When Quienna Davis started her credit repair business, AmpleLife Strategies, in October 2019, it didn’t take long to figure out its mission, which she views as helping people build a positive relationship with money, by changing how they handle it.
“We really break down how you feel about bills, about financial decisions – are they getting you where you’re trying to go? If not, it’s time to take an honest look,” Davis said. “I’m letting them know, ‘I’ve been here, done that,’ and there is so much more freedom and prosperity on the other side, if you just make some different decisions. That’s what I push my clients to do.”
It’s a philosophy that comes from seeing how African-American households deal with money, which is often a nerve-wracking experience, Davis notes. “A lot of times, in our community, the first exposure to money is seeing parents stressed about a bill in the mail, or a bill collector calling. You walk right into the financial trauma of, ‘Oh, no, my bills are due,’ because you didn’t start with a strong foundation, and have a positive relationship with money.”
“This Is Not Working”
Davis knows the feeling well, as a young mother who gave birth to her first child, six months before turning 16 – followed by four more throughout her twenties. In that time, she dealt with all the pitfalls that accompany poor credit, from “buy here, pay here” car deals, to piling up credit card debt, and poor housing situations.
Eventually, Davis and the man she married moved in 2010 from Benton Harbor, to Atlanta, GA, hoping for a new beginning there. “Our credit was so shot, that we had to rent from private landlords that didn’t care,” Davis recalls. “Literally, they just wanted money. They didn’t care about things falling apart, and because of that, it made me start thinking, ‘We got to do something different. This is not working.’”
The couple began by moving into a smaller apartment by 2017, to cut costs. While Davis’s husband held two jobs, she began researching online, for tips to turn their financial situation around. She eventually joined Dream Catchers, a Facebook financial literacy page, and implementing its advice. By the end of 2018, the couple’s situation had improved enough to apply for a house, which also coincided with her daughter starting a real estate career.
“I promised my daughter we’d be her first customers, if she got her real estate license. We were able to get approved for a $300,000 home. She passed her test, and she became our real estate agent. By March 22, 2019, we were at the closing table – it was amazing. Once we closed, I had several people asking, ‘How did you do it? What should I do?’ And I started giving people advice,” Davis said. “I had clients waiting on me, because I had already shared my journey, so people were ready.”
Building A Stronger Community
Davis has opened an AmpleLife Michigan office at 201 Hilltop Road, St. Joseph, and plans to offer a mobile financial workshop, to help people drill down on topics like paying down debt, or preparing for home ownership. Her other projects include a second Facebook page, It’s The Savings For Me 2021, which encourages members to save $5 per day, and eventually, $1,825 for the year.
She’s also started AmpleLife Financial Strategies, Inc., a nonprofit that will focus on improving African-American financial literacy. One of its objectives is to have neighborhood book boxes, with financial literacy material for all ages, that people can share. She’s raised $800 to buy the first box, and materials, and is looking for a location to house them.
“My biggest objective for AmpleLife Michigan is to leave footprints of impact. I want to see mindset change. If you begin to change minds, before you know it, we’ll be building land, rebuilding homes, and beautifying our community. If you accomplish something, it really creates something inside of you, ‘I want to pursue something else.’ I just want to change the narrative,” she said.
Davis is also reaching out to young people, through a financial literacy class tailored for them – starting Friday, July 30, at the Boys & Girls Clubs of Benton Harbor, 600 Nate Wells Sr. Drive, Benton Harbor. Topics will include the basics of building credit, how to read credit reports, and protect against identity theft, which Davis will also cover on a private Facebook group that she plans to offer.
“We’re going to have reverse engineer in our community, honestly, because some of the parents – they’ve ruined their credit, or they’re redoing theirs right now,” Davis said. “So we need to get the kids to have stronger credit, and then, they can piggyback their parents a long way.”
“I Chose My Own Path”
That type of “reverse engineering,” as Davis calls it, is the first step in building a better relationship with money – so people can avoid familiar traps, like getting stuck in a cycle of paying double-digit interest rates on credit cards, or taking out payday advance loans. Davis charges $50 per month for her services, to make them affordable, and also, “because the people that need it the most, don’t know that they need it the most,” she said.
“Some people say, ‘I need to make more money,’ but if you’re having mismanagement with little money, you’ll have mismanagement with big money. Whether you work a part-time job at McDonald’s, or a full-time executive at Whirlpool, people at any position can live from paycheck to paycheck. It doesn’t matter,” Davis said.
But lack of financial literacy is just one problem that Davis sees. “Many times, it’s about prioritization. I’m seeing people that spend $150, $200, $300, for one day, on fireworks – they’ll say, they don’t have that money. So it’s not that you can’t do it, it’s just that it’s not a priority.”
Whatever the situation, Davis offers herself as a caring adviser, who’s ready to help with her own hard-earned knowledge. “I’m 46, and it just became to real to me in the last five years,” Davis said. “Mainly, I attribute it to a change in mindset. I chose my own path – I wanted to do things my way. Basically, I tell my story as empowerment. I don’t like to do a ‘woe is me’ type of thing – that’s not the whole point. My journey has empowered me, and I like to share with a vibe of empowerment. That’s very important to me.”
For more information about AmpleLife, visit amplelifestrategies.com, or contact Davis at (470) 699-4513.