Prosperity is your birthright. To claim it, you must commit to investing to buildwealth today .

DON'T DEFER THE DREAM

Jackie Joseph is a hardworking, intelligent and resourceful young woman who is representative of many African Americans in her attitudes about saving and investing. Jackie is a union electrician in Chicago who has proven herself in a field dominated by men-generally white men at that.

I admire Jackie. But I worry about her.

You see, Jackie pays out money to just about everybody but herself.

When her paycheck arrives every two weeks, she hands out money to her elderly father, who is ill. Then she hands more out to her teenage son. And finally, she helps out her best friend, who is going through rough times.

I know all this because Jackie told me. When I asked her if she was ready to sign up for a retirement investment plan that I manage for her union, she explained her situation.

I told her she could get started in the plan by putting as little as $10 or $25 into it with every paycheck-a relatively painless way to save for the future. But Jackie just looked at me sadly and said it wasn’t possible.

Not yet, anyway.

“I just don’t have any money right now,” she told me.

I know a lot of black folks like Jackie Joseph. In fact, I’d be willing to bet that a high percentage of African Americans who don’t have a lot of extra money have reached down deep at one time or another to help out family members, friends, loved ones and co-workers. It is who we are. When you have known hard times yourself, it makes you far more willing to help others. It is part of the best of us.

I am concerned, however, that far too many African Americans plan on starting their own investment savings plans tomorrow.

It’s funny how tomorrow never comes, but old age sneaks up on you. I know because hardly a day goes by when I don’t hear from a client thanking me because I cajoled and prodded him or her to get a nest egg growing. Sometimes people resent that at first, but down the road they bless me. I admire the generosity and caring nature of my fellow African Americans. But I worry about the future of those who have not made their own financial security a priority.

By investing wisely, you can turn your savings, however modest, into long-term wealth, just as Jesus turned water into wine. Minister and author Catherine
Ponder of the Unity Church Worldwide in Palm Desert, California, has written that prosperity has a spiritual basis. Just as prosperity is your birthright and your divine right, it is also your responsibility. You are responsible for your own financial health, just as you are responsible for your own physical well-being. Having a dollar and a dream is not enough. You must invest in that dream in order to build lasting wealth.

I was nearly driven to madness when I read recently that the residents in just one predominately black ward of Chicago had spent $70 million on lottery tickets. I guarantee that if you

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