By 2010, 78 million Americans will be 65 or older. One-third of them do not have a retirement plan. Most of these Americans need and want financial education, and wish that someone would provide the means by which they can develop a financial plan. Personal debt in the United States has reached an all-time high. Personal bankruptcy filings could hit a record high this year.
Robert Kiyosaki compared our professional careers to four quarters of a sports game. He called these periods “The Game of Money.” Typically, an individual’s professional career begins at age 25 and ends at 65. Kiyosaki suggested that the ages between 25 and 34 represent the first quarter; ages 35 to 44 symbolize the second quarter; ages 45 to 54 represent the third quarter; and ages 55 to 65 correspond to the fourth quarter. If a person is required to work beyond 65 years old, they are in overtime. If an individual is unable to provide for himself, he or she is, unfortunately, out of time.
Often, the life expectancy for African-Americans is significantly lower than when compared to other races. Consequently, we are often forced to work until we die. There is no meaningful time during retirement to enjoy the fruits of our labor. Someone must address this issue. However, beyond the reality of retirement, how do we improve our chances of living a maximized life in whatever quarter we find ourselves?
I have been offered, and have graciously accepted, the opportunity to write about Personal Finance and Economic/Community Empowerment in this opinion editorial for the foreseeable future. We will discuss budgeting, credit, banking/financial services, insurance, housing and wealth creation, among other factors, on a personal level. There is much to say about these important issues. This forum presents a substantial opportunity to go beyond the typical prognostication to raising and addressing issues that deny opportunity for individual and collective growth and development.
In order to discover our full potential and live a maximized life, we must ask five questions, which I have classified as the Renewal Five. These questions are, “Where am I now?”; “Where would I like to be?”; “How do I get there?”; “How will I know that I’ve arrived?” and “What do I do if unsuccessful?” In order for us to climb from one level to the next, we must ask and answer each of these questions.
In my next column, we will begin by figuring out where we are in our personal finances. Although our initial focus will be personal finances, we will also examine these questions in terms of the direction of our beloved city.
Editor’s note: Dr. Rickie C. Keys is the founder and president of Renewal Financial Services, LLC. You can review this and similar information at www.renewalfinancial.com.
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