Financial Streams of Consciousness...

"WE," not "I"

"WE," not "I"

The word "Wealth" starts with "We," not "I." Now, I am going to say something that might break the internet. It's not your responsibility to create the WEalth that your entire family has yet to amass. Think about it. Where, in the real world, is WEalth created in isolation (I'll wait)? You may feel compelled to use Oprah, Elon Musk, Sara Blakely, or Jay Z as examples. Major news flash. These extraordinary people work with teams of individuals that run the day-to-day operations of the businesses that contribute to their WEalth positions. Oprah hires visionaries and creatives to produce shows for the OWN network. Elon Musk recruits the most brilliant engineers and mathematicians worldwide to create the technology behind Tesla and SpaceX. Sara Blakely just recognized the contributions of her team by giving everyone a $10,000 bonus and an all-expenses-paid two-week vacation. Jay Z, known for his outstanding business acumen, has a talent for identifying profitable business ventures. None of which he does the day-to-day work for. He entrusts his leadership teams to do their job. So, if anyone ever tells you, using my best impersonation of Drake's voice, "It was all me, for real," you are speaking to a unicorn. Please seize the moment and take a selfie with that person. You are going to be filthy rich. They are scarce - LOL! I think you get the point. And, if you get the point the way I believe you get the point, why are you risking your physical, emotional, and mental health carrying a burden that was never meant to be carried by one person? The surest path to WEalth is together - not alone: If you are married, how are you working together to create WEalth as a household? If you have a large extended family, how are you working together to create intra-household WEalth? If you have kids, how are you establishing a financial mindset that it's your child's or children's responsibility to contribute to interfamily WEalth creation? If you live in a community, how are you working as a collective to support the business ventures of those around you? Just in case nobody told you, "I" is the root of a scarcity mindset. You can't move to "WE" believing that there are limited resources and only one person can be wealthy in your family and community. This type of mindset limits our capacity to embrace the power of the collective - the community. Let's be honest. This mindset will have people believing that 100% of nothing is better than 20% of something. A "WE" mindset is the foundation of abundance. It embraces the strengths and abilities of others. We see people as opportunities - not threats. Someone else's success does not diminish our success. It propels us when we harness the power of the collective - when we tap into "WE, not "I" frame of mind. If this message resonates with you, "We, Not I," and you are thinking about how I take the first step in that direction. Consider picking up one of our "WE, not I" hoodies or tees. ("WE, not I" hoodie and tees today: https://black-financial-culture.creator-spring.com/ ) ("WE, not I" hoodie and tees today: https://black-financial-culture.creator-spring.com/ ) Until next, WE have more power than WE think. Let's own it - together! #Money #Wealth #WE #Together

Wealth is a Calculation, Not a Perception.

Wealth is a Calculation, Not a Perception.

Several years ago, a good friend came to visit me in Atlanta, GA. At the time, I lived in a one-bedroom apartment with a spacious living room, sleek kitchen, and a reasonably sized bedroom in the Austell area. It was more than enough space for me. I was single, had no kids, and was focused on my career. As an auditor, I wasn't at home much anyways - especially during the busy season. Man, I remember it like it was yesterday. I was eager to show off my apartment. It really represented me to the core. It had a minimalist feel with high-end accents. I had expensive artwork and collector's items hanging on my walls. The type of stuff that you wouldn't know was worth anything unless you were into those types of things. But, more than anything else, I was saving a ton of money on this apartment and stockpiling it away into my 401k plan at work. I was comfortable, enjoying life, and ensuring that my future self would have the opportunity to do the same. To make a long story short, my buddy finally arrived, came up to the apartment, and had a look around. When I say he had a look around, he probably had to walk no more than twenty steps to see the entire apartment - my crown jewel! After a few moments, he looked at me squarely in the eyes and said, "This is all you got to show for being an accountant." I was floored. And, honestly, I didn't know how to respond. Instead of responding irritatedly, I acted like I had more stuff on the way. I made up a lie about getting ready to buy a new entertainment system and getting a top-of-the-line life flat-screen television mounted on the wall. None of which was true, obviously, but I did not know how to deal with the awkwardness. Up to that point, I was not even aware that there was an invisible scorecard within my friend group silently assessing who had what. I grew up in Gary, IN. I never wanted people to know what I had. If they did, they might try to take it from you. But I digress. As I reflect on that story and the progress I've made on my own financial journey, it is littered with instances of random people, family, and friends, having something to say about my financial choices. Mind you; I was actually trying to make smart decisions and build wealth. For instance, I cut my cable bill before cutting the cable bill was cool. Most of the people in my circle thought it was ridiculous. I've driven the same vehicle for nearly seventeen years. Everyone still wants to know when I am going to get a new car. For years, no cap, I've utilized Straightalk wireless services and got my cell phone from Walmart, a cheap but dependable one. Why would I pay Verizon $100+ a month to get the same great service for $35 a month? Make it make sense - LOL! Wanna know what's odd, though? Nobody has asked me how it feels not to have a car note or how I am using those savings to plan for the future, engage in planned giving, or generate wealth. In fact, nobody in my inner circle has ever asked me about my wealth position. My wife and I are closing in on .... Never mind. Don't worry about what I got. It's a lot ( in my Drake voice - LOL!). From what I've found over the years, most people are more comfortable with the illusion of wealth than wealth itself. As a result, we settle for who appears to be winning and live vicariously off their energy until the next big thing comes along. Life is just easier that way - we can experience the emotional high of great achievement without actually doing anything to experience the great achievement. And, honestly, most don't keep up with their own personal finances enough to unpack the financial lives of those around us. Oftentimes, though, what we see is merely a distortion of reality. For those of you working towards building limitless generational wealth, don't worry about the people who can't see the vision - your real wealth. Some people, especially loved one's, will not see the vision for some time. They are caught in the illusion of materialism and consumption. Unfortunately, they lack the capacity, at least for now, to discern that the path they are on is a bottomless pit. Show them grace and compassion, but do not apologize for living out your financial convictions. There is nothing wrong with you. There is nothing wrong with the path that you are on. What you are experiencing is par for the course. In the words of Nicholas Klein, "First they ignore you. Then they ridicule you. And then they attack you and want to burn you. And then they build monuments for you." Keeping striving towards what others can't or refuse to see. That's how you become what others desire and wish to be. Wealth is a Calculation, Not a Perception. Until next time, you have more power than you think. Own it! #Empathy #Connection #Wisdom #Money #WealthIsACalculationNotAPerception

