Why The Next Phase of Civil Rights will focus on Economic Empowerment

In 2016, our country will elect a new president, and many speculate what America will look like after President Obama’s term expires.

Since I can’t predict the future, the one thing I know for sure is that economic power comes through business ownership, and pride in ownership of property and neighborhoods. Everyone wins when this happens.  That’s why I’m compelled to share one of the most amazing TED talks I’ve ever heard by Margarita Anderson.

My Black Year: Margarita Anderson

Margarita Anderson and her family were featured in national headlines as they lived exclusively off Black businesses, professionals, and products for an entire year. Her stand, chronicled in her book, “Our Black Year,” was called The Empowerment Experiment.

Illustration depicting a roadsign with an empower concept. Sky background.

Now, she tours the country to increase awareness about economic inequalities that starve Black neighborhoods and deny Black businesses, and how proactive support of these businesses can create jobs and curb crime in America.  Check out her video explaining her family’s experience supporting black businesses. 

Many believe the next Civil Rights Movement will be one of economic empowerment.  What do you think?

#PrayFirst | Day 3

Pray for Your Finances

Welcome to Day 3 of our #PrayFirst Campaign!

For One Week, we will pray for One Minute every hour about One Topic as One Church to One God! Pray for the first 60 seconds of every hour and watch God bless the other 59 minutes! There is power when God’s people pray in unity. Join us as we answer Jesus’ prayer “May they be ONE” (John 17:21).

If you’d like to know more about our #PrayFirst Campaign, you can click HERE. Also, you can read our Day One Devotional on Faith HERE and Day Two Family Devotional HERE.

#PrayFirst Finances

Get Rich or Go Broke Trying

Rich a subjective term. It’s an ever-moving target. It’s like trying to nail jello to the wall. Defining“rich” is as personal as taste preferences of food or fashion. Many times, even when you are considered by others to be rich, you don’t think of yourself that way.

Why? It’s all about perspective. The problem is you don’t “feel” rich. For the sake of this devotional, I won’t define rich…I’m leaving that task to you. I will, however, share a tip that’ll help you “feel” rich regardless of your income.

Fire The Jones’

We all know “that” family… the happy, perfect family who seems to have it all. Everyone has a “Jones” family on their block, and while some shrug their shoulders and don’t care that the “Jones” just brought home a new Mercedes, others feel as if they need to not only keep up but to outdo this neighbor or even friend.

Occasionally, we make questionable decisions to impress the others. The earlier we recognize our self-worth isn’t tied to our possessions, the sooner we’ll reach financial freedom. There’s no shame in driving a second-hand car with a few miles. You don’t need the pressure of working extra hours just to cover credit card payments.

Pray for Your Finances

And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:19 (ESV)

Lord, I surrender my financial affairs and concerns about money to your Divine care and love. I ask that you remove my worries, anxieties, and fears about money, and replace them with faith. I know and trust that my debts will be paid, and money will flow into my life. I have only to look to nature to see proof of the abundance you provide. I release all negative thoughts about money and know that prosperity is my true state. I commit to being grateful for all that I now have in my life. I learn to manage my finances wisely, seeking help where needed. In Jesus’ name. Amen

The Real Reason Why You’re Broke | Part 3

Live below your means…

You hear it all the time, but do you know what it means to live below your means? More importantly, have you figured out how to do that?  The truth is many people live above or beyond their means.  “Between 1993 and 2008, personal savings rates in the U.S. declined, hitting the lowest levels since the Great Depression in 2006 by falling into negative territory, according to the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis,” according to Glenn Curtis of Investopedia. It took a credit crisis and near-global economic disaster to get Americans to close their wallets and stop spending and “acting” rich.

Cutting costs

Photo Courtesy of Mint life

Are You Rich

First, let’s clarify by what I mean by “rich,” as this is a subjective term.  It’s an ever-moving target.  It’s like trying to nail jello to the wall.   Defining “rich” is as personal as taste preferences of food or fashion. Many times, even when you are considered by others to be rich, you don’t think of yourself that way. Why?  It’s all about perspective.  The problem is you don’t “feel” rich.  For the sake of this post, I won’t define rich…I’m leaving that task to you.

Recently, I shared the first reason why you’re broke is because you don’t have a budget. Remember, money without a direction will disappear. You can read it HERE.  Next, I shared the second reason you’re broke is because of bad habits.  Bad habits interrupt your life and prevent you from accomplishing your goals.  You can read about it HERE.  Now that you’ve caught your breath, let’s talk about the next reason why you’re broke…living ABOVE your means.

The Real Reason Why You’re Broke | Part 2

People will tell you what’s on their mind if you ask.  A few weeks ago I asked this question on Facebook:

As you pursue your journey towards success, what obstacle, challenge, or problem keeps reoccurring that you’d like to resolve?

