Raising future wealth builders – teaching children about money – Brief Article

Raising future wealth builders – teaching children about money – Brief Article – Editorial

Earl G. Graves

When BLACK ENTERPRISE launched the Black Wealth Initiative nearly two years ago, I stressed that this was not a short-term campaign, but a multigenerational crusade aimed at inspiring effective wealth-building strategies not only for us but for our children and our children’s children. Since then, tens of thousands of people across the country have joined the initiative by ordering our free Wealth Building Kits and signing the Declaration of Financial Empowerment. (You can still get a free kit by calling 1-877-WEALTHY or logging on to www.blackenterprise.com.) The resulting appetite for information about investment strategies, options, and opportunities has resulted in our issues on investing and money management–including this one, which focuses on family finances–becoming the most popular among our growing following of enthusiastic subscribers. This is despite–or perhaps even because of–the current economic slowdown and the trepidations it brings.

We are off to a great beginning–but it is just a beginning. The true measure of the success of the Black Wealth Initiative will not be measured by the growth of our own net worth but by our collective wealth 20, 50, even 100 years from now. With total money income for black Americans projected to approach $565 billion by the end of this year, according to BE Board of Economists member Dr. Andrew Brimmer, we now have the potential to pass on more wealth to our progeny than any previous generation of African Americans. Therefore, it is critical that we not only adopt effective and disciplined wealth-building strategies for ourselves but also teach and reinforce those principles in our young people. Simply put, we must not only pass wealth on to future children. We must also teach them what to do with it.

These priorities are embodied in two key principles of DOFE: to teach business and financial principles to our children, and to ensure that our wealth is passed on to future generations. We must take the time to teach the young people we come into contact with in our schools, in our community centers, in our social service and professional associations, and in our churches about the financial markets. We must talk about them and the economy in our family rooms or at our kitchen tables, even though discussion of such topics may not have been a part of our experience growing up. And we must create and take advantage of business and financial education programs, such as our annual Kidpreneurs Konference, aimed at teaching entrepreneurship and money management to our kids.

Finally, the wealth-building agenda is not complete if you have not taken action with regard to estate planning, including the establishment of a will. To accumulate wealth during your lifetime without taking steps to protect it and leave something for your progeny to build on is both foolhardy and wasteful. Do not wait–do it now.

The principles of DOFE represent an opportunity not just for individual commitment but for households and families of all varieties to commit to as well. We create a lasting family legacy by preserving wealth, and raising future wealth builders to leave it to.

COPYRIGHT 2001 Earl G. Graves Publishing Co., Inc.

COPYRIGHT 2001 Gale Group