The Reader Is Always Right

Your priorities shape our agenda. Here's what you had to say about what our priorities should be in the new century.

solving issues within our community. “As we start to interact with other people from other cultures, races, and religions, we will all have a greater level of understanding and compassion for achieving an improved relationship with both whites and Latinos.

“Coalitions with other races are absolutely necessary,” Lewis explains. “We are all people, and we’re responsible for each other. Collectively, we have an obligation to make sure no one else goes hungry regardless of what race they are. We all have to be our brother’s keeper.”

Thomas adds, “I think we’ve come a long way, yet we still have a long way to go. A lot of people should have diversity training in order to have better relations. It’s good for business.”

But Mahone made a good point about our relationships improving once we create a unified agenda to leverage black spending power back into our neighborhoods and schools. “The [continued growth of] the Latino population should create a sense of urgency for our black and Latino leadership to develop strategic partnerships for a global economic agenda.” Think of the slogan: “Think globally, but act locally.”

Wealth/Personal Finance

How do you define wealth? What is the best strategy to build personal wealth? And do you invest?
Among our respondents, wealth was defined as a combination of financial security (77.3%) and spiritual/personal fulfillment (70.8%). Respondents feel that investing (37.4%) is the No. 1 strategy to build wealth followed by business ownership (29.3%). The majority of respondents are active investors (88.4%). Eighty-five percent of female respondents invest versus 92.4% of males. The overwhelming majority of the sample takes advantage of employe
r investment plans (83.6%). Stocks and mutual funds follow, with 57.4% and 53.5%, respectively. Many of those responding to our survey had more spiritual or metaphysical definitions of wealth, like peace of mind, believing in God, having a solid family and professional relationships, or just plain happiness. Very few attached a dollar value to the concept of wealth.

Mahone says that as individuals, we all need to understand money and we can do that by investing in mutual funds, retirement funds, money markets, and high-tech stocks. “We need to do more personal investing,” he says. “Your income is important, but as it relates to net worth and spiritual fulfillment, a strong mind breeds good character. And if you’re not a strong character, then financial wealth is harder to achieve. Personal wealth doesn’t mean anything if we can’t pass it back to our young.”

Lewis believes empowering our community for the century is possible, but warns it’s a long-term process. We first have to know what we want, then we begin to save and invest toward that goal. “Have a game plan,” she says. “Just like planning a wedding or your career, write down what you plan to accomplish and revisit that plan when you start to stray off course. You’re more likely to accomplish that goal, as opposed to just shooting from the hip.”

And like Mahone, Lewis agrees that it’s important we understand fiscal management in our personal lives.

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