Ten Gifts Money Can't Buy Our Children

Ten Gifts Money Can't Buy Our Children

If I were being honest with you and myself, I had fatherhood all wrong. It's not as scary as I initially thought it would be. I've learned that I am very capable of changing a diaper (even with one hand when necessary). Juggling the demands of family life and work is a matter of scheduling life around them and not scheduling them around life (still working on this, by the way). And despite all of my flaws and shortcomings, an abundance of financial resources, or the lack thereof, my boys are always looking to me for my approval, support, and unconditional love. None of which money can buy. I was also able to overcome my deepest fear – failure. For the longest time, I was afraid of screwing up my boys' lives. I didn't have a blueprint or a roadmap. Outside of being a provider, why else was I needed? I attached my value as a father to material things. Now that I look back at this old version of me, I marvel at how green, immature, and unrealistic I was. I was looking to everything else to signal that I was a good father instead of giving the priceless gift of being a loving dad. Man, I wish I knew then what I know now. But that is why I am writing this blog post for you. If you find yourself struggling with some of the things I did, here is a list of things I've learned that helped me redefine my ideas on parenting that have nothing to do with money. Drum roll, please… Hugs and Kisses – I use to think that giving hugs and kisses was a show of weakness. But I've learned that it reinforces my children's self-esteem. It's okay for men to show affection to their sons. In fact, the ability to do so is the ultimate display of strength. Smiles of Approval – It's so easy to perfect the "You bet not do it" face when it comes to our kids. Since you've got it down, now try the "Smile of Approval." The next to you see your son or daughter just being their authentic whimsical selves, catch their gaze and give him or her a loving smile. It demonstrates that you respect them as a person. Enthusiasm – When is the last time you showed a significant level of enthusiasm when greeting your child? I still struggle with this one. I don't like to get too high or low about anything. But there is something magical about enthusiasm. Especially if you are the cause of it. The next time you wake up your child in the morning or pick them up from school, make it a celebration. Kids are so excited about the world around them. They need to know that they are a marvel of the universe as well. Dance – When you and the kids are home with very little to do, cut on some of your favorite tunes and teach them some old-school dances. And then let them turn on their favorite tunes and teach you the latest Tic Tock dances. Our kids need to see us as human – even silly humans that can't begin to fathom how to do the renegade. It's invigorating. It teaches them that magic is something we create. Not something we wait for. Read a Book- Reading to our children doesn't only stimulate brain development; it also reinforces intimacy. They also learn how to hear sound and infer toning meaning by the way we express words. Reading together, especially a book that has never been read before, creates dialogue and intrigue that only you will share as you navigate this journey together. Special Time- For those who have more than one child, we must find ways to engage each child on a one-on-one basis. This could be a movie, ice cream date, lunch at school, etc. Ask them about their interests and do it. Find ways to show that you value each of your children as individuals. Plus, every kid quickly becomes a cool kid when their parent brings them McDonald's for lunch. Spontaneous time- I triple dog dare you to schedule an impromptu trip on a school day. Pick them up early from school and go do something fun. School is important. Work is important. But it doesn't mean that we have to be bound by the laws of culture all the time. We live life every day. Not just on the weekends. Traditions / Rituals- What's a family without having quirky traditions? If you don't have any, why not be the one to establish some? We only live once; Life is way too short to be wound up all the time. Whether it be a secret handshake, code words, special family rules to board games, etc., find ways to make being part of your family unit exclusive! Do you pray together? It's a great way to learn about your child's concerns. And, just as importantly, what can be done as a family, with God's help, to address those concerns. It's a great way to teach our kids that we might solve the prayers we pray for others. God just doesn't hear us. He works through us! I'm Sorry - Other than saying, "I love you.", saying, "I'm sorry." is the next best thing. As parents, we do not always get it right. If we allow pride, ego, and power to dictate the terms of our relationship, it will sever the relationship in a way that can be hard to mend. Asking for and receiving forgiveness is a form of healing and growth. We can model that, every day, in our homes. I Love You – Find every opportunity to tell your children that you love them. They know that you love them, but it makes it even better when you say it. If you want to step up your game a little, tell your child that you love them after they've experienced a significant setback. As parents, we tend to criticize our children at the worst possible time instead of letting them know that regardless of what just happened, "I love you to the moon and back! We'll get it the next time around." Everything that I just shared with you took me years to piece together and learn how to apply. Some of you might be thinking that all of these things are obvious. Well, they were not obvious to me. And, for those who feel uneasy about the things I've stated, Good. I felt uneasy, too. It's a part of the journey - a worthwhile journey. I hope these words of wisdom rooted in figuring things out the hard way serve you well. You can't buy their love, trust, and affection. You don't need a big home, car, or corner office to gain their approval. They just want you - Yes, raggedy busted up you (LOL!) - to be present and engaged. Which means that you are not raggedy and busted up. You are a gem. They see it. It's time for you to see the gem in you, too. It's there. Trust it. Until next time, you have more power than you think. Own it! #Empathy #Connection #Wisdom #Money #ModomSolutions

