by Dr Boyce Watkins
In case you’ve never noticed, black people are vulnerable. Much of this vulnerability is linked to our financial condition. Many of us work for people we hate, do things we don’t want to do, and feel stuck because we are not where we want to be economically.
I’ve been a finance professor for the last 23 years and it saddens me that many of us are constrained by issues and situations that could be easily avoided. In fact, our very need for survival is predicated on us embracing financial intelligence as one of our codes of conduct. So, here are a few rules of economic self-defense that you may want to implement to keep your family secure:
1)Never get all of your income from one source: When you get all of your money from one person, one corporation or one job, you’re vulnerable to the person who is paying your bills. This often leaves black people crippled and begging.
2) Always save your money so your money can save you: Having a little money saved can mean the difference between being free to do what you want vs. having to bow down to a bigot on the job because you’ve chosen to live paycheck-to-paycheck. Sometimes, we are forced into poverty, but other times, we spend our money on nonsense. You can’t tell me that you’re poor and own a pair of Air Jordans at the same time, that just doesn’t make any sense.
3) Train yourself and your children on the basics of financial literacy and wealth-building: American economics is a game, like basketball. Yes, we are behind in the game, but you’ll never catch up in a basketball game if you never learn how to play the sport. So, ask yourself: Are your kids trained on how money works in America? If the answer is “no,” then this is a serious problem.
4) Every black family should have a family business: The black family business must come back into style. We can’t all fight against white racist oppression, yet still beg white people for jobs. We must learn to create our own jobs in either this generation or the next.
5) Never become addicted to a financially extravagant lifestyle: Wasteful consumption is pushed on black people on a regular basis. It usually leaves us financially weak and addicted. There is no relationship between an addict and a pusher in which the addict has the most power.
6) Avoid going too deep in debt, and be especially careful with student loans: The quest to be educated has left many millenials with so much debt that they will die in the middle of it. Debt does create a form of slavery that has too many of us struggling along on jobs that we can’t stand, dealing with horrific situations. Be cautious with debt,it can become economic poison.
7) Learn how to invest and own things: Investing is the ability to sacrifice the present in order to control the future. Investing must become a part of our culture so that our kids own the land on which they stand. Stop judging your success based on the size of your paycheck, you must evaluate black success by how much we own.
8) Buy black, even if it hurts: Buying black and keeping money in our community is one of the most essential financial choices we can make as a community. When you give away your money, you’re giving away your power. This doesn’t make any sense.
By taking some basics steps and implementing these ideas into our culture, we’ll soon find that our community is stronger and on better footing than we were in the past. But the key is that we must shift our thinking and make the right decisions, because our economic intelligence is directly connected to our survival.
Dr Boyce Watkins is a Finance PhD and founder of The Black Wealth Bootcamp and The Black Business School. To learn more, please visit TheBlackWealthBootcamp.com.