the loans required to attend school. I’ve heard stories that this is affecting individuals today, unable to purchase because the lack of discretionary income due to student loan repayments.
MO: What advice would you give a high school student who wants to attend college but is fearful to take on such a large amount of debt in an uncertain economy?
Xavier: If you’re a high school student looking forward to attending college but are fearful to take on such a large amount of debt in any uncertain economy, SEARCH FOR SCHOLARSHIPS. There needs to be a larger emphasis placed on scholarships because I see so many public and private companies and organizations providing tuition assistance in the form of scholarships, it’s just that high school student’s delay applying for them to become a recipient of such award. High school students should be researching about which scholarships will best fit them in their sophomore year; begin fulfilling the scholarship requirements in their junior year and lastly sending the applications at the beginning of their senior year of high school. Summer and miscellaneous gigs will help offset the total cost of college which part of their earnings can be transferred to 529 savings plan administered by states. In today’s society, high school students who want to attend college would likely have to front the total cost of college but I hear more about parents with kids concerned about their debts and retirement than planning for their children’s future beyond secondary education, the later parents start investing for their children college expenses the more expensive it will be when it’s time to for their children to go to college.
MO: Can you talk a bit about your concept for a Financial Literacy Event for the Youth and what it would entail?
Xavier: We’re so excited at XNE Financial Advising, LLC about the roll-out of our annual Financial Literacy Event for the Youth and it will take place in the Metropolitan area of the District of Columbia. The event will provide children between the ages five and sixteen academic teachings about money, debts and taxes in a youthful manner (i.e. gaming style tutorials and hands-on interaction). The children will be placed in three distinctive groups based upon their age range which will allow us to focus on what we believe the group level of understanding of the various topics (not to difficulty and not to easy). The gaming style tutorials will include three separate themes: Retail (handling and counting money), Banking (comprehension of credit and debt) and Federal Tax Agencies (how and why taxes are collected). The event will include prizes, gift bags and food, we’ll also hold a Q&A at the end and reward three certificates of deposits to one child from each of the age groups that answers 3 questions correctly and then move to the final round by recapping what they’ve learned.