Financial Streams of Consciousness...
Sixty-nine is the unenviable position where many Black men have found themselves entrapped. This is the average life expectancy of a Black male in some areas of the U.S. More generally, Black men, on average, live to be 71.5 years of age. Again, this is an average. If the current trends persist, the vast majority of us will live to be between 67 and 77 years of age. The higher bound life expectancy of 77 is, roughly, the average life expectancy for our White male counterparts. Why does this matter? It matters because life expectancy is the backbone of a wealth creation strategy. A financial planner needs to know your work-life expectancy (WLE). Work-life expectancy helps a financial adviser estimate how many productive earning years you may have to save towards retirement. Once your advisor has established your WLE, an advisor needs to know your retirement life expectancy (RLE). In short, this is how many years you expect to live after retiring. Knowing these numbers, amongst others, helps your advisor calculate your retirement need. The life expectancy number matters because it suggests that Black men, in general, even if we were fortunate enough to amass wealth, will not have the longevity to enjoy it. We must recognize that everyone is not living to the ripe old age of 100. Doing so may set unrealistic expectations about our life expectancy and lead us to believe that we have more time to create and enjoy wealth than we do. Now, some may argue that this is precisely why you don't save for the future - you can't take it with you. I hear you. But the elderly I work with say, " I wish I would have saved more and took better care of my health." and "I wish I had more time." People transition from "I'm going to die from something." to "I'm ready to live for something." A lot of financial advice floating around the web assumes that longevity is something most people consider. As a result, you'll see guidance encouraging people to delay retirement until full retirement age. Other sources advocate that individuals try to hold out until they are 70. Based on what we currently know about Black men, these strategies are sub-optimal and come off as tone-deaf given the limited longevity of many Black men. Without good health, there is no wealth - or at least the type of wealth we fantasize about. So, what can we do about it? Not financial advisors, but Black men. The most obvious thing we can do is prioritize eating better. Heart disease is the number one cause of death in Black men. This information isn't new. We all know that we need to eat better. We struggle with this for many reasons. One reason is that we may not associate good health with a financial benefit. Another reason might be that we grew up in a culture where comfort food, saddled with calories, is standard fare. Lastly, fast food is designed to be addictive - craveable as the industry likes to call it. Many of us don't realize that we've become slaves to food that lacks nutritional value and do not promote optimal health. I can go on and on. But what about the financial benefits of prioritizing good health? Good health helps lower health insurance premiums, garners cheaper life insurance rates, helps us think more clearly, increases our desire to be physically active, improves our sense of life satisfaction, and boosts productivity. All of which are associated with cash flow creation and the longevity necessary to create and enjoy wealth. Health is wealth. Wealth is health. The two are interconnected. Meaningful connections matter too! According to Susan Pinker, a longevity researcher, the top two causes of a long life are positive social interaction and close meaningful relationships. Fellas, we need to connect and stay connected. When is that last time you went on a guys trip, shot hoops with the boys, or confided in a trusted friend? We do not talk about this, but there is evidence to suggest that the quality of our relationships is vital for longevity. Men tend to isolate instead of seeking the life-giving power of congregating. We need to do a better drifting to and not away from friends and loved ones. As the old African proverb says, "If you want to go quickly, go alone. If you want to go far, go together." This applies to life expectancy as well. If you are reading this, I am not asking that you make monumental changes at the drop of a dime to improve your health and social networks. Establishing new and sustainable habits takes a lot of time and energy. But I do want you to, right now, write down a number that is your #LongevityGoal. Mine is ninety. I want to be cognitively, physically, relationally, and financially abundant well into my nineties. Now that you've established your goal, what do you need to do to make small changes to your diet, physical and psychological health, and social connections moving forward? There is more than one way to get there. Just choose things that you can do consistently over time. If you need something to remind you of your longevity goal(s), click on the photo below to pick up one of our "Longetivty Goal" tees or hoodies. What you wear shouldn't just feel good. It should make you feel good! Fellas, instead of focusing on what we are willing to die for, let's consider what we are eager to live for! #LongetivtyGoals #Money #Wealth #Health #ModomSolutions #BlackFinancialCulture
Out of Debt and Still Broke
