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The Only Color That Matters is Green

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The blogosphere is abuzz with talk lamenting the Pew study that found that African-American households lost about 53% of inflation-adjusted median wealth during the Great Recession. Most of the articles focus on the fact that white people only lost 16% of their wealth without acknowledging that African-Americans are adults, have power, and can make wise decisions.

There is a mentality amongst many African-Americans that white people are “out to get” us. Though there are systems in place that have historically kept African-Americans from sharing in the benefits of being an American, many of the missteps that have kept us from benefiting socially, financially, and emotionally are due to our own choices.

I can’t tell you the number of articles, blog posts, etc. that talk about predatory lending as if unscrupulous bankers are forcing people of color into horrible loan products. I see very few articles, blog posts, etc. that admit that not only are people of color, sometimes, uneducated in the arena of personal finance we aren’t even interested in learning about it.

The sooner we learn that being African-American doesn’t automatically grant you clemency for making bad choices, the better off we’ll be. It’s never been about blacks and whites as much as haves and have-nots. The only color that matters today is green. The golden rule, she that has the gold makes the rules, has never been more true. We’d better start making wise financial choices, creating generational wealth, and imbuing our children with the skills to manage and grow that wealth over time because now, the only color that matters is green.

Shay Olivarria is the most dynamic financial education speaker working today and the author of three books on personal finance. Visit her at www.BiggerThanYourBlock.com.

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+1 # Guest 2012-01-27 09:25
Even if a gun is held up to your head, u still have a choice. NOBODY can take your ability to choose. NOBODY, no sickness or circumstance!
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0 # Guest 2011-08-03 09:50
It is not until Black people begin to understand that there is no such thing as the "rich are getting richer and the poor are getting poor". The reality is the poor and the rich have the same thing and that is information. When Black people worldwide know that the only reason you are either in the have or have not category is because information is power only when you know how to use it and take action to make it happen. Ask said by Rev Ike "The best way to help a poor person is to not become one".So Black o stop being a victim hiding behind the color excuse.
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0 # Guest 2011-08-01 07:00
Shay, I can always count on you to "keep it real" when it comes to Money Matters! It is imperative that we learn more about money than how to spend it. Collectively, we don't save or invest enough, if at all. We must teach our community how money works. Starting with the children will certainly change our future. However, we all need to make changes now. Teach one another the practices that have helped others get and stay ahead in the game of building wealth. Green is certainly the only color that matters. Thank you for the efforts you make to ensure that we are all educated enough to make good choices.
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0 # Guest 2011-07-30 15:28
I agree. I just met a 17-year old male who is headed to college next week. He was expressing to me how he has no plans on ever paying taxes, believes it's the government's responsibility to ensure everyone has jobs (and yes, he included those who chose not to get basic skills), and that the white man is the devil. When asked about how he planned to manage his finances in college, his face went blank. When challenged on who was providing his scholarships for school, he stated that wasn't the point. I was sadly disappointed that the young man had already created such firm opinions on the world. I can only hope that he is willing to learn fresh perspectives, and something of personal responsibility, when he goes to college.
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0 # Guest 2011-07-30 01:00
Shay you bare dead on...we need to stop blaming others for our choices, take the initiative and EDUCATE ourselves on matters of money...and start beaching the "haves" and not the "have nots".
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0 # Guest 2011-07-29 19:47
It may be hard to admit, but knowledge is power and we are all responsible for our own choices. Until someone holds a gun to your head and forces you to do something you don't want to do, you have a choice. I, myself, often hear of people using the race card as an excuse for thier mistakes, mishaps, and poor life choices. We must take responsibility for what we do. Your right, green matters and in our individualistic society, it is up to each person to get what they want.
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