Check out this blog I came across today. More than 70% of people nationwide live paycheck to paycheck. We can blame this on income and salary but I’m learning this comes down to planning and priorities.
Most people truly make enough money to get out of debt but it’s the sacrifice and work that is lacking. Here are a few tips to help change your course if you are paycheck to paycheck.
Do you know where your money is going before it leaves your hand or your bank account. Money is meant to serve you, not the other way around. Make a plan for it. Know your goals and make a plan on how to reach them.
Don’t be afraid of the uncomfortable season that comes with relevant sacrifice to gain the upper hand in your finances. Decide what is really important and focus on meeting those goals.
Jim Rohn said in one of his speeches something to the tune of “if you do what is easy now and you will live a hard life, but if you do what is hard now you will live an easy life”
Meet Kalief Browder. He spent upwards of 3 years in prison for a crime he didn’t commit. Kalief refused to plead guilty for a crime he didn’t commit. Unlike so many other brothers, he heroically stood up to prejudiced system and maintained his innocence rather than pleading guilty to a system that would put him away regardless of evidence. Rationally many black men know if they end up in this position it’s not a matter of if they will go to prison but for how long. They have no money, no lawyer and no hope as they are pressured to confess to a crime they didn’t commit.
Every court date scheduled was either pushed back or the court appointed attorney would not show up to defend him for almost 3 years.
I listened to a blind ignorant person by the name of Candice Owens defend a foundation-ally racist judicial system with so called “statistics.” This confirms what we all need to understand. That just because it’s called a statistic doesn’t make it a fact. The statistics we are given about the crimes of blacks are tainted. As I see organizations like The Innocence Project working to exonerate wrongly convicted men and women it’s evident that throughout history until now that INNOCENT black men are arrested, charged and convicted in record numbers. Our law enforcement and judiciary system needs a complete overhaul here in America.
I watched this story on Netflix last year and it is simply a reminder of the injustices experienced by black people inside and outside of prison.
Martin Luther King Jr said “But it is not enough for me to stand before you tonight and condemn riots. It would be morally irresponsible for me to do that without, at the same time, condemning the contingent, intolerable conditions that exist in our society. These conditions are the things that cause individuals to feel that they have no other alternative than to engage in violent rebellions to get attention. And I must say tonight that a riot is the language of the unheard. And what is it America has failed to hear? It has failed to hear that the plight of the negro poor has worsened over the last twelve or fifteen years. It has failed to hear that the promises of freedom and justice have not been met. And it has failed to hear that large segments of white society are more concerned about tranquility and the status quo than about justice and humanity.”
If you have spoken up against the riots after blurring past the death George Floyd it’s because you think this is all about George Floyd. My wife referred to his death as “the straw that broke the camel’s back.” What most of you fail to understand is that this out of control response is the reaction of exhaustion. The list of George Floyd is long, deep, painful and historical. It is centuries of documented and undocumented racism that has sparked the riots we see today and we should be grateful that these riots are not equal of the wrongs that have been served up to black people over the course of time. So with one breath I am saying yes it’s wrong but what in the world did you expect?
Have you ever snapped at someone because you hadn’t had much sleep and were overwhelmed. Well the response we are seeing across America is not over this one death. It’s over a scene that plays over and over and over in our communities. The people that can’t relate are mainly the people that don’t live in dark enough skin. It’s an exhausting experience when we continue to bury family that died at the hands of a trigger happy police officer.
On top of that, we can’t even imagine the number of black people who are sitting in jail right now because the police found a black person to blame and Persecute just to appease a white family because a white family was devastated from a crime that had taken place. These numbers are overwhelming!
It’s so important for us to understand that an entire system needs to be reconstructed with the inclusion of black America helping provide attention to the flaws embedded in laws made to specifically target minorities. It’s important for law enforcement and court systems to be held accountable when the presence of color determines whether force or sentencing is unfair and excessive.
