Frugal while Black

Frugality! I did not even know the meaning of this word until a few weeks ago! Even if I had known the meaning, I doubt it would have been a life objective. Here why I was wrong!

Over the holiday break, a good friend of mine introduced me to Financial Independence. In a few words, Financial Independence is about having F@ck You money. Being able to support your lifestyle without having to work. Sounds like everyone’s dream, right? Yet not many people are ready to do what it takes. The chances that Blacks become financially independent are even slimmer. I heard shocking data recently:

  • The wealth of the top 1% Black families is $1.5 million
  • The wealth of the top 1% White families is $12 million

Let’s put things into perspective $1.5 million is the number I believe my wife and my 2 kids would need to become financially independent. With that amount on a bank account, we should get about $60,000 per year in cash, and that forever. I emphasize the ***forever***! That is until the end of my life and that is for our kids, etc… Yes, the great thing about F@ck You Money is that you pass it on.

How to get F@ck You Money and be set for lives?

  1. Earn more: It is easier than you may think. Probably involves you doing things that you (and many others) may not especially enjoy to do. Anyway, surprisingly this is not the most challenging part of getting F@ck You Money. Keeping reading to learn more…
  2. Spend less: This is much harder than you think! Most people when they earn more, they spend more. It should be ok, but it is not. My personal example. During my glory days in London. My salary would increase by 25% and I would spend an extra 35%. And I was the reasonable guy! Most other people I knew would spend the bonus they were expecting to get 6 months later. Again, in my case, coming from a humble working-class single mom family I was buying stuff/experiences to show my “success”. To belong when I was with my banking/consulting colleagues. To get in and show off in hype clubs. It was futile. But again, after owning little, being rejected from even bad clubs more time than I can recall… it felt good to spend that money. Would it have been as good as being financially independent by age 35… I doubt it!
  3. Make your money work for you: So you did 1 and you did 2. You are better than most people! kudos! However, if your savings are on a checking account that does not pay interest… You won’t become financially independent. Your money should work for you. Following the most basic investment approach, in the long term, you should manage to get an annual interest rate of min 8%.

Want more information? Read what the experts say. This is a link to one of my favourite expert, the mad FIentist. 

Most, if not all of you would say that this idea is crazy. How could I get $1.5 million? Yet, some people will try to become a pro baller, rapper, etc… The crazy thing is that you are much much much more likely to get $1.5million than become a professional athlete. You just have to be ready to get F@ck You Money slowly!

Why I continue to write this blog…

It has to do with Charlamagne Tha God

Charlamagne Tha God  he is a successful radio presenter. He has the #1 hip-hop radio show on the planet, the “Breakfast Club”. He is also the author of 2 best sellers: Black Privileges and Shook One.  I read both books in no time! They both are probably the most influential self-development books I have read. Up there with the books from the great Tony Robbins.  Scrap that, better than Tony in my eyes. Why? Because I can more easily relate to Charlamagne. Because he is Black, true, but also because we both seem to have experienced similar experiences. Well, you know… kinda… because he is a multi-millionaire and I am nowhere close.  The other thing is that he keeps it 100.  He talks about something that people do not talk much about in the Black community: Anxiety and how therapy helps.

If you grew up in a Black environment, you probably heard things like: “Why would I go to a shrink, I am not crazy” “Praise God and everything will be fine” “shrinks are only there to steal your money”.  Ask yourself, do you know a Black person who has seen a therapist (or talked about it)?  I did not until Charlamagne.  His stories were so vivid, that I decided to look into options to take care of my mind, the same way I take care of my body.

I train hard at the gym. 3 to 4 times a week. Not 3 reps of bench pressing and spending the rest of the hour chatting to my friends.  A good training is when I feel on the edge of passing out. I have a trainer, I am surrounded by people who are just as motivated and hold me accountable. This is how I give my best.

Now compare this, to what I do for my mental health. True I meditate. At best 3 times a week for 15 min.  True, I belong to a Mastermind group where we talk about deep topics every month. True, I have the most supportive spouse who helps me to express myself and supports me. True, I have wonderful friends I can talk to.  Yet, if I compare it to my ultra-strict training and eating habits, I am nowhere close.

Why does it matter and how does it relates to negotiation. By now, you understand that this blog is more than simple bargaining.  This is about how can you be your best self, have a clear mind and make the right moves every day!  So here is how therapy can help:

  1. We all suffer in some ways from PTSD. If you are like me, you probably thought that PTSD was for war veterans.  No it is not.  Many things can cause trauma.  Like seeing people beaten up real bad for no apparent reasons, or people shot with a bb gun again for no reason, or a gang setting fire to a bus so that the rival gang is stuck and beaten up.  These are things I have seen. And I thought it was no big deal. In hindsight, the way I scan rooms I enter, the extra awareness I have in many situations to this day probably come from these experiences.
  2. Talking to a therapist sounds healthy.  Better to prevent a problem than to cure it.  If everything is great today, excellent.  Still, you probably have some crap from the past that you never dealt with. That you compartmentalized somewhere. Again, around me, people who could just move on where considered tough. I am now convinced that tough people pay the price sooner or later.  And what does it mean anyway to be tough? To be heartless like some of the old school heroes in movies? Rather, I believe in what Charlamagne quoted “to share your weakness is to make yourself vulnerable, to make yourself vulnerable is to show your strength”.

I am looking for a therapist now. Preferably through an app and that would not cost a crazy amount.  Ideally, I would like to match what I spend on my body on my mind. Not that easy… It seems we are a long way to have a therapist at each street corner, like we do for gyms.  Still, I will try and invest in myself, my whole self. You should too.