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Alieyh E. and Marcus D Cotton are natives of Detroit, MI.  They both attended Wayne State University, majoring in Business Administration where Marcus majored in Accounting and Alieyh received her Bachelor’s of Science in Marketing in May 2002.  Marcus and Alieyh have been devoted to each other for over 26 years and they married in July 2001.  They are the proud parents of three sons Caiden, Jace and Zakari. 


Alieyh was a 20 year old unemployed college student with good credit when the Cotton's purchased their first home.  Marcus, a few years her senior, had poor credit, an active garnishment but steady employment.  Together they borrowed $2,000 from a family member and used it as a downpayment for their first home.  They paid $40,000 for a 2 bed 1 bath 1 car garage with an unfinished basement.  The interest rate was 9.9% and monthly PITI (principal, interest, taxes and insurance) payment was $416, less than half the cost of rent at that time.  They sold that house 3.5 years later for $80,000, paid back the down payment loan, paid off all of their student loans and covered the downpayment for their next house.  The Cotton’s have seen the power of homeownership in their life and they are passionate about helping families to become homeowners and overall self-reliant financially. 


Alieyh brings to the table close to 30 years of customer service, sales and management experience in retail, automotive and healthcare.  Marcus brings over 3 decades of customer service, training and management experience from the restaurant, automotive and banking industries.  Both Marcus and Alieyh have been sharing their knowledge and expertise with friends, family and associates for years, even coaching them over financial hurdles.  After purchasing several homes including a foreclosure/auction and one through a Neighborhood Stabilization Program; along with utilizing different loan products such FHA, ARM and conventional the Cotton’s felt compelled to share their experiences beyond just their circle of influence.  


On February 14, 2013 under divine inspiration, Economically Minded People Overseeing Wealth Enthusiastically Reaping Sown Seeds, also known as EMPOWERSS, came to fruition.  EMPOWERSS teaches Common Sense Financial Literacy through workshops and seminars covering budgeting, credit awareness, homeownership and more.  The Cotton’s are fiercely passionate about helping families secure their financial future and create generational wealth, particularly in underserved communities.  They are philanthropists at heart and will teach financial literacy to anyone that’ll listen.


After nearly 27 years together Marcus and Alieyh have developed a synergy and relatable transparency by providing their real world experiences along with knowledge and research to make EMPOWERSS strategies a practical solution for everyone.

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Alieyh has always been an organized, self-motivated, quick decision maker with an entrepreneurial spirit.  She pays meticulous attention to detail and keeps impeccable documentation which allows her to be prepared for situations that others do not anticipate.  Alieyh attributes her knowledge of money matters to her thorough research and life experiences.  She developed an affinity for reading financial books in high school after being gifted “Rich Dad Poor Dad'' by Robert Kiyosaki, from her brother.  She recalls her mom’s blue trash can that housed her monthly bills along with the spiral notebook that served as the household budget.  There were many conversations about proper budgeting and maintaining good credit.  She witnessed her mom negotiate new car purchases with $0 down, 0% interest, 3 yr financing and watched her mom purchase a home outright with cash.  Alieyh was most impressed when her mom retired at age 55 and never worked again while maintaining her same lifestyle.


Alieyh emulated her mom’s hard working characteristics and had an innate desire to earn her own money early on.  At the tender age of 13 she began working as a receptionist for a female minority owned beauty salon.  In high school, she had the opportunity to work with another entrepreneur at a clothing boutique.  This business owner took Alieyh under her tutelage and taught her every aspect of running the business.  Alieyh attended multiple fashion trade shows around the country where she sharpened her purchasing and negotiation skills.  Alieyh was such a quick study that the owner entrusted her to run the daily operation of the business.  She quickly realized that traditional schooling was not teaching her how to make or manage money.  Therefore, immediately after graduation she attended Detroit Entrepreneurial Institute (DEI) and wrote her business plan for opening a clothing boutique. 

As an honor student, she received a 4 year full academic scholarship to college.  Alieyh’s family strongly encouraged her to obtain her degree so her entrepreneurial dreams were deferred.  When she enrolled in college, Alieyh immediately established credit and maintained a healthy FICO score.  Consequently, she purchased her first new car at the age of 19 without a job or a co-signer.  She has often heard that the biggest purchase of your life is buying a home.  After purchasing her first home at 20 with no job and 6 home purchases later she is here to share that homebuying is simple.  She served as Vice President of her homeowner’s association and was an integral part of creating/executing processes to self-manage the association.  She is a resourceful and skilled negotiator who has served as a confidant and personal consultant to those close to her for most of her life.  To tell Alieyh she can’t accomplish something is only motivation for her to prove you wrong. 



Marcus has always had a desire to help others, a love for math, coaching, training and real estate.  While growing up he found himself watching late night infomercials of the Carlton Sheets' Real Estate System.  He thought to himself that one day he could own a home, become financially free and help others achieve the same goals.  With no knowledge of budgeting or credit management, Marcus struggled to make good financial decisions for years.  After an eviction, living with friends, subleasing and eventually staying in the attic of Alieyh's childhood home, Marcus knew he had to make some permanent lifestyle changes.

Unfortunately, Marcus soon learned that a willingness to change wasn't enough because he didn't know how or what to change.  Thanks to the financial knowledge and encouragement of Alieyh, Marcus was soon examining each of his credit reports for discrepancies.  He then wrote numerous letters to creditors to settle outstanding debts.  Shortly thereafter he wrote a letter to the underwriter who approved their first mortgage.  More than 2 decades later and 6 additional homes purchased; Marcus has become a Licensed Realtor, seasoned Homeowner, Coach and Mentor to many. 

Marcus grew up in an impoverished rental community, raised by his retired grandmother who had great money habits.  Sadly she didn't teach him about money because like many households across America it was a taboo subject.  Instead she sent him to private school to get what she jokingly referred to as that "Book Learnt Sense."  He learned everything in school about numbers and math except how to use them to make good personal financial decisions.  Therefore, Marcus is a firm believer that the evictions, garnishments, bankruptcy and poor credit was necessary for him to learn about finances. 

He is not only a Co-Founder and Financial Coach but he's also our first client and a walking testimonial!  He has successfully managed and maintained his finances and great credit.  His desire is to continue helping others through sharing his experiences openly and honestly with anyone who is looking to do better.  His life experience was the inspiration for our Master Class Not Your Average Book Learnt Sense.

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