We simply need accountability! We must see justice. We can not stop demanding it! Here’s the key though. We cannot get the accountability which could be lasting in the streets. We must raid the system with minds weaponized with our knowledge of constitutional rights and organizational strategies supported by the same passion that moves towards a specified target.
I must warn you that I started my blog today speaking to anyone reading these words but my heart turned to my brothers and sisters who share to same color skin as me. I was urging readers to unplug for 24 hours, giving your soul some rest from all the chaos taking place in America. But as I began writing, I realized I didn’t have 24 hours to lose because right now every breath we take matters.
I feel incapable of describing the last few months. COVID-19 showed up and started wreaking havoc on the world, building unrest and fear in the hearts of most people as this virus is going viral faster than a kid dancing to the “in my feelings challenge” and being hit by a car. In addition, major stories broke loose in the news producing an incredible amount of tension, emotion and outrage towards the ongoing reality of the position racism has permanently held in America til present day.
This morning I asked myself a question. “How did the generations of black people before us cope with this world?” It’s a lot. It’s just a lot! Keeping it 100, for a moment, I thought, hey, it is a good idea to burn the buildings down if that’s what it takes to get the attention of systems that have oppressed us for so long! I even spoke against people who were calling the people causing the damage criminals. I considered it to be justified because of the amount of anger I felt within myself. I understand that it’s not the way, but I felt how I felt. I repented from those emotions and pulled my thoughts together to shift to solution-based thinking rather than being led by momentary passions.
Our anger is legitimate, justifiable, rational and logical but with that anger we must be completely responsible. The action we take today will determine the level of change we see tomorrow. So, the protests must be peaceful even though our souls, hearts and minds are in a state of unrest, tumult, pain and disorientation. Hell, many of us are waking up fighting depression as we speak as new videos of injustice continue daily to surface at the hands of racist citizens and reckless law enforcement. Now more than ever for our generation we must have the moral fortitude to outlast the response Donald Trump really wants, which is, please loot so that hopefully the police will shoot! We must have the mental capacity to keep pushing for all the reform we can get within our policing systems, court systems, prison systems.
We are dealing with record numbers of Unemployment where people are unable to pay bills, feeling claustrophobic in our homes through stay at home orders, trying to maneuver through a way of life we’ve never seen and cops are still killing black people in the street like black lives don’t matter.
Black people are being disproportionately impacted by COVID-19 while three police officers stand and watch while a black man dies handcuffed, under the knee of their fellow officer and none of these so called civil servants who have taken an oath to protect and serve, have the heart, the common sense, the moral decency, or the freaking basic training to lift this man up and sit him on a curb or in the car instead of watching to see how much pressure his life can take under a knee with a smirk on his face because he was aroused by the sound of a grown black man begging for his breath and calling for his dead mother.
I feel like America has its knee on our neck to see how long we will keep breathing?
We need to stop counting on Black lives to matter to others and focus on how much it matters to us. I don’t care if my life matters to you as long as police, judges, and racist white people will obey the laws and stop violating the rights of black people every single day as if we don’t have the right to sit in a Starbucks without ordering, make deliveries in gated communities, ask a white lady to put their dogs on leashes or sale bottled water on the side walk to raise money for our hardworking single mothers!
We must form larger institutions among blacks that teach and train our current and future generations in depth criminal law so that every instance that our laws are violated we can win court cases against the organizations and people that unlawfully harass, detain and arrest people.
We must form bolder institutions that will push those who have the capacity and skills of communication and leadership into the seats that will replace those in office who don’t give a damn about a darker colored skin.
We need systems that will direct and redirect funding to the schools in our communities and enhance the education of our sons and daughters. We can start here but letting our elected officials know we are here. Start by completing your 2020 Census so they know how many people are in our neighborhoods. Prepare to vote come November and every 2 years going forward without fail or hesitation so that we can get the right people in place that will petition for the grants and funding our neighborhoods desperately need.
