If media accounts and economic studies are any indication, the financial status of the African-American community is at a record low. We continue to face the highest unemployment rates, and the wealth gap between blacks and whites has tripled in the past 25 years, says a report from Brandeis University.
It’s sometimes difficult to believe that 50 years post-March, during the second term of the country’s first black president, there’s still a blanket of institutional racism so thick that African Americans are perpetually stuck with thin financial portfolios in the country’s lowest economic strata.
But that doesn’t have to be the case.
Since meeting the late W. Clement Stone, Dennis Kimbro has dedicated his life’s work to sharing the secrets and strategies of wealthy African Americans. And in his latest book, The Wealth Choice: Success Secrets of Black Millionaires, Kimbro serves up real talk about what it takes to become a one-percenter.
In addition to providing anecdotes from the lives of scores black millionaires (Kimbro writes that he interviewed “hundreds upon hundreds” for the book), The Wealth Choice details seven laws of success that have been applied – whether consciously or otherwise – in the lives of every high-achiever featured. To be fair, some of the concepts may seem familiar if you’ve read Kimbro’s 1992 offering, Think and Grow Rich: A Black Choice. But rather than feeling recycled, Kimbro’s work in The Wealth Choice serves as testament to the immutable nature of these core wealth-building principles.
There’s a chapter on having an undying faith in yourself and your abilities, even in the midst of haters and naysayers. There’s one that describes the incredible power of simply deciding that you refuse to be poor. And another that urges readers to discover their unique gifts. Not groundbreaking, earth-shattering tips by any means but, when pulled together, these “laws” create an impenetrable force for success.
It only takes a few pages to realize that Kimbro is serious about educating African Americans and pushing us to reach our full potentials – financial and otherwise. He writes with a passion and urgency that underscores the dire conditions we currently face. “Poverty is the new racism,” he wrote in an email to me. “Nearly 65 percent of Black America is dead broke and hold[s] little hope of changing their financial future.”
And it’s likely Kimbro’s overwhelming concern for the common denominator among us – the everyday black folk with no trust funds or million-dollar endorsement deals – that inspired The Wealth Choice. In a sweeping exploration of the upper echelons of African American society, Kimbro made a conscious decision to not include celebrities, entertainers and athletes, whose wealth, he says, may be short-lived.
Instead, The Wealth Choice is full of the stories of entrepreneurs who made the ascent from have-not to have by sheer determination and hard work. And they have maintained their new status, building a legacy that will be passed down to future generations. Clearly, after being introduced to people like Daymond John, founder of the urban clothing line FUBU, which has raked in more than $4 billion in sales, Kimbro’s message is clear: If they can succeed, so can you.
Kimbro opens the introduction to The Wealth Choice with a simple question, previously posed to him by the late John H. Johnson, founder of the Johnson Publishing Company (parent company of Ebony and Jet magazines): “Why aren’t you rich?” Kimbro clamored for a response, a justification for why he had failed to take advantage of the numerous opportunities to leverage his God-given gifts and achieve prosperity.
The Wealth Choice is Kimbro’s effort to pay it forward. He’s picked the brains of the wealthiest and most successful African Americans and packaged everything he learned into a 275-page must-read, so that you may seize life’s opportunities and never have to answer the question, “Why aren’t you rich?”