There are many wonderful people doing work all across America and the world to impact and improve communities. People like Mark Stuart at The Hands and Feet Project helping orphans in Haiti, or Katie Davis of Amazima who has been working in Uganda, Africa since she was 18. While I admire global ministry work, there are tremendous people doing great work in our own backyards. For example in my home town of Nashville, TN, Papa Joe has been an inspiration through his Elijah’s Heart ministry to help at risk children. Heck, the guy has even had a movie made about his life! Unconditional was an amazing film sharing Joe’s Nashville story for life survival as he kept working to help children.
After years of supporting other organizations, this year I guess it’s my turn. Last year I started writing my first book, The Millionaire Choice: Millionaire or Not. You Can Choose. I finished my writing during the summer. Just a few short weeks ago, the first 2,500 books were delivered to my driveway where my wife, the delivery guy, and I managed to transport them up the drive via a dolly to a space in my garage. Just a few short days later, I made my first delivery of 1,000 books to Knowledge Academies, a charter school and group focused on improving their community.
Art Fuller, Founder and President of Knowledge Academies, selected The Millionaire Choice as their platform book to teach financial principles for building wealth to the local community. By distributing 1,000 copies to their students, families and local community Knowledge Academies plans to have a huge impact on the children, their families and the community.
When I began writing, I never imagined the first people to read my book would be children and families from lower income areas across America. I guess it shouldn’t surprise me.
Before I began work on The Millionaire Choice, a friend sent me a statistic from CNN. The statistic shocked me, and then the realization hit me. The statistic showed that white Americans net worth was over 15x that of black and hispanic Americans. Newer data from PEW Research shows the gap to be 10x-13x.
After the shock wore off, the reality hit me. There’s a very simple reason the wealth divide between white, black and Hispanic population is so great. Financial Education. The simple fact is many more white people have access to financial education than do black or hispanic people. The next logical question is “Why?”
You see I first started learning about personal finance at the age of 25. While I came from a lower middle class family, I became a millionaire by age 40. I broke free from my family’s financial mismanagement cycle. As my career grew, I found myself working in the personal financial education space for over 15 years. As an executive for one of the top companies in the space, I was heavily involved in strategic and business planning. That’s why the reason financial education isn’t available for poor communities is so simple.
The sad reality of why financial education isn’t delivered to the black and hispanic communities is there isn’t any money to be made. Businesses can’t make money off broke people. It’s why financial advisors who know money don’t go knocking on doors in poor communities. They can’t make money. It’s why financial education speakers and companies don’t have a plan or strategy for the poor communities in America. A business is driven by making profit and you can’t make very much profit off broke people. Noone is making a real effort to bring financial education to our poor communities for the simple reason it isn’t profitable.
That’s why I’m both surprised and excited that the first real adoption of my book has come from a lower income community nestled in the corner of my home town, Nashville, TN. I hope that I am able to make a difference in the lives of a community and people that need it.