Too many of us have been silent long enough. I guess our homes must be comfortable enough that we thought the racism struggle was over. It’s not! And with this underlying campaign to “Make America Great Again” there is an inclusion of conversations to set black people back in the mindset that we as black people don’t belong here. We do! And every single one of us that make up 13% of America need to strive to pull every other person of color up so that we will continue to rise economically, socially, morally and intellectually.
Knowing what’s important is the first step to moving stress as an obstacle.
For most people their main stream of income, or their 40 hour a week job is not their passion. Some of us even went to school for a certain degree and never landed a job in that field. However, don’t let the “job” cause you to forget that this work may simply be a means to an end.
If your job is simply for a means of income that doesn’t mean you show up just to “get a check” so you perform the bare minimum. That sort of mentality can lead to a lack of productivity and demonstrates unprofessionalism. And you may ask, why should I be “all in” if this isn’t my career path?
Well No.1 it’s important to understand your job provides some kind of service to someone who may truly need what you offer. Even if it seem irrelevant or minute, someone may actually appreciate what you produce or provide.
No. 2 You never know who is watching. Someone may walk into your building with an opportunity that could maneuver you into the career path you are seeking or maybe a promotion is available that will provide a significant salary increase. If none of these happen, your posture alone will prove you as a person of character and earn you respect from other people.
Remember though, It is important to utilize your time outside of the job along with every dollar you can to do what you love to do even if you have to spend your first year(or more)simply volunteering. Not only will this give you a sense of joy but it will also help you discover your purpose while impacting the lives of others.
Sometimes you can only focus small amounts of time to the thing that matters most but consistency will eventually tip the scale allowing options to spend less time on the job and more time on your passion. I promise you, if you are willing to push past how you feel and give all you can to this life you have, your life will reward you back!
The thing that scares me the most at age 37 is to have to answer the question….”what have you done with your life?”
Many of us reflect and ponder about the purpose and reason we are living. Wasting life is never something intentionally done but if the truth is told many of us think we have plenty of time. In reality, time is more valuable than all the riches that exist in the earth and comes much less accessible than currency. We can’t invest to make more of it but we can invest to make better use of it.
I feel that even Methuselah in his 969 years of life may have been short lived. Comparing this to the 41 years of life God gave to Kobe Bryant, Kobe’s life is what my grandfather would have described as a “bubble on the water…..One moment it’s here and the next moment it’s gone”
One thing I learned from Kobe Bryant over the last couple of years watching his career from afar and paying close attention to his interviews and videos is that he was committed. He was one of the greatest because he left everything on the court. He was determined to be the first one to practice and the last one to leave because he understood that where ever we are is temporary and to be great in temporary moments would require giving everything you have IN those moments.
This is a wake up call to live life everyday with a sense of urgency. To understand and embrace the urgency and necessity to give all we have mentally, physically and spiritually to our God given purpose and to the ones we love. And every time we achieve a victory we ask…..”ok what’s next?”
There is no time to waste. Every second on the clock counts. We’re pressed with another reminder that a “new” year does not promise us A year.
My prayers and Condolences to The Family of Kobe Bryant, His daughter Gianna and to the families of all 9 lives lost on yesterday January 26th 2020.
First, Stop avoiding your credit report and the total amount of debt you have. “Hoping” financial situations eventually improve on their own is not helpful. There’s no such thing as waiting out bad credit, not even for that cursed 7-year mark for items to fall off of the credit file. There is action you take now to drastically improve your credit score within the next 30 to 90 days. Go ahead and pull your 3 major bureau credit reports free from annualcreditreport.com
Secondly, identify which items are working for, which items are impacting you negatively and which items could potentially work in your favor.
Maxed out credit cards currently hurting your score could help you by paying down those balances. Negative items may potentially be removed from your credit report by disputing them properly. Not by clicking a button on a website to dispute but writing the correct letters to the credit bureaus and following up promptly in 30 days.
