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By Ryan Mack

– A father wakes up at 3:00AM to a crying baby.  He runs into the other room to see what is wrong and rocks the baby back to sleep.

– A father sees his son fall from a tree and break his arm.  Without thinking he picks him up and drives him to the hospital for treatment.

What will happen if the father doesn’t answer the baby’s cry? What will happen if the father doesn’t take his child to the hospital? The possible answers to these questions are so unbearable that both individuals are forced to take action. The events described above are instances where an individual uses his instinct to respond to a seemingly urgent situation.  He sees or hears a particular situation, and from past experiences, he knows that if he fails to respond appropriately there could be drastic results. He may have been doing something he felt was important at the time; however, the situation that arose was so drastic that he stopped what he was doing to attend to it.

I must warn all of you that we have a drastic situation on our hands that needs all of our immediate attention. No matter the stage of life that you are currently in, we all must find a way to take the time to learn and apply the important principles of financial literacy and economic empowerment within our lives. What are you doing that is so important that you don’t have the time to learn how to apply these important life skills? Perhaps you don’t perceive your financial future as urgent. Consider these facts?

By their 65th birthday, 93% of Americans require the financial support of family and friends or social security just to provide for the basic necessities.  (US Department of Labor stats)
Fewer men are worth $100 at age 68 after fifty years of hard work than at age 18.  (Denby’s Economic Tables)
Eighty-five percent of all people have only $250 in cash at retirement.  (Social Security Administration)
Over one-third of all Black senior citizens live below the poverty level as established by the federal government.  (US Census)
Two and a quarter million senior citizens forfeit their social security because they have to work.  (Social Security Administration)

There are two types of people in this world. There are those who are proactive and those who are reactive. The reactive person lives his or her life and responds to changes as they come. The proactive person lives his or her life by preparing in advance for things that could occur, and making his or her decisions appropriately. As a people we can no longer afford to respond to those things that have been plaguing our race for hundreds of years. We owe it to ourselves and to future generations to be proactive enough to embrace principles of fiscal responsibility as a steadfast component of our daily lives.

Financial literacy is a relatively new language to Black America and it is often very intimidating for those who are unfamiliar with its complexities. I urge you all to be patient as there is no such thing as a “quick-fix” to our current economic situation. However, as you begin to embrace and apply these principles, you will begin to see changes in not only your life, but within the lives of the loved ones who surround you within your community—and even beyond.

Check out more of Ryan Mack, our new NewsOne Financial Blogger at his site

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