Have you ever wondered why African Americans seem to part so easily with their money, or why we seem so financially illiterate? Maybe you question that fact that the wealth and income gaps continue to increase even though we have access to information and education. Have you ever wondered why we'll own a car that is more valuable than our house, or perhaps we own a Land Rover and still have a landlord. To get more information in the Land Rover/Landlord Syndrome, listen to my podcast at http://soundcloud.com/tifftalks/wealth_gap

Here are five things you can stop doing now if you want to get on the road to building wealth.

1)      Stop living paycheck to paycheck

Create a monthly budget and stick to it. Don’t use MISC. as a category. Everything should be listed so you have an accurate account of how you spend your money. After you’ve had a chance to prepare your budget, look for things you can live without or reduce.

2)      Stop shopping at Rent –a – Center

Buying major purchases like furniture, electronics and appliances from rent to own centers is a recipe for financial disaster. If you can afford monthly payments, put those payments in your monthly budget and a savings account. Buying with cash is cheaper than paying double digit interest on large purchases. Paying with cash also gives you leverage when negotiating a price for large ticket items.

3)      Stop splurging with your income tax return

Your income tax return is better spent paying off high interest credit cards, opening a savings account, or paying off delinquent accounts on your credit report. Improving your credit score will make it easier to get lower interest loans and can even affect your eligibility for certain jobs.

4)      Stop Using Check Cashing Centers

Open a checking and savings account at a credit union. Credit unions don’t usually have the fees banks have and may have lower mandatory minimum account balances. My credit union only requires me to have $5 in a savings account to keep it open. Having a checking and savings account also makes you eligible to participate in your employer’s direct deposit program. Direct Deposit is free and your money is available immediately.

5)      Stop  ignoring the bill collectors

Ignoring a problem only makes it worse. If you negotiate a reasonable payment plan when you know you’re going to run into some financial difficulties, creditors may be more understanding. Don’t’ wait until you’re more than 30 days late to fix the problem. The longer you wait to deal with a financial hardship, the more you limit the options that may be available to you. For example, if you know you’ll be getting fewer hours at work and you won’t be able to make your $100 payment, call your creditor and see if you can negotiate a $50 payment for 6 months. You will be surprised what a creditor will agree to if they have an opportunity to talk with you BEFORE you’re late on a payment.

For more information about African Americans and the wealth gap, listen to my podcast:

03/30/2011 12:01am

Living without an aim is like sailing without a compass.

04/15/2011 1:20am

Those who wish to seek out the cause of miracles, and to understand the things of nature as philosophers, and not to stare at them in astonishment like fools, are soon considered heretical and impious, and proclaimed as such by those whom the mob adores as the interpreters of nature and the gods. For these men know that once ignorance is put aside that wonderment would be taken away which is the only means by which their authority is preserved.

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