• Alex Thomas

Ownership: Where do we even start?

In my opinion, one of the topics that is discussed the most among entrepreneurs is ownership. Most entrepreneurs have found their niche and are discovering new ways to gain access to ownership and build wealth. I have learned that wealth is much different from being rich. For most of my life I thought rich and wealthy were the same thing. Well, I was wrong. I remember hearing someone put it this way; “most of the time the wealthy are the ones that are signing the checks of the rich.” Part of building wealth includes creating a money-making engine that doesn’t require hours of your time to operate. After years of that “money making” engine working, you are able to use that money and make even more money by compounding it year after year.

In the black community specifically, we understand that there is and has been a wealth gap One interesting point of view I learned about the wealth gap is that other non-minority communities are very smart and savvy with their money and we (communities of color), in most cases, have been careless with ours. For some of us, the closest thing we have come to ownership is a car or possibly a home. And even then, a car doesn’t last forever, so, a home is often all we have.

Now, business ownership is another story. There are some grim statistics related to business ownership in the Black community. Apparently, only one out of every 158 African Americans have a business. There are some reasons for this that are out of our control; however, I do believe that the Millennial Generation and beyond are beginning to understand that the old ways of doing things are not working. If we are going to gain some kind of ownership and have equity, we have to be proactive and not wait for handouts from anyone. Some parents and grandparents have been waiting for a reparations bill to be passed for many years in order to play catch up. I believe that there is a general understanding among millennials that we can’t wait for a reparations bill, we have to play the game better than everyone else.

According to Forbes and numerous sites that track financial data the median wealth of Black and Latino families could get as low as zero by 2050. As a 28-year-old who wants to start a family in the future that’s very alarming. During the pandemic, the rich reaped hundreds and thousands of profits from investing in the stock market. Most Black families don’t even own any stocks because most think of stocks as gambling or may not even know that stocks can be affordable and lucrative. As Millennials we’ve been able to see that if you invested the $80,000 we borrowed to pay for our education in the stock market we could have doubled our money by now.

So, what exactly can we do to gain ownership and begin building wealth? I am not a financial expert by any means, but I’ve picked up some things over the years.

One thing we need to be mindful of is the debt traps that can make it difficult for us to attain wealth and ownership. Here’s a list of some common debt traps that I put together. Click here for my post about 6 debt traps plaguing our generation where I explore what we can do to avoid getting trapped.

  • Debt Trap #1: Credit Card Debt

  • Debts Trap #2: Student Loan Debt

  • Debt Trap #3: House Mortgage

  • Debt Trap #4: Car Payment and Car Maintenance

  • Debt Trap #5: Payday Loans

  • Debt Trap #6: Not Having Health or Life Insurance

When we begin to ask ourselves, what is the risk/reward? How am I going to pay this loan amount off? Or, Is there a better option for me that I haven’t discovered yet? We can help ourselves begin to pin-point where to begin with our wealth building journey. Education is great but with the prices at major universities going up, we have to start finding strategies to avoid getting deep in student loan debt.

As a community, ownership becomes more attainable when we work with each other and learn the information we need in order to attain ownership. Misinformation has been a recurring problem for our communities, and because of it we have lost out on many opportunities to build wealth.

The black community makes up 13 percent of the United States. Collectively, we spend over 1 trillion dollars as consumers. If we can become the producers instead of just consumers and use our innovation to create, we can turn our “hoods” into neighborhoods and make our communities better and safer.

I have learned that if you are not careful, our pride and ego can cause us to be humbled very quickly by life. If we want to become homeowners, why do some us try to purchase the larger homes first? When we graduate college, we have $50,000 or more in student loan debt but want to buy a BMW that we can’t afford. We have less than $5,000 in our savings account but want a Birkin bag. What is more important? What will you tell your children in 2050 when the cost of living gets so high and you don’t have anything that you can pass down to them?

Our mindset and strategies have to change if we are truly going to attain ownership of our homes, business(s), block, communities etc. We have to come together and work with one another. We also need to be open to receiving new information so that we can make change for the better. We have to see the changes going on around us and learn to adapt and stop using the same unsuccessful methods.

I highly recommend reading the book Powernomics by Dr. Claude Anderson. Dr. Claude Anderson has an excellent blueprint on how we can have an established community and begin to keep the money circulating in our communities. We have to stop wanting to make others richer and learn to do it for ourselves by creating strategies to deal with debt and not have the debt consume us. Beware of bad debt and poor money management that can cost you your opportunity for ownership.

Thank you for reading my post. I hope that this post creates an opportunity for a much needed discussion within our communities. The statistics that were shared above are very concerning and we have to make sure that we are doing everything we can not to fall victim to making the same mistakes that prevent us from achieving ownership and even financial freedom. If this post can be helpful to someone please share it. What have you learned about ownership and equity? Is this a topic of discussion in your family? If you have children how can we begin teaching our children the importance of ownership and the things needed to attain ownership? Please feel free to share and comment below. If you are new to Millennial Oaks, please subscribe 😊.

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