Prepare for Your Life of Wonder: PLOW!

Prepare for Your Life of Wonder: PLOW!

I take the back roads to work each morning because I lack willpower. As soon as I catch a whiff of coffee or freshly baked biscuits or pastries, I pull over to buy something that I shouldn't. So I have created a routine that helps me avoid the things that cause me to struggle with my budget and yoyoing waistline. But I digress. While taking the back road to work one morning, I noticed a gentleman riding on his tractor, breaking up the land beneath it. I typically wouldn't take notice of this, as you see this type of thing all the time when you live in rural Georgia. But this moment just hit differently. It was profound. He was plowing his land. PLOW! That's it. Prepare for Your Life of Wonder – PLOW! Alright. Maybe I got a little too excited. I'll admit that. But this is the point: You have to prepare the field before you can sow the seed. Hence, PLOW! How many of us get this backward? I'll admit that I have. There have been many occasions where I've sown seed on unfertile soil that either resulted in my conceding to defeat or wasting precious time and monetary resources to sow more seed. The issue wasn't the seed. It was the soil! It's easy to sow seeds of good intentions. But those seeds don't take root unless you've taken the necessary, often tedious, measures of preparing the land first. Preparing the ground is where the money resides, where the money resides - LOL! Deciding to prepare the land (your heart, mind, body, spirit, attitude, etc.) is invaluable to achieving and sustaining your financial aspirations. Doing so assures that you will reap a harvest far more significant than if you would have just sown seeds (money) at a dry, cracked, and crumbling vision. There is one caveat, however. Despite what anyone tells you, preparing the land isn't celebrated in our culture. Most people don't want to till the land. They'd instead sow seeds because it's quick and straightforward. They become so enamored with a bit of harvest that they can't perceive the magnitude of what they could have had with a little more effort. The realization of true abundance doesn't happen overnight despite what the social media influencers tell you. Preparing the land, my friend, will take time. And there will be times when you will grow tired of doing the groundwork. But this is the process. Its fruit produces personal healing and growth, mending families, building up communities, developing financial stability, and transforming one's generational legacy. Think about it: Is "it" really sacrifice when you are promised a bountiful harvest in the end? In fact, once you've seen the process come full circle, you PLOW because you begin to see how the extra work you put in doesn't compare to the amount of fruit you can yield. Fruit that not only sustains you but produces additional seeds for which you can sow to produce an even larger harvest. As you ease into the reality that you may not reach the end of your financial wellness journey overnight. Try to find comfort in knowing that plowing is the real stunt. It's always been the foundation of abundance in every domain of life. Instead of sowing seeds in this season, it might be time to PLOW. #Empathy #Connection #Wisdom #Money #ModomSolutions

