Financial Literacy: Key to Creating and Sustaining Wealth for African Americans

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Legacy planning is a lifelong endeavor that requires patience, discipline, a strong work ethic and proficiency when it comes to the subject of money and taxes. Being “wealthy” should not only be defined in numerical terms.

Otherwise, what good does having a lot of money do for the people who are unable to enjoy it, because they are not in good physical or psychological health? For example, we have all heard about celebrity athletes who, despite having earned millions of dollars while playing professional sports, find themselves in bankruptcy. A myriad of problems may have led to their financial ruin: marital infidelity resulting in divorce, hefty alimony settlements, financial illiteracy, out-of-control spending, poor investment choices, getting swindled by unscrupulous business managers, etc.

Therefore, being “wealthy” has to entail more than having millions of dollars. Ever hear of a person who won the Lotto, only to have nothing to show for it a few short years after winning? According to a 2006 report published by the Camelot Group, 44 percent of Lotto winners spend their entire winnings in five years.

In order for the wealth to last and leave a legacy for the next generation, consumers must have a sustainable plan to ensure the longevity of wealth. Looking at the African-American community, a major area where we need to improve in order to strengthen our ability to create and sustain wealth is becoming financially literate.

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