Believe it or not, you can be out of debt and still be broke. "How?" Well, let me explain. Being out of debt means, in most cases, that you are no longer using debt to finance your lifestyle and that you have sufficient cash flow to meet your lifestyle needs. This is a wonderful thing given that high-interest debt can be costly and place a real strain on your discretionary income. Discretionary income is the money you have left over after paying for taxes and necessary living expenses. Generally speaking, less debt = more discretionary income; however, it's what you do with your discretionary income that matters most. I am not going to lecture you about your latte fix. I have one, too. In fact, I am drinking one right now. My favorite is the turmeric latte with extra turmeric from Sips Espresso Cafe in Athens, GA. If you are ever in town, make sure you swing by and get one. If enough of you do it, they might rename it the Modom Solutions latte - be sure to tell them I sent ya. Getting back to the point, it's easier to restrain ourselves from making poor financial choices when the pain from one outcome outweighs the pleasure we might experience from another. For instance, if you find yourself smothered in the financial and emotional weight of credit card debt, it is much easier to resist the temptation of incurring more debt to satisfy a compulsive spending urge. However, once our debts are paid off and we feel as light as a feather, it's much easier to justify spontaneous retail therapy when it does not involve incurring more debt. Under this type of logic, debt is the evil force behind our financial woes - not our spending behaviors or compulsive tendencies that may or may not be influenced by underlying stress. So as long as we are not incurring debt, we're in the clear. Right? No. Companies are picking up on this "Just say no to debt" trend and rebranding a new type of lay-a-way option: Only the real ones know about lay-a-way - LOL. Christmas wouldn't have been the same without it. But I digress. Companies like Quadpay, Sezzle, and Klarna have a platform where you can buy now and pay later. They know that people have associated financial harm with traditional sources of debt and not through over-extending themselves with micro-payments that eat up their cash flow and leave them in the same feast and famine cycle they experienced when buried under a mountain of bills. This is how people end up with 20 to 30 apps and subscriptions across various domains of their life and struggle to understand where all their money is going. Five dollars here and ten dollars there add up quickly. For some, this can be hundreds of dollars a month. Worse yet, some are paying hundreds of dollars a month for stuff they don't use or derive any real benefit from. Yes, you don't have debt. But you might still be living paycheck to paycheck. Yes, you don't have debt but you aren't building wealth either. Yes, you don't have any debt but you still might be operating under the same mindset while using different means to achieve your desired ends. Most experts don't tell you that the pain of becoming debt-free was the driving force behind making better financial choices. What do you do when you no longer feel that pain? It's easy to say no to a hamburger after having a heart attack. It does not mean your tastes or preferences have changed. It doesn't mean that a maladaptive behavior you turn to under pressure or duress has gone a way. This is one of the hardest part of the journey - freedom. Unfortunately, most people spend so much energy and effort getting out of debt that they fail to invest the same energy and effort planning for life without it, which leads to a very important point... ... If you don't have a plan for your newfound freedom, someone else will: You'll find yourself out of debt and still broke. #ModomSolutions #Empathy #Wisdom #Debt #Brok #Money
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
The Saved Effect
Have you ever experienced a fresh, straight out of the baptismal pool, saved, sanctified, and filled with the holy ghost Christian? You know...The one that used to be heavy in the streets - like heavy, heavy. The one that was never hesitant to tell you where you could take Jesus and stick him. The one who referred to your pastor as a pimp and the church as his... I digress. You get my point - LOl! Yeah, that friend, family, member, or associate. Once that person got saved, they didn't want to talk about anything but Jesus. They wanted to tell you how you are not living right or how much you need Jesus. They may have even told you that heaven and hell are real and that they don't want you to go to hell. While, the entire time, you are thinking in the back of your mind, "Wasn't I the one trying to get you to go to church for the past 10 years?" I call this the "Saved Effect." If you were this person or experienced this person, you realized, at some point, how annoying that person is. Instead of ushering you to the throne of the cross, they were actually pushing you further and further away. We do the same thing with personal finances! Some of us were once in debt up to our eyeballs, living paycheck to paycheck and constantly robbing Peter to pay Paul. Then, all of a sudden, you had a heart change. You decided to get your finances in order. You cleaned up your credit and started investing. Now that you've been anointed with the divine healing power of the budget, you feel called to share the good news. Now you tell people how they don't need that latte or that credit cards are the devil. In fact, you've become so passionate about your beliefs that you no longer see people. You only see the waywardness of their awful spending habits. They need to be saved like you, right? You might be well-intentioned in your efforts, but remember that you were once in a place where you did not want to hear all the useful financial advice that had been offered to you