Moments that Stick

Moments that Stick

... and they all cheered as he exited the vertical wind tunnel. I couldn't help but cry. I know, I know. I'm Charmin soft. At least I own it - LOL! Earlier this year, my wife and I celebrated eleven years of marriage. We've been together for 18 years - nearly most of my adult life. To commemorate our anniversary, we decided to visit Seattle, WA. We make our anniversary trip decision by choosing a major league ballpark to visit each year on our anniversary. My wife and I have cheered on the Brewers, Yankees, and Marlins in recent years. This time around, though, we wanted to go somewhere far, far away. Geographically, there was nothing further from us than T-Mobile Stadium - the house Griffey built (my favorite baseball player of all time). While in Seattle, we visited the gum wall. It still baffles me as to how this became a thing. Regardless, I joined in on the fun by leaving a sizeable lug of Eclipse mint gum near the edge of an old windowsill. That way, if we ever visited again, I could find it. We also spent a good bit of time at Pike's Market Place, taking in the sounds and feeling the people's energy. The state of Seattle had only recently relaxed its Covid restrictions. People were just happy to be out and about. It was a beautiful scene. We spent another day walking the town, another at the ballpark, and another lazily lounging around in our spacious hotel room. One of my favorite touristy things was whale watching. Outside of celebrating our anniversary day, of course, this was one of the trip's highlights. We saw a gray whale cruising calmly through the water. Only a few minutes later, a pod of 6 orca whales engaged in haunting a seal. How these majestic creatures were able to coordinate themselves, at times being 100 yards apart, through sonar alone, still blows my mind. I won't go into detail on how it ended for the seal. Let's say she didn't make it easy for the pod of orcas. After having experienced all of this, there was no way our trip could have gotten better. But it did. The day we made it back to Atlanta, my wife and I decided to catch a Brave's game and go indoor skydiving. Our hotel was less than two blocks away from both locations. It made sense to do both. I was a little nervous on the day we went indoor skydiving. I wasn't afraid of the indoor wind tunnel. I was fearful of doing something that my wife could use to roast me for the next 100 years of marriage. She has no chill - LOL! Once you get checked in, you go through a training session with other people. Our group was a good mix of young and old, experts and novices. In the short time we spent together, we learned small tidbits about each other's stories. It helped ease the tension we all shared. Nobody wanted to be the one who messed up. After suiting up and waiting patiently for our turns, I was seated next to an 11 or 12-year old young man. His name was King. He and his mother were taking a short vacation from Tennessee. King was nervous. It had gotten so bad that he asked to be skipped when it was his time to enter the wind tunnel. His mother did not force him. She went instead. While his mother was in the wind tunnel, I took it upon myself to let King know that it was okay if he did not want to do it. I reinforced that we are all proud that he had made it this far and that I was nervous too. I told him that if he did decide to go in, he would need to pay careful attention to the instructor's commands. We took a few moments to go over them to make the most out of his experience. I told him that I was proud of him and that we were all here to support him, regardless of what he chose to do. Mind you. I don't know this kid. We just happened to connect during our training. But I wanted to be a part of his tribe - his story. I didn't know if his father was present in his life or not or if another man had ever validated him. I just knew that this was what I would have wanted for someone to have done for one of my boys. To make a long story short, King built up the courage to enter the wind tunnel this time around. Not only did he enter it, the instructor saw it fit for him to do a high flight. After King's turn, everyone gave him a standing ovation and fist bumps as he worked his way to his seat. All I could see was this huge grin on his face through his helmet. When he made it to his seat, he looked over to his mother and excitedly exclaimed, "I did it!" Y'all, I burst into tears. I was so emotional that snot was coming out of my nose. It was such a touching moment - one of those sticky moments that shape us for the rest of our lives. The types of moments you can only have when faced with adversity. This, by far, was THE highlight of my anniversary trip (don't tell my wife). I want to take a moment to celebrate how far you've come in your financial journey without the immediate pressure that comes with thinking about how far you have left to go or what's next. You deserve it. I also want you to give yourself an opportunity to revisit all of your "I did it!!!" moments and recognize that you, like King, are an overcomer, too! You have more power than you give yourself credit for. I know you know it. It's time to own it! #EMPATHY #CONNECTION #WISDOM #MONEY

