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Black people are used to being broke.  No one bothers to tell their personal story of growing up in poverty, because you probably have a friend with a better story to tell.  But times are slowly getting better, as we went from watching “Good Times” and “Sanford and Son,” to enjoying “The Cosby Show” and “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air.”  Although we’ve got some work to do, black folks are always “movin on up.”

Here are five things you can do to get your money right in 2010:

1)      Keep a budget why dontcha! If you don’t know where your money is going, you won’t know where your money went.  Budgeting is the first step toward good money management.

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2)      Save at least 10 percent of your income: If you can tithe to your pastor every week, then you can afford to tithe to your savings.  Your pastor isn’t going to save you if you get into a financial bind, and although 10 percent may seem like a lot to save, the truth is that you can do it if you cut the fat out of your budget.

3)      Put your money to work: The key to wealth building is getting to the point where your money works as hard for you as you do for it.  Put your money into investments and other instruments that can lead to natural progress in your personal financial situation.

4)      Remember the Half million dollar Happy Meal: As I mentioned in a previous article, if you save the $2.50 that it takes to buy a Happy Meal (every day for a five-day work week) and put it into an investment account that earns the average annual stock market return of 11 percent, that money will grow to half a million bucks in 40 years.  Now, imagine saving $10 per day instead?  As Einstein once said, “The most powerful force in the universe is compound interest.”

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5)      Live a wealthy life: Money should not be your primary obsession.  Instead, it is a tool for the enhancement of your life and the lives of those around you.  As you stack your “cheddar,” keep it all in perspective.  Life is a journey of love, and the wealth of your life is measured by far more than the size of your bank account.

Dr. Boyce Watkins is a Finance Professor at Syracuse University and the founder of the Your Black World Coalition.  To have Dr. Boyce commentary delivered directly to your email, please click.