Where Do You Go From Here?

Review your financial goals and adjust your strategy to ensure a brighter future

Do you want to build wealth to start a business? Fund Junior’s college education-or your own? Buy that dream home? Pay off your student loans? Reduce your credit card debt? Secure a financially comfortable retirement lifestyle?

A year ago, black enterprise told you that you could achieve your goals by using the Black Wealth Initiative as your guide. Our mission: to help you design the life that you and your family so richly deserve. We sought the input of our editors, financial experts, and the be Board of Economists in crafting the tools essential to making your financial dreams come true.

Over the past year, we’ve written a series of articles that converted the Black Wealth Initiative into a comprehensive action plan. We advised you to pay yourself first, to make every dollar count, and to develop a systematic program for investing that would secure your family’s wealth for future generations. Now, the time has come to see how well you have applied those lessons.

THE CIRCLE OF WEALTH
A key component of the Black Wealth Initiative is the be Circle of Wealth, which encompasses five steps that you need to follow to start accumulating wealth:

Acquire knowledge about wealth and how to build it. Over the past year, did you buy any books to help you brush up on the basics of money management? How often did you read the financial pages of daily newspapers and magazines (in addition to be)? Did you join chat groups and bulletin boards on the Web? Did you seek out financial experts in such areas as tax, estate, and retirement planning? These moneywise gurus could be brokers, financial planners, certified public accountants, and/or registered financial consultants.

Make a commitment to pursue a program of wealth building. The order of business should have been to assess your short-term and long-term financial goals using a financial worksheet. List your goals, the amount needed to achieve them, and the time frame it would take to accomplish each. You should have ended up with a financial plan that included at least four components: (1) a realistic monthly budget, (2) an investment program, (3) a tax and estate plan, and (4) a retirement plan.

Save and invest. Did you develop the habit of saving every month while still paying your bills? You should have set aside a set amount each month in a money market account or an equity mutual fund, as well as enrolled in an employer-sponsored savings plan. If you had already belonged to your company’s 401(k) plan, did you contribute the maximum amount to take advantage of the tax savings?

Develop a program of portfolio management. Sound portfolio management will beget wealth. Did you make sure that you didn’t have all of your money invested in mutual funds and left it just sitting there-even though the money is compounding? You should have divided your money among several asset groups, including stocks and fixed-income investments.

Building wealth for future generations. Every year, you need to review your estate and tax plans. This will ensure

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