This photo is from Harper’s Weekly, a newspaper that provided extensive Civil War coverage, in 1879. I found this newspaper in the Archives at Cornell University, where I’m actively researching the impact of the Freedmen’s Bureau on ex-slave land ownership. The Freedmen’s Savings Bank, approved under President Lincoln, in 1865 and by 1873 went under, as a result of The Panic of 1873. Ex-slaves lost all of their savings in the process, hence the quote, “THE FIRST SAVINGS OF THE EMANCIPATED SLAVE EMBEZZLED HERE, BY MEN THAT ‘TRIED TO DO SOME GOOD.'”
I know that looking at death as an economic transaction sounds a bit crude, but if you really think about it – Why exactly are we all working so hard? For some, it’s a means to an ends with one of those well-cushioned, lots of good sun retirements that we’re told to believe. [The cold, hard truth is that we’re not in the 1950’s (thank God for us, minorities) at the height of American consumerism: 1) Americans were obsessed with car ownership in a monumental way and the federal government began the huge Interstate Highway initiative, 2) average kitchen appliance, alone, increased by over 240%, and, mostly importantly, 3) people cared about saving and spending.] For others, we are diligent for the sake of building a future for our children, creating a robust legacy.
We’re almost in 2015. Some of us are working hard for the retirement dream, while others are diligent for the sake of building a legacy – both involve some form of high narcissism. My belief is that death marks this endpoint, to which performance of one’s goals, can be assessed; it’s when the ultimate economic transaction, wealth transfer, takes place. The time value of money, the single, most fundamental finance concept, is a great way to think through your savings goals. The time value of money concept is the optimal, economic to think about your debt, savings, and long-term goals. While I think it’s important to consider your feelings, I think that too often we attach a great deal of emotion into our finances, and what we feel like we deserve and the process to getting what we deserve – don’t quite align. The best example of this are impulse shoppers: those who buy because of the emotion. Not a good look. Good wealth building, through saving, is a meticulous process.
History of the 1950s: http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/americanexperience/features/general-article/tupperware-consumer/
Everyone, at one point or another, is in search of their purpose. Some become bogged down in the day-to-day grind of life; others give up before they start. My sense is very few people are truly happy with their careers and have financial prowess that gives them many options. While I, a former Wall Street Banker with and an Ivy-League MBA, have several criticisms of the capitalist structure of America, I do believe that a healthy understanding of economics and financial literacy is key to all minorities success; this argument goes back to 1865 during Reconstruction when ex-slaves were promised 40 acres and a mule, but these properties and investments were never delivered. If the ex-slaves had received land, then there would have been a smaller wealth gap, between Whites and Blacks, today. For a couple of centuries now, minorities have been the backbone of the American economy and have little (positively, at least) to show for it.
The Lucesco is a blog for people, of diverse backgrounds and perspectives, looking to create more options for themselves and their communities. And by options, I mean increasing economic empowerment through money, additional schooling, and acting as change agents within communities. I hope that people will use The Lucesco to build financial literacy, develop action plans, think critically about recent events, and participate in the discussion. Best case, readers ask questions and I answer them. Worst case, this will be a public journal for my rants. You are welcome, regardless.
Why Minorities Matter?
Americans spend a lot of time talking about political and social injustices, and for the most part, we come to an agreement; Americans tend to disagree on the process and/or actions improving political and social issues. What’s most controversial, amongst even the oppressed themselves, is economic justice. There’s strong dissension about if economic justice is fair. Through The Lucesco, I make that arugment that not only does economic empowerment matter, but it matters more than political and social empowerment.
The Snippet Version
In short, I have a strong knowledge around economics and personal finance. I’m looking to share this information to people who are currently ostracized, undermined, and preyed on (legally and illegally) by the finance industry. The existing institutional heuristics (which allow racism, sexism, homophobia, etc) are shameful, and my goal is to arm folks with the truth.