over the years. You wanted to live your life, on your own terms, without interference. Why didn't you listen? Why couldn't you hear? Why did you resist change? It could be several things, but someone trying to pester you into submission more than likely did not change your heart. As with listening to an overly zealous person about their faith, you probably felt further - not closer - to God after the conversation ended. So, yes, you might be right that some people need to improve their financial behaviors; however, people don't change because of what we say. They change because of what they see us do. As in, they see us consistently and joyfully living the life they hope for. They see our peace, calm, patience, experiences, and generosity. They see us as the type of person that can be confided in without judgment and pretense. They see us as a symbol of hope and the evidence of faith. One of my favorite quotes comes from Saint Francis of Assisi, "Preach the gospel everywhere. When necessary, use words." Instead of preaching at people and using every opportunity to tell them what they are doing wrong with their money, try speaking to their soul by walking in your financial convictions, not by attempting to induce theirs. #ModomSolutions #Money #Saved #Wisdom #BehavioralChange #Connection
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
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
A Wealth Position State of Mind
I think we have it all wrong. The balance sheet, not the spending plan, is the main thing. Let me explain. A spending plan does not capture one's wealth position. Nor is it a means to wealth creation in and of itself. This tool helps an individual or household track his or her cash inflows and outflows. You can make good money, be completely debt-free, have a detailed spending plan, and have a zero wealth position. We have placed such an emphasis on debt that some people believe they are financially sophisticated and better off because they don't have any, which isn't always the case. Like one should not assume that someone is financially unsophisticated and not well off because they carry some debt. Wealth is a calculation, not a perception. If your financial goal is establishing wealth, I believe that doing so is the result of utilizing the spending plan to execute your balance sheet aims. The balance sheet is where you analyze your wealth position and determine what might be the best strategy to improve your wealth position by a specified dollar amount or percent each year. Assets - Liabilities = Your Wealth Position! Naturally, when thinking about this equation, more assets and fewer liabilities equal greater wealth. But most people do not know their wealth position. If you do not know your wealth position, how can you effectively utilize your spending plan to work towards a better wealth position given your current financial capacity? You can't! In fact, when is the last time you made a financial decision and thought to yourself, "I wonder how this is going to affect my wealth position?" Or, better yet, "I wonder how this decision will affect my family's inter-generational wealth position?" Every decision we make can be viewed through this lens: Should I take on this amount of student loan debt? Do I need to spend this much money on a car? Should I ask for a raise? Is a $30,000 wedding necessary? Should I create an IRA? Do we need a 3,500 square-foot home? Should I invest in real estate? Is spending $1,000 a month dining out a bit excessive? Should I increase my 401k contributions? Would it better to wait instead of placing the purchase on my credit card? [ Come and join in on the fun. Add your own "How will this affect my wealth position?" question. And, as you can see, I am not telling what you can and cannot have. I am merely encouraging you to find balance in your decision making: How can you live for today and comfortably secure how you will for tomorrow?] To make a long blog post short - LOL - thinking from a wealth position state of mind helps us process and create a clear financial vision that we can execute with our spending plan. Otherwise, a spending plan can become a rudderless ship that goes wherever the wind blows (i.e., emotional spending, influenced by clever marketing, and peer pressure). And, yes, you can rationalize placing several items in your spending that should not be there. It happens all the time. Given the gazillionth meme, IG post, or YouTube video I've seen on wealth creation, I'll leave you with this... ... We do not stumble aimlessly into wealth. Wealth creation is the result of making more financial choices that improve our wealth position than not. It might be time to adopt a wealth position state of mind. #ModomSolutions #Wealth #Money #Wisdom
There is an element of empathy that most people overlook: it changes you more than the person you are trying to change. When we choose to listen, understand, and feel, our initial response to a situation is much different than the one we end with. Have you ever had one of those "If I had only known..." type of moments? I have them more often than I'd care to admit - especially with my children. Just the other day, I cut off my oldest child, mid-sentence, because I thought he was about to ask for something. All the ques were there: the timing, his mannerisms, and style of speech. He wasn't asking for anything. He just wanted to tell me that he loved me and appreciated all that I do for him. I know, I know... It was a "Worse Dad Ever!" moment. But if you are honest, you've had a worse ______ ever moment as well. I'm not the only one, dammit - LOL! If I had only known why he wanted my attention, I would have greeted him with gentleness instead of a stiff arm - ooof! Instead of justifying my response like I usually do, 'I responded like I did because ya'll are always asking for stuff!' I chose to reflect on what triggered my impatience. This is what I found: I was quick-tempered with him because we were in the process of replacing our garage door, a water heater, and our kitchen faucet right before Christmas during a pandemic. Needless to say, I don't do well when I see money leaving the bank account. I was stressed and frustrated about the "It's always something." phase we were going through - not him or a
