UBR Morning Post: BE 100s CEO Michael Roberts Talks Legacy Building

Bonus content on the entrepreneurs and strategies featured on The Urban Business Roundtable

Broke as hell—but you're still fly. Really? No, REALLY? (Image: Thinkstock)

Each week, I and my colleagues at BLACK ENTERPRISE get e-mails and letters from people who tell me they are determined to get out of debt and begin to build wealth for themselves and their families. This is especially true at the beginning of the year, between January (New Year resolutions) and April (Financial Literacy Month). I get many of these questions in response to my syndicated radio feature Money Matters, or through my presence on social media sites including Twitter, Facebook and BEInsider. Most of those who reach out to us are sincere about their desire to change their financial futures. However, others are just giving lip-service to the BLACK ENTERPRISE Wealth for Life mission. They want financial freedom—as long as they don't actually have to make changes in their lifestyles to do it. They know they need to live within their means. They're just not trying to hear it. They know they're living dirty when it comes to their finances—but they're still fly! My message this morning is for those of you who are part of the latter group of people, those who want to talk the talk, but will not walk the walk. My question to you: How badly do you want it? Do you want to build wealth and gain financial empowerment badly enough to: Read at least one book on money and finances each month? Stop pleading ignorance about financial matters and commit to your own financial literacy? Stop ignoring sound advice from financial experts? Drive your two-year-old car for five more years, rather than trading up to a brand new model—again? Forego buying new clothes or shoes for a year? Prepare all meals at home, brown-bagging your meals for work each day? Stay on top of your credit reports and scores? Care for your own nails and do your own hair? Take in a trusted friend, relative or boarder, sharing household expenses and applying the savings to paying down debt and building up savings? Temporarily taking on a second job or freelance work to bring in more income to boost savings and reduce debt? Lock away your credit cards for a year, living only on the money you actually have and cutting expenses rather than going deeper into debt? In other words, stop using credit to buy things you don't have the cash for? Save for what you want, instead of buying it on credit? Stop shopping based on what you think you deserve, and focus on what you can actually afford? (Cultivating an exaggerated sense of entitlement and deprivation is the goal of most advertising. Stop falling for it!) Put together a household budget—and stick to it? Say NO to your kids? Your spouse? Yourself? Too many of the people who contact me for advice say no to these questions, and to anything that calls for them to make the sacrifices and change the lifestyles that brought them to their financial difficulties. Often, they are spending to win or keep the approval and acceptance of others (even though the "Joneses" they're trying to hang with are likely just as broke as they are). They're so focused on looking rich that it's impossible for them to build wealth. Well I've got news for you: Freedom (especially financial freedom) ain't free. You can't build wealth for the future, if you refuse to make sacrifices today. You don't have to sacrifice everything, but you have to sacrifice something. Those of you looking for a pain-free, short-cut to financial empowerment and freedom will only find disappointment, frustration and ultimately, financial ruin. The definitions of poverty and wealth do not change: Wealth is spending less money than you make, saving and investing the difference in things that increase in value and/or pay you interest, thereby increasing your assets and net worth. Poverty is spending more money than you make, spending on things that decrease in value and borrowing to cover the difference, paying interest to others, thereby increasing your liabilities and decreasing your net worth. These are not just financial conditions; they are lifestyles. Which lifestyle you choose is entirely up to you. It doesn't matter what you say; your daily decisions and actions reveal the truth. Financial freedom is far from easy to attain, especially at first. However, it can be achieved—and maintained. How badly do you want it?

Michael V. Roberts (Image: Courtesy of Subject)

This week on The Urban Business Roundtable, UBR Executive Producer TaQuoya Kennedy talks with business titan and Black Enterprise 100s CEO Michael V. Roberts about what it takes for entrepreneurs to establish a legacy in business. Roberts talks with Kennedy about the impact that a successful entrepreneur can have on business, family and community.

Along with his brother, Steven Roberts, this master entrepreneur has built a diverse, multimillion-dollar business empire, including ownership of three city blocks in his native St. Louis, Missouri. Roberts Brothers Properties, the centerpiece of Roberts’ holdings, is ranked No. 41 on the Black Enterprise list of the 100 largest Black-owned industrial service firms, reporting sales of $92 million last year.

Founded in 1979, the Roberts Properties L.L.C is a subsidiary of The Roberts Cos.–a multifaceted real estate and media enterprise. The St. Louis-based company is the premier minority-owned commercial and residential redevelopment firm in Missouri. The firm’s portfolio consists of six properties located across St. Louis, including the Roberts Orpheum Theater, Roberts Lofts on the Plaza, Roberts Place Lofts, Roberts Place Homes, Roberts Tower, and Bahamas-based Roberts Isle.

Marki Lemons (Image: Courtesy of Subject)

Speaking of real estate success, contributor Renita Young speaks with real estate expert, coach and trainer Marki Lemons of Marki Lemons Unlimited about why she believes real estate remains a legitimate pathway to building wealth, even in the current economy on the mend. Banking on a decade of experience, Lemmons shares the realities of the current real estate market and what you’ll need to know to make the most of it.

In addition, every week on UBR, you’ll get motivation and inspiration from author and entrepreneurial icon Farrah Gray, a weekly wrap-up of business news from USA Today business correspondent Charisse Jones, our Patient Investor Report from Ariel Investments and key economic intelligence for small business owners from our UBR economists Derrick Collins and Rasheed Carter.

And finally, in my “Alfred’s Notepad” segment, I explain why valuing time, both your own and that of others, can mark you as either a professional or an amateur. UBR listeners who’ve registered for the Black Enterprise Entrepreneurs Conference, scheduled for May 22-25, 2011 in Atlanta, will get even more information about what it takes to put your best foot forward as a business owner, in a way that leaves no doubt of your professionalism. Don’t miss this gathering of bosses in Atlanta!

If you have a question you want answered or a topic you want addressed on The Urban Business Roundtable, connect with me at BE Insider, the social media network for people who are serious about Black Enterprise. You can also find me on Twitter and Facebook.

Alfred Edmond Jr.

Alfred Edmond Jr. is the senior VP/editor-at-large of Black Enterprise and the host of the Urban Business Roundtable, a weekly radio show, sponsored by Ariel Investments, airing CST Wednesdays at 8:30 a.m., Thursdays at 6:30 p.m. and Saturdays at 9:30 a.m. on WVON-AM 1690, the Talk of Chicago. You can also listen live online at WVON.com. Check back each Wednesday for The UBR Morning Post, which features additional resources, advice and information from and about the topics, entrepreneurs and experts featured on the show.



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