Dennis Kimbro, a professor of business at Clark Atlanta University, spent seven years interviewing millionaires for his book: “The Wealth Choice: Success Secrets of Black Millionaires.” These folks included filmmaker Spike Lee; Bishop T.D. Jakes; Cathy Hughes; and Gregory B. Levett, the owner of four funeral homes in the Atlanta area.
What millionaires have in common: They made a conscious decision not to be poor, and at one point in their lives, they could have all been classified as poor. I can tell you unequivocally that wealth is not a function of gender, it’s not a function of race, it’s not a function of conditions or circumstances, and it’s not a function of how the cards were dealt. Wealth is a function of choice. It’s a function of decisions. It’s a function of effort. It’s a function of faith.
What makes them different from the rest of us: They want to make sure their savings and investing makes them comfortable in life. There’s no beating on the chest for these men and women. They’re so thrifty and frugal. The average black millionaire has less than $2,500 in credit card debt. When I asked, “Outside of your mortgage, how much do you owe?” the answers came back less than $10,000. Twenty-five percent use coupons. The lesson here is that you can’t build wealth if you’re spending. Money isn’t what you earn, but what you keep.
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