potential request. Stress is an adversary of empathy. It isn't easy to be empathetic when we are mired in the complexities of life: emotionally, relationally, financially, and mentally. So, I have to ask: Do you even have the mental space to empathize with anyone right now? Are you well enough to listen, understand, and feel so that you can respond compassionately to others? If you answered "No" to these questions, know that it's okay not to be okay. You can't heal what you are unwilling to reveal about yourself. That said, if you want to embrace the wondrous life-giving power of empathy, you must seek first to be whole. Otherwise, you will not have the capacity to another's bucket with patience, kindness, gentleness, and peace. Empathy does not spring out of an empty well. If you are empty, running on fumes, your journey to becoming more empathetic starts where you are - not where they are. It might be time to focus on you! #ModomSolutions #Empathy #WellBeing #Money #FinancialWellbeing #Compassion
Awhile back, I had the opportunity to give a presentation to about 30 couples who wanted to improve their finances. The crowd was a mix of young and old, naive and mature. They were all rich, however, in their unique experiences with money. I enjoyed listening to them more than I enjoyed presenting. There is something powerful about hearing people's life stories. At least, for me, there is. During one part of the presentation, we would conduct a visualization exercise. The participants would close their eyes, breathe in and out deeply, and try their best to center themselves. After about a minute, I'd ask them to focus on the ticking of the clock, then the rhythm of their breathing. When the participants were completely relaxed and present, I then asked them to think of their happiest moment in life. I asked them to capture the moment: its sights, sounds, and smells. I also asked them to think about who they were with and what they were doing at the time - to feel the full emotion of that moment, to allow themselves to actually transport their entire being back into that space and time. You could literally see smiles light up across the room. After about 3 to 5-minutes, I asked the participants to focus on their breathing, then the clock's sound, and then my voice. I asked, 'What was your happiest moment?' Some people described childhood memories of spending time with a parent or sibling. A few described enjoying the warmth of the sun in the company of friends. While others shared how they had celebrated a momentous occasion with people they cared for the most. People often described laughter, stillness, peace, and calm with their moments. They felt loved! What has been fascinating about conducting this activity, then and now, is that nobody mentions money - everyone's happiest moment revolves around some sense of connection. Now, money may create the backdrop for a memorable moment; however, based on the countless number of antidotes I've heard, like going to the park, playing board games, making pizzas together, are not the types of things most people would consider a major financial burden. Most of the happiest moments I hear are quite simple and ordinary in nature. This leads me to an essential point. Your presence is more important than your presents. A genuine sense of connection, trust, warmth, and unconditional love is worth more than a pound of gold. If you've been on the grind trying to pay for the connection that others have found for free, I want you to take a step back and consider this question: Will the people that matter most to you still love you without all the things your hard work can afford them? I believe the answer to that question is 'Yes.' Now, the tougher question, are you grinding so hard because you do not feel worthy of their love? If you answered, "Yes." I want to take a moment to tell you that you are enough. There is no end to more. But there is, unfortunately, an end to you. There is an end to me. The most precious gift we have is our presence. And, when it comes to being present, studies show that it is more about quality than quantity. So don't stress there. You can still enjoy your grind. But when you aren't, be present. Take some time to relearn how to create connections without the use of money, fame, or prestige. If you do, I think you might find that you've always had what you've been striving for. #ModomSolutions #Connection #Money #Wisdom #Empathy
"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 alert: 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, awhile back, 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 invite that person out for coffee, lunch AND dinner. 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 make a meaningful contribution towards 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 own. Recognizing our vulnerabilities and need for others leads to empowerment, achievement, and well-being. "We" will take us much further than the limitations of "I". 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
Stop the Cap!
