financial security
JTMG

Lets Talk About M-O-N-E-Y: The Importance of Financial Security

It is time for us, the black community to have a conversation about our financial security and the lack of financial literacy plaguing so many of us. With the reawakening of the awareness of racial disparity, inequalities and social injustices in this country, I hear a lot of people on the street and social media talking about how we as a people need to support black-owned business, but not too many are talking about black people building financial security.

Something must be said about the amount of money we actually spend frivolously on depreciating value items, items that does nothing for our overall financial security. Businesses can count on our support if we see their products in a music video, if our favorite celebrity is seen wearing, using, or consuming their products, or if they put a few of us in their movies or tv shows. Now don’t get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with liking what you like and wanting to buy it. What is problematic for me, at least, is that we support these brands, products, etc., before we put one red penny into saving. It is so important that everyone has at least a small nest egg available in case of, God forbid, something happens and you lose your income.

I believe the foundation of the problem is that my mother’s generation didn’t teach their children–my generation–about the importance of financial security. I know this isn’t the case for all African Americans, but I do think this is true for most of us. When I was growing up, my mom didn’t have a bank account despite the fact that she was a small business owner. She ran a daycare out of our home until she expanded the business and move the daycare in the same building as the church she founded and pastored. Remember, this was during the 80s and 90s, debit cards and the likes weren’t popular and you couldn’t do your banking from the comfort of your PC. The parents of the children she cared for would pay cash every week. Any checks that she received from the state or whatever, she would cash them at the check cashing place or the grocery store around the corner from our house. I don’t ever remember her talking about credit, credit score, the importance of paying bills on time, or the importance of saving for a raining day or retirement.

When I was growing up, my mom didn’t have a bank account despite the fact that she was a small business owner. She ran a daycare out of our home until she expanded the business and move the daycare in the same building as the church she founded and pastored. This was during the 80s and 90s, debit cards and the likes weren’t popular and you couldn’t do your banking from the comfort of your PC. The parents of the children she cared for would pay cash every week. Any checks that she received from the state or whatever, she would cash them at the check cashing place or the grocery store around the corner from our house. I don’t ever remember her talking about credit, credit score, the importance of paying bills on time, or the importance of saving for a raining day or retirement.

I, like most of my peers, learn about credit sometime after my eighteenth birthday when I begin receiving credit card applications in the mail. If you were like me, you filled them out as soon as the envelope was ripped opened and had it in the mail that same day. So goes the story, the beginning, for many of us, the downward spiral of our financial security.

Now that I am a parent, I understand the importance of raising financially responsible children, so my children don’t have to encounter the same hardships that I have. The first thing we as black parents need to do is have a conversation with our children about money. Financial literacy isn’t only for the rich and wealthy (yes, there is a difference). We have to teach our children to look past what will make them happy at the moment and look to the future, and more importantly, we have to get them out of the mindset that their self-worth is dependent on material things.

The foundation of good financial management benefits everyone, not matter your income means and level.

The concept is simple, spend less than you earn, save more than you spend, make a budget and adhere to it, and set saving goals. To be financially successful, we must do many small things continuously and adopt the habits financially secure people have. Just to be clear, financial security doesn’t always reflect wealth. A person receiving minimum wage can be more financially secure than someone with millions of dollars if they are more financially responsible. Financially secure people have two habits that ensure their success, they set goals and they have an evolving budget.

Were you taught the importance of financial security? How has it help? If not, has the lack of financial knowledge hindered your financial security?

May God be with you until we meet again.

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