KOBE

KOBE

Financial vulnerability is the optimal financial growth strategy. If you follow me on #IG (@ModomSolutions), you'll note that I post this sentiment a few times a month. I believe in the power of vulnerability: that being vulnerable - of course, in the right circles - is the genesis for exponential financial growth. Why? Well, canned financial strategies don't always address the real issue(s) we face. In some instances, they simplify serve as an insufficient bandage that we lay over certain wounds. Not because we believe the wound will heal, but because we can't stand to look at something we believe can't be fixed. Kobe "Bean" Bryant's best ability was his vulnerability. He was willing to look at his wounds head-on and make the conscious decision not to allow them to fester. Kobe knew that a festering wound would weaken him and prevent him from achieving his life's goal: to prosper whatever he purposed - first basketball, then his family, and later as a storyteller and writer. With regards to basketball, he wanted "it" so bad that he asked Michael Jordan, the man he admired and desired to be better than, for advice on how he could get better. Think about that for a second. When is the last time you asked your rival for advice? Actually, when is the last time you asked anyone for help? Many of us operate passive-aggressively or as frienemies when we covet or desire what someone else has. Instead of asking them how we can get what they have, we conspire against them. We focus rather on how we can tear them down instead of building ourselves up. Sound familiar? We are so afraid to face the festering wound of our vulnerabilities that we would rather pull others down than rise up. If we never rise, how do we create wealth? If we continue to pull those around us down, how do they create wealth? If we allow ourselves to get caught in the vicious cycle of thinking that the only way we can win is if someone else loses, how do we create the type of community to support financial growth, sustainably? We won't! Even if we get the thing we covet, we won't be able to enjoy it because of how we acquired it. Then we find ourselves spending the rest of our lives evading karma because we lack a clear conscious and peaceful heart. Our vulnerabilities are not to be avoided. They are prompting us and nudging us towards and not away from the thing that will set us free. Kobe Bryant grew to immeasurable heights because he embraced his vulnerabilities. Once he identified them, he sought help - even help from the people we'd think would be least likely to help him. If the issue was not a quick fix, he had the patience to break down a large task into small steps and celebrate getting there, where ever there was at that time, one small step at a time. Kobe Bryant was able to differentiate between his ego and achieving the goal. If I know anything about life and people, I would argue that you are sitting at the same crossroads with your personal finances: ego versus the goal? Instead of revealing your vulnerabilities, you'd rather hide your wounds. There is one issue, though. The wound is only getting worse. And, as a consequence, harder to heal. It doesn't have to be this way. Instead of mimicking the iconic "Kobe!" shot with a sock or balled-up piece of paper, let's create an even better trend. Whenever we feel the weight of our financial vulnerabilities and the rising up of our ego, let's yell out "Kobe!", face or perceived shortcomings head-on, heal, and realize that becoming the best version of ourselves is the goal. I can't help but imagine that this is what Kobe meant by the #MambaMentality. Thank you, Kobe. We got it from here! #Kobe #Money #Connection #Wisdom #ModomSolutions

The Intersection of Kaepernick and Financial Empowerment

The Intersection of Kaepernick and Financial Empowerment

Despite your stance, currently or historically, on Colin Kaepernick's legacy, he represents something that most of us wish we had - choice! The choice to take a chance! The choice to speak up! The choice to say “No!” or walk away! In fact, based on the zillionth Facebook post I’ve seen about someone’s job, I’m sensing that more than a few of us dislike our workplace environment. And, despite the disdain for one’s boss or co-worker(s), most people are probably not going to do anything to compromise their employment status intentionally. To do so would result in experiencing a pretty severe financial shock like no longer being able to cover the mortgage/rent, car note, grocery bill, insurance, childcare, etc. If you believe highly paid professional athletes are not faced with the same dilemma, have you seen "Broke" the ESPN documentary? Does Colin Kaepernick currently have a job? Life gets complicated despite our socio-economic status. The more complicated it gets, the fewer choices we feel we have especially when it comes to our finances. Think about it. How many times have you said, “I would say something, but I do not want to lose my job or the social capital I’ve established.”? Sadly, many of us find ourselves wanting to take a knee but can’t. Yet Colin Kaepernick, despite the possible repercussions, chose to kneel. This brings us to a critical point... Financial empowerment optimizes choice! To optimize choice in our own lives, we must understand that financial empowerment is not the ability to amass more stuff. As we like to say, ‘It’s the ability to have anything you want but the wisdom not to.’ Financial empowerment should allow you to exercise choice - not limit it! Consider this, sticking with the job theme here, how long can you currently go without your paycheck to pursue a career path you absolutely love? (You might be surprised to find that many doctors, lawyers, and engineers live paycheck to paycheck as well). Financial empowerment is the ability to have anything you want but the wisdom not to. Now let’s say you don’t have any bills. The house and car are paid for, student loans are taken care of, and you don’t have credit card debt. How long do you think you can go without your current paycheck to find the career path you love in this scenario? Despite how much money you earn, the former lifestyle will more than likely limit your capacity for change. The latter opens up the possibility to explore opportunities that would not be feasible otherwise. If we are honest with ourselves, we’ve all had a moment when we’ve wanted to take a chance but couldn’t. We’ve all had a moment when we’ve chosen to be silent when we should have spoken up. We’ve all had a moment when we’ve wanted to leave a toxic situation but decided against it because it placed food on the table. We’ve all been there and will continue to be until we change the financial narrative from stuff to empowerment, from financial bondage to financial freedom, from the myopic lens of now to the expanded lens of endless possibilities. Financial empowerment optimizes choice! How might you live life differently if you focused on working towards building your capacity for financial empowerment? If you ask me, I think you might find the audacity to follow in Colin Kaepernick’s footsteps and take a knee. - Until next time. You have more power than you think. Own it! -

Scaling Down is the New Rich!

