Best-selling children’s book author Ebony Rentas Beckford, is an advocate committed to closing the wealth gap in America, especially for communities of color. Ebony’s work is guided by the idea that early financial education is a key component of achieving financial independence as well as building economically prosperous communities. Her mission has led her to open Fin Lit Kids – a tool for parents to use to introduce their kids to money. Keep reading to learn more about Ebony’s latest venture.
Where are you originally from + what brought you to Hoboken?
EB: I was born and raised in the Bronx, New York, and have since lived in many different cities on the East Coast. My husband and I decided to leave New York City earlier this year due to the pandemic. We had initially planned to buy a house, but the market was so competitive that we decided to hold off on purchasing a home until buying activity slowed down. Having spent the summer of 2012 in Hoboken, we knew that it was the best place for us to go next. The parks, waterfront views, and activities for kids made moving back to Hoboken a no-brainer.
HG: Tell us all about Fin Lit Kids.
EB: Fin Lit Kids is a multimedia company that promotes financial literacy for kids ages 3-7 through fun and engaging games, books, activities, and content. Our mission is to close the wealth gap in America, especially for communities of color.
HG: What inspired you to start Fin Lit Kids?
EB: I was inspired to start Fin Lit Kids shortly after the release of my best-selling children’s book, Madison’s 1st Dollar. I had been approached by a few friends who purchased the book and thanked me for creating a tool for them to introduce their kids to money without a need for them to discuss their personal finances. They also shared that they were embarrassed to say that they were living paycheck to paycheck despite earning six-figure salaries due to their lack of financial education. This is when I knew that the problem was bigger than I imagined and something needed to be done.
HG: Why did you choose to combat economic inequality for POC?
EB: I wish I could say that I started out on this journey with the goal of combating economic inequality for people of color, but the truth is that wasn’t the original goal. The original goal was to leave behind a legacy rooted in financial stability for my daughter, Madison. After doing research and learning more about the impact that the racial wealth gap in America will have on communities of color, for example, the average black household will have a net worth of zero by 2053, I began to look at this as a catalyst to help bridge that gap.
HG: What are your goals for this year?
EB: I am really looking forward to meeting people in person at several of the pop-up events around Hoboken. Since my business was launched in the middle of COVID, I wasn’t able to connect with my customers in person. My goal for the remainder of this year is to connect with as many people as possible in person. As of now, I am scheduled to participate in the pop-up events at the Hoboken Museum and at the Artisan Market under the 14th Street Viaduct.
HG: What’s a typical day look like for you?
EB: A typical day for me is waking up at 5 AM, drinking water, working out, meditating, and reading until 7 AM. Then I start working on whatever projects demand my attention for the day. In addition to my businesses, I work a full-time job as a real estate tech professional, and I also care for Madison during the day. I’m a busy Mama!
HG: What has been the highlight in your career/life so far?
EB: Motherhood has been the highlight of both my personal and professional life. My daughter Madison has inspired me to heal, connect with my inner child, experience real, pure joy, and imagine a world better than the one I was brought into as a child. She has also inspired me to tap into my entrepreneurial spirit and build a company that I believe will make a significant impact on the world one day.
HG: What advice would you give to women who want to start their own business?
EB: The best business decision I made was to hire a therapist and a business coach to help me understand how my trauma was impacting my decisions both in my personal and professional life. By having the support of these professionals I was able to work through my fears, get clear on my goals, develop a strategic plan for my business, and execute on my ideas before my saboteur was able to interfere.
HG: What is your favorite restaurant in Hoboken?
HG: What do you love most about the area?
EB: I love the waterfront views, the parks, and all of the wonderful activities they have for families.
HG: What is your favorite thing to do in Hudson County?
EB: Arts & Crafts and Storytime at the Hoboken Museum with my daughter.
HG: What is your favorite outdoor place to spend time in Hoboken?
EB: I love Maxwell Place Park! My family enjoys having picnics there in the summer.
HG: Where do you go out with friends in the area?
EB: Pier 13. It’s a great family-friendly space to eat, drink, and enjoy the views.
HG: What is something you think needs to come to Hoboken or Jersey City?
EB: I’d like to see more food options. Maybe Chopt Salad Bar or a soul food restaurant.