Thursday, October 13, 2005


In the minds of ordinary wage earners, money not only talks, it also walks and much of ruling the world as well. But earning money is a favourite subject among many not-yet-haves. We all like to hear success stories except we don't want to work that hard. So don't feel shy about digesting some of these good tips. You will never know when you are going to need them one day.

IN THE current wave of economic upheaval that is sweeping its way across
the globe, the natural response for some people is to write books on
money. This book is a product of such a response. The only difference is
that it is a litany of success stories about African-Americans who did it
their way.
It would be too simple to conclude that Money Talks is written
exclusively for the African-Americans. Their stories and the lessons
therein can be adopted and applied by any ethnic community.
It is a collection of life's episodes of hard work, planning,
persistence and, in some instances, sheer willpower to succeed. There are
20 Rocky-like stories for the aspiring businessman or the interested
These African-Americans who have succeeded in their endeavours recall
their personal experiences of overcoming daunting odds to reach their
present enviable positions. To hear them say it is to conclude that there
is absolutely no short-cuts to fiscal triumphs. Success involves
diligence, a willingness to overcome major setbacks and supreme confidence
in one's abilities.
Take, for example, the case of Glinda Bridgforth. She's the chief
executive officer (CEO) of Bridgforth Financial Management Group. Her
change of fortune began with financial disaster, divorce and near
bankruptcy. And that was less than 10 years ago. Fortunately for her, she
was born with a spine of steel. As soon as she hit the bottom, she bounced
back like an enraged tigress. Bridgforth has been called a `New Age Guru'.
She believes in messages, beliefs and actions.
Says Bridgforth, `The exercise takes you from the message that you
received to the belief system you have developed based on that message and
then what action pattern you have developed as a result as an adult. If
the action pattern is something that's detrimental to your financial well-
being, then it needs to be changed. We then develop an affirmation that
counters that belief.'
Today, Bridgforth handles about 200 clients at any one time. Besides
this major achievement, she has also published a book entitled The Basic
Money Management Workbook. Not bad for someone who had more problems to
begin with than most of us have put together.
Juliette Fairley's Money Talks is filled with moral-uplifting stories
that could dispel that cloud of gloom hovering over most financially
troubled heads. The experiences documented by the African-Americans
ranging from managing directors, investment officers to chairmans are
guaranteed to erase that dark spell of self-pity that tends to paralyse
the less courageous among us.
Each chapter of Money Talks ends with the `Last Word' as surmised by the
successful black business leader.
Reflect on the `Last Word' by Eddie Brown, president of Brown Capital
Management. Brown's advice: `Having a consistent investment programme,
over time, invested in common stocks or mutual funds is the best way to
accumulate wealth or financial independence. You have to work at it, and
you have to have a consistent plan where you are investing a portion of
your cheque every month in good times in the market and bad times. That's
dollar cost averaging. Invest as much as you can spare. The problem for
younger people is they should have a budget, and part of that budget
should be a certain amount for investing. Otherwise, they will never have
anything available because they tend to spend above their means.'
If, for a moment there, the reader concludes that a person can only be
successful after long decades of perseverance, he could not be more sadly
mistaken. Success is not the exclusive property of the more mature and
experience professionals. Success belongs to whoever who strives for it.
John Rogers, president of Ariel Capital Management, is one such person.
Four years ago, at the age of 34, Rogers earned the distinction of being
featured in Time magazine as one of the 50 future leaders under 40. Today,
at 38, Rogers is worth US$ 10 million. In Rogers' view, the best asset
allocation plan is `50 to 60 per cent in stocks through mutual funds, 25
to 30 per cent in real estate, and the rest in money market funds or bonds
for safety or conservatism.'
If you are not sure what that means, seek out someone who is well versed
with the complexities governing financial markets and urge him to brief
you in layman's English.
Rogers' `Last Word': `African-Americans have to invest money - that`s
the bottom line. We have to have our money working for us. It is more
important than ever because Social Security might not be with us forever.
You have got to make your own investment decisions and start putting away
money on your own, or you might not be able to retire in the style that
your parents did or that your peers are doing.'
Advice like that can easily be adopted by any of us who is not African-
American. It makes plain economic sense, no matter which way you look at
One of the book's pleasing qualities is the plain talk by all the 20
black finance experts. Understandably, they eat, sleep and breathe the
atmosphere that reeks of money, so naturally they are quite at home
relating their own experiences in a language that is free from befuddling
financial jargon.
There is little in Money Talks that escapes understanding for the
ordinary non-financial person. Call it `straight from the shoulder' or
`shooting from the hip', the classic pieces of advice are often simple and
Barbara Bowles, president and CEO of The Kenwood Group, has this to say,
`The most important thing that African-Americans need to do with their
money is to quit spending it on material possessions and instead invest it
in ways that will help them increase their net worth. Buy the house rather
than rent. Don't just put your money in the bank unless that`s the only
place you can think of. But put it there rather than spend it. You can
earn more money buying Treasury bills than you can in the cash markets.'
There are cases in this book that will surely apply to a wide range of
people with different backgrounds. It is heartening to know that those who
were born in less-than-privileged circumstances can still emerge
victorious after adopting some sensible approaches towards attaining
financial independence and security.
Since there are plenty of people like that elsewhere, it is our duty to
listen to their words of advice. And this book is overflowing with such
sound advice. Live long and prosper!

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