Scaling Down is the New Rich!

I was watching a video on building my own tiny house the other day. Yes, it is my goal to retire in a tiny home, on a lake, with my wife, a dog, and as little stuff as humanly possible. Why do we need “stuff” anyway, right? Imagine how much more fulfilling life would be if we weren’t slaves to the American dream... The American dream for many of us has become tied to our ability to have a nice car(s), spacious home(s), great vacation(s), a comfortable living (the ability to buy more stuff), and to make sure that in all our getting others are aware that we got it. Ask yourself: Are you really buying that car or purchasing that home because you want it? Or do you have a burning desire to signal to others that you’ve arrived? Maybe your self-worth is tethered to all the compliments and attention? Regardless, we all have our reasons for choosing to partake in the rat race of life.

The American dream is incredibly elusive. According to a 2019 study by Ameriprise, only 13% of the millionaires polled felt rich. T.I. (Tip Harris) even mentions in his song On Top of the World...“ Remember sayin’ damn if I could just get to a million-plus / And now I’m like s#@! what the f@$% is a million bucks.”

I know what you are thinking. You would still like to have a million bucks. You want those problems. You'll relish in that smoke - LOL! Money gives you options. However, if money gives you options, do you ever get to a point where you can opt-out? When is enough, well, enough? There will always be a new toy or the latest and greatest thing that you've been told you have to have. When does it ever stop? It doesn't. There is no end to more.

Think about it this way. What if you could condition yourself to want less? For instance, instead of entering into a car loan every 3 to 5 years, what would become of your savings by keeping the same car for 15 years? I have, roughly. Panda (my car) and I have been in a committed relationship for 14 years. Let’s do the math.

Based on some data pulled from Credit Karma, the average car note for a new car is $568.

So, let’s say you pay off the car in 5 years and save $568 every month over the next 10 years. That would amount to $68,160 in savings (And that’s without investing the money). If you invested this money and yielded a conservative return of 6% over that same period, you would have $93,000. Wait there's more! The average annual rate of return yielded by the S&P 500 from 2010 to 2020 was 13.6%. Under this scenario, your savings would amount to $143,662. Boom!!! Now, how much could you save if you did this for two car payments? Or Three? Basically, you would be in a position to pay cash for a home. And, depending on where you live, you would be in a position to acquire a revenue-generating rental property or two. That's a win-win if you ask me.

Not only would you have the freedom that comes with not paying a car note or a mortgage, but you would also be in a position to take ownership of your life. For instance, you'd have the type of freedom to walk away from a job you hate that pays you just enough to impress people you don't like. You'd feel empowered to speak up and out about social ills and injustice without fearing the consequences of doing what's right.

You could take chances, fail, take more chances, fail, take more chances and fail again, knowing that you are financially secure and can endure living comfortably on a modest income. How many people can say that they can do this? Unfortunately, many rich people can't either.

The next time you hear the old biblical saying that the borrower is a slave to the lender, it could also be argued that chasing the elusive ideals of the American dream induces a perpetual state of borrowing that one cannot escape. So, which comes first: debt or the American dream? You know where I stand.

-Until next time. You have more power than you think. Own it!- #Debt #AmericanDream #TinyHome #Money #Wisdom

How Sturdy is Your Financial Base?

How Sturdy is Your Financial Base?