Paying down debt will reduce your debt to income ratio. These things will expand your opportunities for home ownership, increase your score and allow you to get better rates on current bills such as life insurance.
*Side note: Seeing items removed from your credit doesn’t necessarily mean you don’t owe the debt, but it does mean that your credit score won’t have to suffer because of it.
Third, create a plan. Establish a budget allocating funds to pay credit cards off and pay down debt. Utilize the debt snowball by vigorously working to pay off one bill. Then add that monthly payment to the monthly payment of the next bill you plan to pay off. Continue this process until you reach debt freedom. This may be the point where you realize It will be impactful to put something up for sale, cut any monthly bills you can cut and pick up some sort of part time business to increase your income.
Fourth, Boost your credit score. Sign up with a report my rent program if you are renting. Or if you don’t have credit, secured credit cards are great start for building credit if you have no credit or a low credit score. Just remember to be committed to discipline and wisdom once that little piece of plastic is in your hand.
Number Five here should probably be number one but prepare yourself mentally. Having a mountain of debt, a low credit score attached to financial aspirations begins with frustration. But you are not in a situation that many people have found themselves out of.
One thing I believe I inherited from my dad is this intense need for good guys to win in the movie. I mean INTENSE. When I was 12 years old, my brother and I went to see the movie Richie Rich, and when the bad guys were chasing after Richie, I remember my dad cheering and shouting in the movie theater for the demise of the bad guys! Man, my brother and I were so embarrassed. But he didn’t care. He wanted to see the good guy win.
It seems almost natural to see good overcome evil. We want to see the hero trample his opponent, walk away with the girl, receive applause from the whole city and fly off in the night waiting for the next bad guy to surface.
But….here’s me keeping it One Hundred with you! Even Superman got his A$$ kicked. I’ve been a superman fan since birth. And you have no idea how infuriated I was when they laid superman in that coffin after his death after a fight with Batman.
Truth is, I think the death of Superman is relatable for many men today. I’m talking about the men that wake up every morning. They go hard to build futures for themselves, build homes for their wives and to feed their kids. So many of us push when we tired, keep moving when we’re in pain. Men who are fathers, providers, givers and demonstrate this tenacity that will not allow us to quit even when circumstances have backed us up against walls and into corners.
There are men who can relate, who made wrong moves and wrong decisions and now have no idea how to bounce back, rebuild and regain their footing. But they have given so much for the sake of others. The sacrifices that some of these men out here make are far greater than some of our greatest superheroes make in movies.
No one knows that they are heroes but they are. Mental fights, Spiritual warfare, internal bouts, the fight to walk a steady path, the battle with believing in themselves, the pain that comes with losing love and those who were close. The battle with not being accepted because you aren’t like everyone else.
Now that I think about it, Superman may have been a white man on the screen but he represented for the Brothers! As a matter of fact, having Michael B Jordan be our black superman doesn’t even matter that much because I can look at many of the brothers I do life with everyday and see black superman’s all around me.
Shout out to two Superman’s we’ve lost very recently in the last week
(RIP Wendell Zeiglar & My Uncle RIP Rickey Dixon)
What I’m saying is, you have to be prepared to take some losses. To win every fight is a fairy tale. To achieve every goal with having a journey full of setbacks is not the way life is set up.
Here are a few things to do when you lose a fight:
Own the Loss – This allows evaluation of your actions during the fight to see where the weaknesses were in your strategy or your plan and how to eliminate mistakes.
Deal with Your Emotions – It dangerous to suppress them. Recognize how you feel and refuse to allow your emotions to paralyze your passion. Emotions are necessary for evaluation and improvement in regard to how we see ourselves and how we see others. If God didn’t want us to use our emotions, we wouldn’t have them.
Talk to someone who has been where you are trying to go because I will bet you, they have dealt with the same doubts of coming back from a loss.
Don’t allow your loss to define you. It could have been a matter of a missed step in your planning, a skill you need fine tune, finding the right connection to network with and be your strength in an area. Imperfection is a matter of humanness not a matter of malfunction.
