If there’s one message the editors of Black Enterprise want to communicate with our money management issue, it’s this: Be proactive. That’s the unifying theme threading its way through each of this month’s personal finance stories.
“Proactive” is one of those words that’s become so overused it has nearly lost its meaning. We’re not simply urging readers to be attentive to their finances. Building “Wealth for Life” requires action on a deeper level, or as the dictionary defines our word of the month, “acting in anticipation of future problems, needs, or changes,” or “initiating change, rather than reacting to events.”
That’s exactly the approach cover subjects Adam and Anna Bradley of Colorado Springs, Colorado, took when they volunteered to be part of our “Money Makeover” feature. With a new home and a baby due in January, the Bradleys were eager to rethink the way they’ve been investing. Black Enterprise put the Bradleys—and two other volunteers—together with a financial adviser who offered suggestions on how to diversify and reallocate their retirement savings portfolios to more closely reflect their goals and future needs. “It’s good for all of us to be reminded that you can’t have a set-it-and-forget-it attitude toward saving for retirement,” says Editorial Director John Simons, who oversees BE’s personal finance coverage. “Managing your portfolio takes constant maintenance, rethinking strategies, and reassessing your goals.
In our Shopsmart department, Beverly Browning clearly demonstrates the power of being hands-on. The Mesa, Arizona, woman was overcharged for a medical procedure, and rather than paying the bill, she fought back—and won. Browning hired a medical billing advocate who saved her some $7,500. “Billing errors are common,” says Consumer Affairs Editor Sheiresa Ngo. “So it’s important to pay attention. Part of protecting your wealth is making sure you don’t get ripped off.”
Doliviera and Angela Henry and their children exemplify the same proactive spirit. Assistant Editor LaToya M. Smith writes about the family, who took advantage of depressed home prices and a nonprofit lending program to purchase their first home with an unheard of 1% mortgage. (No, that’s not a typo. The Henrys’ mortgage carries a 1% interest rate.) “The Henrys’ story shows it’s possible for families with low and moderate incomes to be first-time homebuyers,” says Smith. “The Henrys didn’t let the housing bust and credit squeeze stall their dream. Instead, they viewed the current market as an optimal buying opportunity.”
Our staff has worked hard in the last year to bring you fresh, timely stories with similar impact. This summer the National Association of Black Journalists honored BE with four Salute to Excellence Awards. In the Commentary/Essay category (for magazines with circulation under 1 million) our CEO, Earl “Butch” Graves Jr., was recognized for his monthly Executive Memo column. BlackEnterprise.com received an award in the Digital Media (Single Story: Feature) category for “Obama’s 100 Days” by Editor-in-Chief Derek T. Dingle, Editorial Director Deborah Creighton Skinner, and Executive Assistant Christina Faison. Our weekly television business program, Black Enterprise Business Report, garnered a prize for Best Public Affairs: Program for “Celebrating America’s Largest Black Businesses,” produced by Vice President/Broadcast Director Genevieve Michel-Bryan, Supervising Editor/Producer Kenneth Meeks, and former host Shon Gables. Our Broadcast team was also honored for “Singer Charlie Wilson’s War: Prostate Cancer,” for our weekly political and cultural affairs program, Our World with Black Enterprise.
Winning awards is always nice but our true reward is in inspiring readers to grow their businesses, advance in their careers, and take charge of their financial lives.