A client of mine exceeded her financial baseline the other day. It was a proud moment. She went from saving 20 dollars a week to 25 dollars a week. I was pumped!!! You should have heard me. I was screaming, 'Let's go!!!!' during our meeting. She was amused but did not understand why I was so excited. She quipped, "It's only five additional dollars." I said, 'Only??? Only???? No. Those five additional dollars represent how you've steadied the ship and have greater financial stability. They represent how you've created and stuck to your spending plan. They represent you breaking emotional and psychological barriers. They represent you trusting me; You stated that you were skeptical about all of this. They represent a change in your mindset and demeanor. You are more confident. You are more at ease... YOU ARE WINNING!!!!" She replied, "How am I winning when I feel so behind?" I quickly interjected, "Comparison is the thief of joy. I do not celebrate people who can easily save $1,000 a month. That's their baseline. They should be doing that. It's easy. There was no discomfort to do so. They aren't stretching themselves. You are. In my eyes, positioning yourself to save five additional dollars a week is worth more than someone who can easily save $1,000 a week... You are winning. And you are a winner." That interaction reminded me to write this post because too many people give up when they are winning. The issue is that they can't see they are winning. They don't feel like a winner. That's why I recommend people get a financial coach - at least for a year. You need somebody to see and guide the new you until you can recognize and consistently operate in the new person you've become. In fact, you might be that person I'm talking about. And, yes, if "all" you've been able to do is push yourself to save five dollars more than you were originally comfortable with, that's a win. You've exceeded your baseline. Now you have a new one. From this point forward, you'll keep making slight changes to exceed it a bit more. And little by little, what seemed like little progress turns into a force to be reckoned with - You! When it comes to your financial baseline, you can overdo it too. Sometimes you might push yourself harder than you have the capacity to mentally, emotionally, and financially handle. You might notice significant discomfort during these times. This is your mind and budget telling you that you've gone a little too far. Trust me; you are not going to make up for your lost time in a month. I've tried. It doesn't end well. Instead, listen to those cues and slow down a bit. You should feel some stress, but not to the point where it feels unbearable. Unbearable stress is not healthy. And let's be honest, it's not enjoyable either. Your financial wellness journey will induce a little stress, but it should end with feelings of accomplishment and newfound confidence - not anxiety or shame. It's okay to start exactly where you are. Otherwise, you'll set unrealistic expectations that are not achievable because you do not have the capacity to achieve them in your current base. If you know you can't sit down and budget for an hour, how long can you stay focused on the budgeting process? Start there. That's your baseline. Even if it's a minute, from there, gradually stretch the length of time you can stay engaged with the budgeting process. And, instead of one budgeting session, break it up into small ones that align with your current capacity. The way you engage with money has to be congruent with your financial capacity or baseline. If your financial activities and capacity are out of alignment, you will not sustain the effort needed to see progress. Plus, you'll start keeping score in an unhealthy way. Keeping score is not about how well someone else is doing. Keeping score is about self-awareness and knowing whether you are doing your best or not. You and only you can determine whether or not you are hitting the mark. And, to do this, you have to play fair by doing the following: Extend yourself some grace so that you can embrace where you are. A seed has to be planted before it can become a tree. Do not compare your progress to the progress of others. Their situation is different from yours. And that's okay. You can still win your race. That's the only race that matters! Employ self-compassion while you strive to get to where you wish to be. You are going to slip up from time to time. That's a part of the process. Falling means that we are strengthening the muscles we need to walk. Keep strengthening those muscles. Embrace that growth takes time and that the fruit from your efforts will withstand the test of time. That's the real stunt: lasting success! Surround yourself with people who see what you are becoming instead of those that will only remind you where you've been. Knowing your baseline is incredibly important. It's your foundation. As I stated to my client, it takes a lot to establish or re-establish one's foundation. Once it's sturdy, you can build on top of it. Unfortunately, most people settle for building on a flimsy base and hope that it will hold. That's not you. Go slow to go fast. You got this. You are right where you need to be. Embrace your financial base. It's the source of your future success! #Baseline #Money #Wisdom #ModomSolutions

Is it too Personal?

Is it too Personal?

If you've ever suffered through hearing me speak in a class, during an online course, or at a conference - LOL!, you've heard me say that we have to find the delicate balance between the personal and relational sides of money. Money is personal because we have to be mindful of our beliefs (limiting or freeing), attitudes (optimistic or pessimistic), and behaviors (optimal or suboptimal) about money. Money is relational because we have to know how someone else's beliefs, attitudes, and behaviors can influence our relationship with money. Or how ours might impact theirs. Whether we see it or not, we are navigating one extensive system of constant interactions with people, institutions, and culture that are shaping our financial outlook on life. Along the way, we are bound to experience hurt, joy, betrayal, and triumph. Money is personal and relational. Your perceptions about saving are personal and relational. You may want to save, but you don't trust the banking system because of how the local bank in town has treated your family. Your ideas about sharing a bank account with your partner are personal and relational. You may have shared an account with your last husband, and he emptied it before abandoning your family. You'll never share an account with another person again. Your attitude towards investing is personal and relational. You grew up watching your uncle make a fortune from investing. To your way of thinking, why would anyone not invest? Your inclination to have or not to have conversations about money is personal and relational. You watched your parents have respectful and loving exchanges about money. Not being able to do the same with your partner makes you feel empty and less connected. You aren't who you are with money just because you are that way with money. Your perspectives on money are a result of the system(s) you've had to navigate or endure. To think of it another way, your firmly held views about money today are a reflection of the past: financial messages, experiences, interactions, and consequences. I know, I know, mind-blowing, right?!?! It's not easy to see this relationship when you are single and navigating life on your our terms. There is no accountability. There is no one to challenge your views; however, this personal and relational side of money exposes itself when you enter a relationship with someone else. Your past, good, bad, or indifferent, is put to the test. Theirs is too. You are forced to consider that others do not hold the same money perspectives because they do not share your financial experiences. For them, it's not as personal. And because it's not as personal, they have the capacity to see things differently. And that's okay. Different is not deficient. Vulnerability, understanding, and empathy thrive here. Don't run from it. Embrace it. If you want to be successful with money and build the future you hope for, you will have to explore and evaluate the relational side of your money: Why is it so personal? Otherwise, it will always have power over you - regardless of how much money you can amass during your lifetime. Once you've teased out that experience or interaction, ask yourself the following question: Is what I've experienced always true? If it isn't, then is it acceptable for me to respond in the way that I always do? Change isn't easy. But knowing that there are people like you who've cultivated a different relationship with their money shows that it is possible. Maybe you can too. It's not too late. Own it! #ModomSolutions #Money #Personal #Relational #Wisdom

Buy the Community.