Overwhelmingly, the reoccurring challenge was financial. Since my personal vision is helping people get from here to there, the first step towards getting to your “there” is clearly defining where you are now. Recently, I shared the first reason why you’re broke is because you don’t have a budget. Remember, money without a direction will disappear. You can read it HERE. Now that you’ve caught your breath, let’s talk about the next reason why you’re broke…bad habits.

Broke

 

The Real Reason Why You’re Broke

If money really could talk, what would yours say? For some, it’s saying Good-bye? Is it me or is everything more expensive? A few weeks ago my wife asks me to pick up a few items from the grocery store (bad idea).

Something told me to eat before heading there, I didn’t (another bad idea). After getting the requested items and throwing in a few “extra” snacks to curb my appetite, I couldn’t believe the final cost of 12 items. I’m shocked! Not only is food expensive, I’m discovering EVERYTHING is expensive.

Cost of Living copy

Buying a house is expensive. Cars are expensive. Buying quality foods cost more than buying processed food. And guess what, it’s expensive. Schools are expensive, especially for those paying off massive student loans with under paying jobs.

Being single is expensive. I know being married is expensive. Kids are VERY EXPENSIVE. And there’s no doubt that getting divorced is expensive. What’s the point: EVERYTHING is expensive, but that’s not the real reason why you’re broke. So if you’re ready to stop complaining about how expensive things are, then here’s the remedy — the real reason why you’re broke.

3 Proven Steps To Getting Rich

Now that I have your attention…

If you’re looking for a hook-up, shortcut, or another get-rich-scheme, STOP READING NOW!

Are you still with me?  If so, let’s proceed.  I’m not a late night infomercial salesman.  But, if you’re looking for wise advice on being smart with money, then let’s explore what being rich is all about.

briefcaseFirst, let’s clarify by what I mean by “rich,” as this is a subjective term.  It’s an ever-moving target.  It’s like trying to nail jello to the wall.   Defining“rich” is as personal as taste preferences of food or fashion. Many times, even when you are considered by others to be rich, you don’t think of yourself that way. Why?  It’s all about perspective.  The problem is you don’t “feel” rich.  For the sake of this post, I won’t define rich…I’m leaving that task to you.  I will, however, share three tips that’ll help you “feel” rich regardless of your income.

Common Sense Just Ain’t Common

My father, the late Rev. Dr. Clarence E. Stowers, Sr. was a wise man.  He had a lot of what’s missing today – COMMON SENSE.  He was an expert at summing up life with quick pithy statements.

Stay Out Of Debt

The best financial planning seminar I ever attended was my dad’s.  It didn’t involve plane tickets, hotels, conference fees, or books.  It took less than five minutes & here’s what he said:

“Son, it’s not the money you make, it’s the money you hold on to.”

  1. Make yourself a budget.
  2. Live BELOW your means.
  3. Pack your lunch.
  4. Pinch pennies.
  5. Save as much as you can.
  6. Get the education you need for as cheap as you can get it.

The art of holding on to money is all about saying no to stuff you don’t need. Say no to eating out, $4 fancy coffee, and that shiny new computer when the old one still works fine.

That’s my dad…his advice still works! LOL!

 What would you add to my dad’s list?

Jimmy John's Taught Me How To Get Rich

Last week I stopped by Jimmy John’s in Oak Park, IL to grab some lunch.  While eating, I noticed a sign on the wall that read: “Warren Buffet’s list of 10 Rules for Getting Rich.” Instead of ripping the sign off the wall and risking felony charges for theft and vandalism, I whipped out my iPad (never leave home without it) and typed the rules while enjoying a #4 Turkey Tom Sandwich with Honey Dijon mustard.

The rules were simple, yet profound.  Here’s Warren Buffet’s 10 Rules for Getting Rich in its entirety (Source: Jimmy John’s Wall – Oak Park, IL):

Friday's Top 5 Economic Trends That'll Effect You Personally

I want to begin 2011 not by reflecting on the past, but looking towards the future of life as I see it. You’ve probably noticed I’m a technically progressive pastor/leader who keeps his ear to the ground. It’s my job to be a modern day Son of Issachar – one who “discerns the times & knows what to do.”  (1 Chronicles 12:32)

Whenever we go through a major change in our culture, it seems we have to adjust to ‘the new normal.’ And today is no exception — as the U.S. economy struggles to recover from the financial crisis, Americans are being forced to reckon with more ‘new normals’ than we’d like.

Here are some of my predictions for 2011 and years to come:

Top 5 Black Friday Shopping Suggestions

What is Black Friday you might ask, It’s the day after thanksgiving, the kick off of the holiday shopping season, a day you will find great deals, and lots of people.  If you have never done a black Friday before you will need to have a plan in place.  You can’t control your job, investments or home value, however, you can control how you spend.

Therefore, before you hit the stores (you may already be out there by the time you read this), ask yourself the following questions: