Ten Key Solutions for Black Economic Well-Being
1. Start your own business. Few people acquired wealth working for someone else. By starting your own business, you can hire family, friends, and community members. Additionally, you will build the economy of your community and become a model for what’s possible. Finally, you may be able to pass on a successful business as a family inheritance to your children and grandchildren.
2. Get as much education as you can. Higher levels of academic and technical education readily translate into better employment, higher income, and more wealth. Education begins with you reading to your children as infants, teaching your children to read before they are school age, and encouraging a good deal of on-going reading. Education must become a life-long pursuit! The new hierarchy of human needs after air, water, and food is education. Without a good education, you have few viable, legal options for earning money.
3. Stop renting an apartment. Save enough money to make a down payment on a house. Then buy a house. The largest portion of the net worth of most families is in home equity, not cash assets.
4. Manage your health and your well-being carefully. Watch the quality and quantity of the food you eat and the water you drink. Exercise rigorously and regularly. Choose your physician wisely-one who listens and holistically addresses your concerns, and consult your physician annually on disease prevention and longevity. Strive to develop physical, emotional and spiritual harmony.
5. Open savings accounts for your children. Teach your children the value of money and how to earn, save, and invest it at an early age. Take personal finance classes so that you will become the best teacher for your child on the issues of money, saving, investing, and credit.
6. Invest your money and your time first in self-improvement by building your skills and your knowledge base-not in cars, clothes, furniture, frivolous electronics, sports, games, vices, the lottery, etc. Second, learn how to let big companies work for you, through stock ownership, rather than you only working for them. And third, invest your money in the U.S. and global stock markets. The world is much bigger than the United States.
7. Manage your credit carefully and avoid unnecessary debt. Beware of spending beyond your means and consume smartly on holidays, birthdays, graduations, vacations, weddings, and funerals. Learn to pay cash for what you need or don’t buy it. And forget about things you want and don’t need. Create a household budget that includes such essentials as food, safe living space, and utilities-and live by it. Save for a rainy day. It’s coming!
8. Two-person headed households are more viable economically than one-person headed households. Marriage can be an economic advantage when both parties align on financial priorities and fiscal realities. Seventy percent of Black children are born into single-parent households and begin life ensconced in poverty. Most never make it out.
9. Tithe. Give to your church or to a social cause.
10. Create a will to pass on your accumulated wealth to the next generation. Studies suggest as much as 70% of most households’ current wealth was inherited from a previous generation.
By Phillip Jackson, Founder and Executive Director
The Black Star Project