Yes, you! Quit cappin' ... "Cappin' about what?' you might ask. You keep telling yourself you do not need anybody. Now, to a certain extent, I get it. Someone very close to you has let you down. In fact, the people or person who hurt you were close friends and/or family. Am I right? It hurts. I know it hurts. It causes you to always be on the defensive. You spend hours contemplating someone's intentions and motives for wanting to be close to you. And when you build up the courage to trust again, something inside you shuts down. You grow cold, distant. I get it. But don't tell yourself that you don't need anybody because you do. You know you do. There is something inside you that comes alive when you've had trust, camaraderie, and fellowship. You know it. I know you know it. The thought of it brings you hope, but the trauma of what has happened to you won't allow you to trust that hope. May I ask you a personal question? Did you allow yourself the opportunity to grieve from the hurt you felt from being hurt or betrayed? Men, especially Black men, tend to isolate instead of congregating when we've been scarred. This form of isolation cuts off our capacity to establish the robust social networks necessary to pursue our entrepreneurial interests, receive helpful feedback and resources, and, most importantly, develop the capacity to trust again. Even love and feel again. Believe it or not, your coping strategy is limiting your capacity to achieve all the financial goals trapped in that wonderful mind of yours. You cannot execute all of it alone. You can't even get started. You don't know where to begin. It would help if you had other men in your circle to sow into your vision. They are out there. In fact, I would argue that you already know them. What you are feeling is not a weakness. It's a broken heart. And yes, men experience this too. Don't believe the cap. You need other people to level up. Regardless of what you might believe, some people want to see you level up. Extremely successful people understand the importance of having a strong team: -Russell Wilson, the quarterback for the Seattle Seahawks, has a performance team of seven individuals to help him be the best he can be on the football field year-round. -Lebron James, arguably the greatest NBA basketball player-ever (no cap - LOL) - has positioned several of his friends to build a soon to be a trillion-dollar empire. -Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson, the epitome of reinventing yourself, works with a team of high achieving professionals to execute a vision he'll cast 10 years in advance. Think about it. What he is doing right now is a reflection of what he started nearly 10 years ago. -Jesus of Nazareth, the son of the most high God, recruited twelve disciples to help spread the gospel throughout the world. And Jesus, as the scriptures tell it, was God. Does God need help? Really??? Do you know what else these men have in common besides having a team of individuals to sow into their vision? They've all experienced the bitterness that comes with heartbreak—some multiple times. I am not saying that you have to trust everybody. And, at some point or another, your trust is going to be stress-tested again. This is a part of the journey, my friend. But those moments will only reinforce and strengthen the bonds of those who actually care about you and the vision you've cast for yourself. Then, something magical happens; you and the battle-tested circle of people around you will start to achieve heights even you could never have imagined. Before that can happen, though, you gotta quit the cap. You need people; people need you. Your financial breakthrough is one meaningful relationship away — no cap. #ModomSolutions #NoCap #Connection #Money
Different Does not Mean Deficient
Honestly, I think the title says it all. Just because someone has a different financial perspective, method, or strategy than you do, it does not make their stance deficient. When we deny the space within our hearts to receive another person's ideas, we are signaling our deficiencies - not theirs. Instead of accepting the life-giving light of a new perspective, many of us prefer to droop like an unattended Peace Lilly. I hate to admit it, but I've allowed my ego to cause me to droop a lot. At the beginning of my marriage, my wife enjoyed doing everything with paper and pencil. I enjoyed using excel. I could not understand her pencil and paper method when excel is... well... superior. It drove me crazy. Whenever we would sit down to talk about money, I could not focus on what we discussed. I spent more time stewing over the fact that she would not take my lead on the best way to budget and track our spending. To make a long story short, I had to realize, and it took a long, long time, being different was not deficient. Even though I think excel is superior, my wife can account for every dollar spent any given month with her paper and pencil method. My excel sheets are always off by a few dollars - LOL! Before marriage, she paid all of her bills on time, just like I paid all of mine. Her credit score was higher than mine, and she had more money saved than I did. My attitude wasn't about what's best for us. It was about my ego, straight up. I was more concerned about a stupid process than winning. I was more concerned about proving that my way was superior. And trust me, I rubbed it in every chance I could get. I tried to nudge her into my comfort zone because I lacked the confidence and wisdom to acknowledge and appreciate her way of doing things. My biggest financial hurdle and accomplishment in my marriage has been learning to see the opportunities in our differences. And by acknowledging her differences, I learned to see the beauty in her ways. If we need something accomplished these days, I encourage her to do her thang. I've learned to shut up and get the hell out of the way because we win when she operates in her element - not mine! Different does not mean deficient - not accepting differences does. #ModomSolutions #Love #Different #Money #BuiltDifferent #Connection #FinancialEmpathy #Empathy #Wisdom