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Closing the Financial Knowledge Gap

The question now becomes how? How does the Black church effectuate the kind of remarkable change necessary to provoke an economic turnaround in the Black community especially at a time when financial resources are under duress not just in the Black community but nationwide and even globally? How do we apply the lessons of the success of the Civil Rights Movement to mobilize an economic empowering Silver Rights Movement successfully?

My people are destroyed for lack of KNOWLEDGE, declared the prophet Hosea. And what was true of God's people then is true of God's people today. A sweeping and pervasive lack of financial knowledge is what is crippling the Black community economically. The plight of Black America has been made dire not by an individual or communal lack of financial resources but rather by the lack of financial knowledge. Financial ignorance has resulted in misguided decisions that are made with the resources that are available.
Financial Workshop: Black Wall Street Oakland

To be fair, the fact remains that Blacks earn 68 cents for every dollar earned by Whites. So right from the outset there is a marginal lack of resources available to Black households for purposes of spending, saving and investing when compared to Whites. Income disparities aside, our financial decisions typically result in our parting with our resources before they are able to have any positive long-term impact on our economic condition both individually and collectively as a community. Money, like energy is never lost, it is merely transferred from one party to another.

Robert Kiyosaki the author of the popular New York Times best seller, Rich Dad, Poor Dad, makes a point of saying that if you want to be rich, spend your life buying income-producing assets. If you want to be middle class or poor, spend your life buying expense-producing liabilities. For the uninitiated, an asset is something that puts money into your pocket, while a liability is something that takes money out of your pocket. To either become rich, middle class or poor, just mimic what the vast majority of the group that you desire to join does most frequently. It's as simple as shampooing your hair: simply wash, rinse and repeat.

Most of us have heard the old proverb, a fool and his money are soon parted. Well, given the pitiful statistics regarding Black wealth as detailed above, Black Americans have either been world class fools with regard to financial decision making over the years, or somebody has been lying to us and to the corporations who market their goods and services to us about our so-called spending power. African American total earned income for 2009 is estimated at $836 billion. Some studies published recently estimate black spending power will be $1.2 trillion by 2013.


Comerica Bank Financial Lecture Series

Now, I can spend a lot of time arguing the authenticity of these statistics and the purely exploitative purposes for which they were compiled, but I won't. What matters most in my mind, and in the minds of many others, is the bottom line: that there is a disturbing chasm growing between the wealth and income of Blacks when compared to Whites and the equally disturbing socio-economic, civil and political consequences of this phenomenon.

The Challenge of the New Economy & the Threat of Economic Collapse

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