As editor-in-chief of Black Enterprise magazine, one of the perks of my job is giving our readers thousands of dollars. It’s not the result of some sweepstakes or gimmick promoted by so many media companies these days. Quite frankly, it’s our mission. As part of Black Enterprise’s Wealth for Life thrust, we hold a monthly Financial Fitness Contest in which we help one of you solve some overwhelming financial challenge with the help of a financial advisor, our editorial team and $2,000 to kick-start your wealth-building program.
In fact, our editors have been crisscrossing the nation for the past decade, hearing heart-breaking stories of households derailed by poor financial decisions, but uplifted by the lives we’ve put on track through our Wealth for Life principles. These tenets of healthy financial practices range from living within our means and saving at least 10 percent of our incomes, to developing an investment plan for retirement needs and financing our childrens’ education. Specifically, through the contest, scores of dispirited individuals who were about to throw in the towel gained tools, strategies and a plan for a brighter future. Over the years, I have been pleasedÂ by those who were able to send their kids to the best colleges and universities, purchase dream homes, launch new businesses and gain the peace of mind that comes with a solid credit score and manageable debt. These success stories have cost us about a quarter of a million over ten years. I can’t think of a better return on our investment. The 115-plus winners (and counting) of our Financial Fitness Contest have served as inspiration to thousands of others to take control of their financial futures and to build wealth for life.
As we celebrate our 40th anniversary this year, Black Enterprise is more committed than ever to closing the wealth gap. My good friend, radio host Warren Ballentine and I were talking on The Warren Ballentine Show today about the financial state of African Americans. I shared with him that I recently read some alarming statistics. For instance, the Center for American Progress, a Washington, DC-based think tank, reports minority households hold 16 cents in net worth for every dollar of wealth retained by white households. A more staggering figure in a Brandeis University study shows upper income blacks — those earning annual salaries of more than 75,000 — have assets of only 18,300 vs. 238,400 for their white counterparts.
So many people feel that they will always be mired in debt or trapped by their financial situation — especially those devastated by the Great Recession of 2008 and today’s sluggish recovery. That’s why I encouraged Warren’s listeners to apply for our Financial Fitness Contest. We want you to gain financial security, have the freedom to make the best choices for you and your family and develop aÂ legacy to pass real wealth — not debts — on to the next generation.
I need you toÂ help me do my job. Enter for our Financial Fitness Contest so I can give aways thousands of more dollars and in the process, Black Enterprise can ultimately make Wealth for Life a way of life for millions of African Americans.
Derek T. Dingle is the editor-in-chief of Black Enterprise magazine.