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takes our support for granted and encourages our dependence! Politics is influence. We’re one-sided!

Quadir Madyun observes too many African Americans getting caught up in accoutrements rather than opportunities that will allow us to build wealth. “We fake it ’til we make it,” he quips. “We want to buy rims, but we’re living with our mom. We can’t afford to buy a house, but we’ve got a $50,000 car in our driveway. None of it is making sense,” he says.

Madyun puts his money to work in real estate. Inspired by his aunt, a real estate agent, he started his own real estate brokerage/development firm, Prosperity Group/Global Investment Development Group Inc., after he got his real estate license. He currently owns his own home and an investment property, and he’s looking to buy more.

Madyun is not alone. Sixty-one percent of African Americans surveyed in the 2004 Ariel/Schwab Black Investor Survey felt comfortable investing in real estate.

For a brief period, Madyun did invest in the stock market, but not for long. Now he is considering taking the investment plunge again, and experts agree that it would make sense for his overall investment strategy.

Mellody Hobson, president of Ariel Capital Management L.L.C. (No. 1 on the BE ASSET MANAGERS list with $21 billion in assets under management) and co-author of the Ariel/Schwab Black Investor Survey, warns investors about putting all of their cash into real estate. “Don’t get caught up in the recent double-digit returns that you’ve seen in the past couple of years, because those returns are not likely to continue,” she says. “The red-hot real estate market is likely to cool, particularly in the most overheated areas of the country. California is the biggest one.”

For novice investors like himself, Madyun wants BE to speak more about stock market basics. “If you’re going to tell me about mutual funds, show me some track records of some black mutual fund companies and show me how to research them,” he says. Hobson says the best way to learn about the market is to read publications like BE and The Wall Street Journal, and books like Buffett: The Making of an American Capitalist, by Roger Lowenstein (Main Street Books; $18.95), and to seek assistance from a financial adviser.

Overall, Hobson recommends diversification to help spread risk. “I think the best way to diversify when making stock investments is by owning mutual funds, because you end up owning a basket of securities. When one stock is up, another is down; you average out a better return.”

Quadir Madyun, 29, Business owner and real estate agent, Los Angeles, Message board comment: Let’s stop blaming the economy. It is only an excuse. Our white, Jewish, and Asian counterparts have been able to make money regardless of the economy, and our race spends money regardless of the economy. We have the talents, intelligence, gifts, experience, and abilities to succeed. Some of us do have the capital, but we are buying jewelry, clothes, cars, and spending money in all types of non-appreciating ways.

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