Why You are Not as Financially Secure as You Think: Dr. Boyce Money…
(ThyBlackMan.com) I’d like to ask you a quick question that I ask my students here at Syracuse University. It is also a question I had to honestly ask myself when I thought I was on top of the world after spending 12 years going through college and graduate school to earn a PhD in Finance (which was unbelievably difficult). The question is this: Do you have financial security? If you don’t have financial security, do you at least have job security? If you believe your job is secure, then how many jobs do you have?
If you are like most Americans, you probably have just one job. I am not here to tell you that this is wrong. But, I am here to tell you that you might want to rethink what it means to be economically secure.
At worst, economic security is not provided by just having a high income. In fact, in some ways, having a high income can make you less secure, since you are more likely to have higher monthly expenses. To some extent, having a high income from just one job can fool you into believing that you are financially secure, when the truth is that you might be one paycheck away from economic disaster.
I am an advocate of having multiple streams of income. I had to think this way when I became a public scholar, since being outspoken can usually threaten your financial security. Getting you fired is the first thing your enemies try to do when you say something controversial. Bill O’Reilly was almost successful in his attacks on me a couple of years ago, so my financial security came in handy.
Black people sometimes forget that our financial security is the key to social, psychological and spiritual security. The easiest way for someone to shut you up or control you is for that person to know that they are the reason your children get to eat everyday. When someone controls your access to the things you most critically need, they ultimately control your fate.
How do you break the shackles of financial slavery? Let me offer a few suggestions:
1) Get a side hustle: If you are getting all of your money from one source, you are vulnerable if that source suddenly dries up. Challenge yourself to find at least 1 – 2 other ways to make a little extra money. You might consider taking a part-time job, selling Avon, cutting lawns on the weekends, anything. The amount of money you earn from your side gig probably won’t be very much at first, but if you stick with it, you’ll find that these extra sources will grow over time.
2) Save your money: Your money is similar to the water that your body needs in order to survive; that’s why cash is often referred to as “liquidity.” Imagine that you are drinking water from a faucet, and not saving any of the water in a bucket. If the faucet turns off for too long, you will eventually die. The best way to protect your self is to drink some of the water now, and then fill a bucket for the hard times.
3) Find a way to own something: Your labor is what we economists call “human capital.” You use that capital every time you go to work and you then earn income from it. But human capital deteriorates and eventually makes it difficult for you to earn what you did when you were young and healthy. Also, there are limitations on how much income most of us can earn from our human capital. By putting your money into other forms of capital, such as rental property, “side hustles,” stocks and other investments, you can have your money working for you, even as you sleep. As I mentioned in the article comparing Lebron James to Bill Gates, your money should be working just as hard for you as you are working for it. It takes time to get there, but when you do, it’s quite empowering. That gives you natural diversity of income streams, and also allows you to have a higher income while doing less work than you were doing before.
4) Learn the fundamentals of entrepreneurship and teach that to your children: If you know how to create a job, then you can make it through the tough times. It doesn’t mean you have to be a full-time entrepreneur, but by fostering an understanding of business within your children, you are teaching your kids how to find their way to financial liberation. Remember: your financial freedom is a critical key to your social and spiritual freedom. A financially secure man or woman has far more room to be courageous.
Written By Dr. Boyce Watkins