I think Dr. King would say that Black folks need to get educated on financial literacy – period. We need to understand that just because you earn more, you don’t have to and really shouldn’t spend more. He’d say, we need to read more and invest in personal development as opposed to being the overall TV watchers in the country at 57 hours per week in front of a television screen. We need to encourage our children to love education, but not just go to college and major in the easiest subject they can find so they can say proudly one day, “I’m college educated.” We need to steer them toward high-wage disciplines like technology, innovation, science and manufacturing.
He’d say, we need to spend more time on the internet learning and dissecting what’s happening in the news, politics and financial arena. We do not need to continue to spend upwards of 50% of our online time on social media and gossip sites.
I think Dr. King would say yes it’s time to do better with personal finance, but he’d want us to be educated consumers, aware of how we utilize our resources and invest our time. Sure we’ve made great strides in access to education and financial means. Now, let’s use them to help the next generation compete economically in a global economy and begin to leave the legacies we were intended to.
But while we can take well-earned satisfaction in how far we have come, there is still further we can go.
Are we doing what we can to ensure that the next generation of Americans can compete economically and provide for those facing retirement? Other countries, especially India and China, are running hard to beat us in high-wage activities like technology, innovation, and manufacturing, not just low-wage occupations as in the past, by investing in education.
But, rather than producing more high-wage jobs and the well-trained workers to fill them, our nation is producing more people in poverty and lower wages, even as corporate profits and bonuses stand at record levels.
The events and circumstances Americans find themselves in today is eerily similar to what was taking place in the early to mid 1960’s. In fact, Dr. King was fighting for parity and equality for all employees, advocated for government to assist in changing laws to help provide a more level playing field when it comes to job opportunities, equality, civil rights and lodging in hotels and in restaurants throughout America.
Young African-American college graduates say they are more responsibly committed to reaching financial goals than previous generations, according to a study released Tuesday by Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance.
70 percent of African Americans age 18 to 34 said they were either “disciplined” or “highly disciplined” when it came to finances, compared to just 47 percent of those 35 and older.
Is the best course to continue divesting from our public education and retirement systems and look to the private sector to provide, instead? Or is it to encourage both private enterprise and public re-investment? Can we afford to do so? Or can we afford not to?
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