Through the decades, Black Enterprise has been a key resource for financial empowerment for African Americans. Over the past ten years, the Declaration of Financial Empowerment (DOFE), a mainstay of Black Enterpriseâ€™s Black Wealth Initiative, has assisted readers of the magazine, BlackEnterprise.com, and viewers of the Black Enterprise Business Report (BEBR).
As times have changed, so too has the Black Wealth Initiative. This year, Black Enterprise is introducing 10 new Wealth for Life principles, the next step in the evolution to financially sustain the African American community. It is a step-by-step guide that encourages readers to generate wealth for themselves in this lifetime and for generations to come.
It was time to reboot the Black Wealth Initiative with a plan that would most effectively illuminate the path to financial empowerment considering the challenges in the nationâ€™s economy, says the magazineâ€™s editors.
“The principles are meant to be a concise financial action-plan for your entire life,â€ť says John Simons, senior personal finance editor. â€śThe beauty of this guide is that it’s timeless and universal. It represents sound advice for good times and bad–for people with massive wealth or those just starting to build it.â€ť
This year, Americans watched the economy unravel in ways that rivaled the Great Depression. Pressure from an unprecedented mortgage crisis caused the largest banks, insurance companies, and financial services companies in the country to collapse, including Bear Stearns, Washington Mutual, and Citigroup.
Some, such as insurance company AIG, sought refuge in a $700 billion bailout, while others simply ceased to exist and/or have merged into larger companies. The Big Three automakers â€“ Ford Motor Co., General Motors Corp., and Chrysler L.L.C.– have also pleaded for government intervention in order to avoid bankruptcy.
Loans for consumers and small businesses are scarce as banks tighten their belts. At the center of it all, consumers, battered by a 26-year-high unemployment rate, are struggling to make ends meet, let alone save for retirement.
â€śThere is nothing wrong with the DOFE principles that we let expire, but we felt that as the times change, the rules of building wealth and sustaining wealth also change and our principles have to change along with them,â€ť says Alan Hughes, editorial director for business and finance at the magazine. â€śToo often in our community individuals either donâ€™t know what to do or they donâ€™t know how to go about doing it. Sometimes they donâ€™t know that there is another way or they donâ€™t even know that they need to do anything.â€ť
The 10 new principles address questions and challenges that African Americans face with simple advice given in the order that people face these issues in their lives. Previous principles stressed homeownership, but Wealth for Life takes into account recent changes in the economy that have affected the housing and job markets. While the surefire No. 1 goal is still to purchase a home, Black Enterprise and its media platforms will walk the audience through the new principles so that they first