Buy the Community.

Homeownership is not enough to close the wealth gap. There. I said it. Studies consistently show that Black households seek homeownership later, pay more over the life of their mortgage, are less likely to sustain said home, and see less home appreciation than their White counterparts. Homeownership is a step in the right direction, but we have to address the why behind these other issues. If careful consideration is not taken when purchasing a home, an unsuccessful attempt at homeownership could set a Black household back emotionally and psychologically - let alone financially. Due to a tunnel-vision-focused approach towards Black home-ownership, we are missing the mark by a mile. People don't tell you that successful homeownership and the value that comes from it boils down to community equity - not homeownership. I liken community equity to investing: the community is the company, and the home is a share of its stock. The value of that stock fluctuates with the desirability of the community. Think about the area in which you live. Jot down all the different neighborhoods in your surrounding area and rank them: 1 being horrible and 10 being great. How much are you willing to pay to live in the great community? How much are you willing to pay to live in the horrible community... You get my point! Yes, a home can have beautiful hardwood floors, a jacuzzi tub in the master, and a backsplash to die for in the kitchen. Still, if the community is not desirable, the home will not be as desirable. To make matters worse, if someone purchases more home than he or she can maintain, he or she will have less money to spend in their community (if you are even intentional about spending in your community) to build up its economic strength - thus suppressing the overall value of their home. Having limited financial resources also means that one might have to work more to make ends meet. This means that this person is less available to tend to the needs of their home and community. Now, imagine an entire community of individuals with limited time and resources to maintain their homes. If they can't maintain their homes, then there is no way they can maintain the community that drives their home's value. Being labeled a "Black" community does not make things better, which is why you have to be vigilant about debunking harmful stereotypes about blackness. Man, this post is down-right depressing and exhausting. Avoiding these issues, however, just is not an option. If homeownership is to work in favor of Black communities, Black communities must prioritize community over homeownership. Prioritizing the community results in better management of financial resources and greater community involvement. Greater community involvement facilitates connection. Connection encourages greater care of personal and community resources. Strong community resources and amenities drive community desirability. Desirability creates demand. Demand, along with a limited supply, drives home prices. Higher home prices lead to greater tax revenue that can be used to improve your community's desirability and, ultimately, the value of your home!!! I hope that studies will someday show that through a commitment to the Black community, Black households purchase homes earlier, sustain those homes, and experience home appreciation on par if not greater than industry averages. But, to accomplish this, you (we) have to focus on buying the community - not the home. #ModomSolutions #Wisdom #Money #Community #HomeOwnership #OwnIt #WealthGap

I'm Built Different (Maybe???)

I'm Built Different (Maybe???)

Yo, real talk, I have been criticized every step of my financial wellness journey. None of those criticisms have deterred me from living my best life. I'm just built different. Everything I've done to improve my financial well-being, I did it before it was fashionable in the Black community. I cut my cable before cutting the cable bill was cool. I haven't had a car note for nearly 14 years. In fact, I've had the same car for 14 years. Now you know you get no love in the hood if you ain't pullin' up in the new-new at least once every year or two. Nobody cares about how much you have in your 401k account (although they should). But the fam will swing through if I pulled up in a Tesla, though. I've always managed my credit score. It has been in the 800 range for as long as I can remember. My savings rate has been 15% or higher since forever. I've been engaged in investing since my college years - 2001. My financial love language is giving. I'm not a material person. I'd rather spend money on causes that have a real impact on the community. And, every step of the way, someone has had something off-putting to say about the way I was livin'. I didn't care then. And I don't care now. I'm built different. Do you know how many times I have to hear, "You be actin' like those rich white folks." - LOL! A lot. How is that any different from saying, "You talk white."? I don't care. I'm built different. Not as in you are actin' White, but as in you are realizing something innate...Come to think about it; maybe I'm not built different. Maybe I'm tapped into the wisdom of my ancestors. Maybe good stewardship, generosity, and wealth creation are #BlackFinancialCulture. I like that. There is nothing different about me. I'm not built different. I'm only now realizing the extent to which Black excellence resides inside of me. Wow, that's powerful! So, if you find that those close to you don't get that you are trying to build a solid financial foundation for generations to come, don't sweat it - own it! The ancestors knew what they were doing when they called out to you. #ModomSolutions #Money #Wisdom #BuiltDifferent #BlackFinancialCulture #OwnIt