MONEY MATTERS Author Urges African-Americans to Invest in Their Futures
Mathis, Karen Brune, The Florida Times Union
Former Atlanta Mayor Andrew Young said politics doesn't control
the world -- money does. With that in mind, "we ought to begin
to understand how money works and why money works," Young said.
His quote, among 50 others, is included in the book, Smart Money
Moves for African Americans ($21.95, G.P. Putnam's Sons),
published in January.
Author Kelvin Boston, a former financial planner and now host of
The Color of Money PBS program, said he is often asked why he
wrote a money management guide targeted to African-Americans.
"It's my feeling that people's culture influences the way they
manage money," Boston, 41, said in an interview.
Until the 1964 Civil Rights Act, most African-Americans worked in
low-paying jobs with few pension benefits and little disposable
income. Economic empowerment was not a major thrust of the civil
rights movement, Boston wrote.
"Since then, we've been trying to do it by trial and error, and
making a lot of mistakes. We've been trying to spend our money
to access the American dream rather than investing it to achieve
the dream," he said.
Boston visited Jacksonville recently to participate in a benefit
for the Jacksonville Public Libraries.
His objective is to help readers, especially those with incomes
of $25,000 to $50,000, increase their net worth by $200,000 to
$500,000, based on investing 10 percent of annual income.
"The result is that, in 10 to 20 years, you could have a net
worth of over a half million dollars," he wrote.
Boston's advice is universal, although specifically intended to
help African-American families build wealth.
"Right now, we're in an economic rights movement in this
country, and I think that this book represents that movement,"
According to the U.S. Census, the nation's 33.12 million
African-Americans comprise 12.6 percent of the nation's
population. African-Americans are more strongly represented in
Jacksonville, at 21 percent of the population.
However, African-Americans average a net worth of $10,651, while
white Americans average a net worth of $51,191, reports Black
And Boston reports that only 7.5 percent of African-American
households earn $50,000 or more and on average earn $21,162.
His first piece of advice: Develop a written financial plan and
to start investing as soon as possible.
"Only funds invested for the long term can help you increase
your net worth," he said.
To build net worth and financial well-being, Boston details
seven financial moves.
Create a wealth-building plan
"For most of us, we will look at 20, 30 or 40 years" of
investing, Boston said.
He reports that long-term investing is the key to building net
worth, and the place to start is with a written plan. And he
recommends carefully choosing a financial planner.
Boston suggests getting references from friends or professionals
who have used planners and by checking credentials to make sure
the planner has experience. He recommends interviewing at least
To create a plan, an investor must figure out: How much money is
coming in, how much is going out and how much is being saved.
On average, African-Americans spend 84.4 percent of their
income on living expenses, compared with the national average of
82.9 percent, he reports.
He urges households to look seriously at every dollar spent and
to cut back on impulsive purchases.
Invest in yourdreams every payday
Boston advises households to save 10 percent of take-home pay,
if possible. …