Don’t Give up! Don’t give up on your dreams! Don’t give up on your plan! Don’t give up on yourself!
You have got to get back up! Too many people need you to stand up and move on because what you will accomplish will open up doors for many to follow. Your victory is in your ability to maintain Hope and move in Faith
So you’ve decide you’re getting your money together, improving your credit and getting your finances on track! You are SICK of being “broke, busted and disgusted”! What now?
You pick up extra shifts, work a second job! Try to increase your income and decrease your expenses.
But…..3 months later and you still need money at the end of the month. Let me tell you something… when you get in the boxing ring with Benjamin “the money game” Loot, you’d better know you’re getting in the ring with a knockout King.
Let me give you a few tips for the fight.
1. Tracking finances after you’ve spent them is an amazing way to see how you can spend more wisely. Setting a budget however will help guide you in wise spending because you see where the money NEEDS to go vs just where you WANTED it to go! These must be done in conjunction with one another.
2. You will get frustrated! Oh yes! Money is touchy and can easily reach our emotions. Especially when the budget tells you to rent a red box movie and grab a box of Orville Redenbacher instead of hanging out with the crowd of people that believe they have “money to waste”!
Facing how much debt you have, money conversations with your spouse and trying to figure out how to pay some things off is mentally draining but incredibly rewarding.
3. That being said, make a full commitment that you are going to change where you are financially, fully understanding that you will make mistakes along the way. Be patient with yourself understanding that reaching financial wellness is a process!
4. Celebrate every single win! Take a breather and reflect on each one. Then get started on the next win!
1. Being an effective Witness first means we must Confess Jesus! Confession refers to Acknowledgement and Covenant. We aren’t just talking about Jesus in passing or by nonchalant mention of His Great name but to make it known that Jesus is a part of our lives. It is demonstration and expression of him in conversation and in action.
I remember when I used to smoke and cuss but when my father came in the room people saw a different, better behaved me because my dad was present. So it is when Jesus is present in the heart and mind of a believer and not Jesus at certain times but at all times. We must acknowledge and present ourselves as His, as followers, as believers, as people who have been touched and changed by the grace of God.
Jesus is teaching the disciples in Matthew 10 to “confess me before men” meaning in front of them, openly and without shame! In other words…stand up for me and my name. We can not be intimidated by people who do not believe and refuse to follow Christ.
God promises in turn that he will confess us before His Father. We would stand before God and Jesus will vouch for us.
To be a witness you will have to confess Christ in front of the masses and never bow to someone else’s ideals about faith or the lack of faith. You must have an objective view of your faith meaning you can’t even be spinned around by the opinions of others or your own opinion or feelings at times but stand wholly on the truth of God’s Word.
2. Your commitment to Christ must be greater than your commitment to the people you love.
One of the greatest tests of faith will be your willingness to follow Jesus even if it means being alone. How much more do you desire to do God’s will than your desire to be in relationship with people?
A commitment to Jesus requires you to let go of reputation, popularity and comfortability.It requires you to embrace discipline, rejection and sacrifice .
-The ministry of Jesus began with 40 days of Jesus bringing his flesh into discipline.
– The ministry of Jesus endure Rejection of Jesus teaching and his claim to be the Son of God
-The ministry of Jesus and all that he did would have meant nothing had he not been willing to give up his life and his life become the atonement for our sins.
Jesus said if you’re not ready to love me more than you love them or love me more than you love it then you are not worthy of me.
3. Giving up who we think we should be for the sake of Jesus being the glory in our life is the way that we gain our life.
It is a difficult task but one that takes a made up mind to put our own image or ourselves away and seek after who God has called us to be. The life of Jesus is a clear demonstration that our purpose can not be fulfilled without self-sacrifice. In all that we do, we must do it to the Glory of God and for no other reason.
Are you a Witness?
I’d love to chat with you about this. Leave a comment below and share this thought with somebody you know!