According to a 2007 study performed by Terry College’s Selig Center for Economic Growth, African American buying power was projected to total $845 billion in 2007 and is projected to top $1.1 trillion by 2012, a 34 percent increase over the five-year period. People define wealth differently. If you were to ask 100 individuals for a definition of wealth, you are liable to get 100 different definitions, but we gather to guess that most definitions would eventually refer to paper money or paper assets. Although things like cash and stock ownership can definitely be forms of wealth, the concept of wealth can never be defined without the context of quality of life and relationships. There are ten statements regarding wealth that we think are especially important for Black Americans to reflect over, and find balance in.
They are, first, the following from Claude Anderson, taken from his excellent book, Powernomics: the National Plan to Empower Black America:
“What is wealth? Wealth refers to the net value of a person, group or community less the liabilities or debt at a given point in time. It is stored value. Income, in contrast, refers to a flow of dollars over a period of time. With rare exceptions, most Blacks are so marginalized that they own and control little wealth or resources anywhere, including their own neighborhoods.”
Second, from Henry David Thoreau:
“Wealth is the ability to fully experience life.”
Third, from Proverbs 13:11 from the Bible:
“Wealth gained by dishonesty will be diminished, but he who gathers by labor will increase.”
Fourth, from Timothy 6:8-9 from the Bible:
“If we have food and clothing, we will be content with these. But those who want to be rich fall into temptation and are trapped by many senseless and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction.”
Fifth, from Rich Dad, Poor Dad by Robert Kiyosaki:
“The poor and the middle class work for money.” “The rich have money work for them.”
Sixth, from Ayn Rand:
“Wealth is the product of man’s capacity to think.”
Seventh, from Oprah Winfrey:
“Though I am grateful for the blessings of wealth, it hasn’t changed who I am. My feet are still on the ground. I’m just wearing better shoes.”
Eighth, from Surah 104: 1-3 of the Holy Qur’an:
“Woe to every (Kind of) scandalmonger and backbiter, who pileth up wealth and layeth it by, thinking that his wealth would make him last forever!”
Ninth, from Benjamin Franklin:
“Wealth is not his that has it, but his that enjoys it.”
Tenth, from Andrew Young:
“I have about concluded that wealth is a state of mind, and that anyone can acquire a wealthy state of mind by thinking rich thoughts.”
Each of us must determine according to our own value system, reflection, and introspection, what wealth means and what we are willing and unwilling to do to obtain it. We have to search our conscience. There is an intricate balance between what we desire, and the means by which we obtain it which forces all of us to face deep ethical, moral and legal questions – if not in public or a social setting, than in the privacy of our hearts and the secret thoughts of our mind.
What are you willing to do, to obtain the lifestyle you want and become the person you want to be, is what it all boils down to.
The Black-Owned Bank Initiative For Wealth Creation, Financial Literacy and Community Development, before promoting any concept, vision, strategy or tactic or vehicle for wealth creation strongly encourages each and every person to clarify their economic self interest not only in terms of the financial wealth they desire, and lifestyle they wish to lead but also the kind of moral and ethical standards they desire to live up, to and live by.
If more of us had done that, perhaps, the wealth that we created on paper, over the last 10 years would not have evaporated so quickly.
Begin by reading a series of quotations regarding the concept of wealth:
A key step to enabling Black Americans to create wealth is through the cultivation of a healthy and proper relationship between our financial and emotional lives. There is a unique book that marries top-of-the line financial information with insights regarding our emotional make-up.
That book is Who’s Afraid To Be A Millionaire?: Mastering Financial and Emotional Success By Kelvin Boston, and it is the official reference book of The Black-Owned Bank Initiative For Wealth Creation, Financial Literacy and Community Development (BBI).
The book is available at:
Wealth Creation Links: