By William “Bill” Cheeks
As we continue to recover from one of the most sluggish economies in recent memory, Americans in general — particularly African Americans — have an enormous opportunity to make lemons into lemonade. We are consumers of many things and thus we elevate the brands of the rich and famous. But why not make the ultimate purchase? Before we can invest in our own brand we have to do two things: Embrace the dirty words “delayed gratification and budgeting” and reject the myth that if we own and/or lease the trappings of success, that we are in fact successful.
If you are living paycheck to paycheck, as the majority of Americans do, have an average credit score of 625 like most Millennials (July 2015 Experian) and are drowning in student debt, ask yourself, how successful am I? If you are like most people, you believe that next big promotion making x amount of dollars will solve your problems; but as a financial expert for the last 35 years, I can assure you, it will not. Larger incomes do not absolve us from poor money management practices. Or, in the words of the late Notorious B.I.G. – “Mo Money, Mo Problems!”
It is not about how much money you earn, so much as it is about how much money you keep. Understanding the money game is equally as important as getting a college education or that next big promotion. That said, I am inviting you to join me and other financial experts this Saturday, October 31, 2015, at the Hyatt Regency Hotel for the free Rainbow PUSH Money Matters program, sponsored by Chevrolet. This series will teach you how to build a solid foundation as it relates to your personal finances and how to stop paying more for everything. The sessions start at 9 a.m. and goes through 1 p.m. and lunch will also be provided. Yes, this will cost part of your Saturday but it will save you big-time in the long-term.
Let’s get back to the notion of “delayed gratification.” While you are investing in your brand, i.e. yourself, there will be immediate benefits to being fiscally responsible. For instance, the stress of living paycheck to paycheck gone, more of your hard-earned money stays with you and you will have the ability to transition from consumer to investor. The decisions we make and the priorities we set determine whether we are financially successful, mediocre or a financial mess.
To find out what financial literacy truly means and its benefits, simply log onto www.rainbowpush.org to register for the FREE Money Matters series.
William ‘Bill’ Cheeks, is president of ABBA Associates Inc., a Powder Springs, Ga.-based fiscal management consulting firm. Cheeks, a well-known financial educator and coach, has more than 35 years of experience teaching lifestyle management skills to help consumers develop a successful life plan.