BOOK REVIEW & EXCERPT: In The Black: Live Faithfully, Prosper Financially by Aaron W. Smith with Brenda Lane Richardson
This weekend while taking a trip to New Orleans to my sister’s graduation (she is now Dr. Jonita Henry), I read an interesting book about finances. At first I thought the book might just be another “these are the steps to becoming financially free” book. However, I was surprised to find that this book was enveloped with stories about everyday working people and the challenges they faced with saving for retirement and handling their finances. The stories were colorful and each one had a lesson. In addition, the book is also a workbook and journal which allows the reader to reflect at the end of each chapter on their financial situation and record their thoughts. I was intrigued to find a scripture at the end of each chapter. I thought this book would be appropriate for this encouragement blog because we all know that we want God to bless the work of our hands, but what should we do with the money? Although this book is written to members of the African American community, its principles apply to anyone of any race.This book contains various financial term definitions and explanations the most naïve investor can understand and even some commentary that experienced investors may find interesting as well. Mr. Smith takes the time to give specific details on how to setup a budget and control your spending to how to research the financial health of insurance companies that offer annuities. Below are some of the steps he suggests you take to financial freedom:
Figure Out What You Really Want.
Envision Your Financial Future
Work Your Money
Quit Strumming the Money Blues
Putting all the Pieces Together
View Home Ownership as a Viable Option
Don’t Just Play the Market, Understand It
Protect Your Assests
Enjoy the Riches of Your Life
The following is a test Mr. Smith included in the book. I believe in self tests, because it helps you get to know your best advisor… YOU.Take the test and be honest with yourself. There are no wrong answers to this test. Mr. Smith gives explanations of each category of person labeled by this self-test and all of them have positive points. I appreciate his method of making everyone feel content with their answers and his analysis really shows his insight into financial planning.
The following is the self-quiz from Chapter 4 (page 53-57): Circle the letter that comes closest to describing how you would react, not how you think you should react.
You win $2 million in a lottery.You would A. put off telling everyone except a tax lawyer B. call your family and friends and celebrate the good news.
You become stranded on a desert island and you have with you one serving of your favorite food (a method for keeping it fresh for several days has been developed). You don’t know when you’ll be rescued. You A.take a few bites at a time to maintain strength and guard against running out. B.Eat most of it because you’re really hungry and it is your favorite food.
If you were involved in a reality TV show, you would want to be A.the director, organizing everything from behind the scenes. B.A winning contestant, becoming known and envied around the world
Each evening after work, you drink a glass of wine with dinner. You want each bottle of wine to last for four nights, so you would A.pour pretty much the same amount of wine every evening B.pour a tall glass the first and second nights and a medium one on the third, leaving yourself very little the fourth night
You’re running for president against an opponent whose values sicken you. You have a narrow lead. An hour before the last televised debate you learn that a family member has been injured critically in an accident and you have only a short window of time to say good-bye. So you A. tell your loved ones that family comes first…usually. You show up and win the debate. B. you go home, giving the advantage to your opponent. You figure that if God means for you to win, you will.
Ok. How many As did you have? And how many Bs?
(Winning a Million-Dollar Lottery) If you choose A (you would only tell a tax lawyer). You’re strong-willed and not controlled by emotions. This strength will help you to move straight ahead, accomplishing one goal after another. If you chose B (call family and friends), you have a generous heart and attract loyal friends and family members. As you move toward your goals, you can turn to loved ones for emotional support.
(Stranded on a Deserted Island) If you chose A (eat a few bites at a time), you are highly disciplined. Even under extenuating circumstances, you plan for the future. That should translate into long-term savings, because even as abrupt changes occur in your life, you find a way to keep from dipping into your savings so that interest grows and compounds. If you chose B (eating it all at once), you are a risk taker and innovator – a person who comes up with new ways of doing things. You’re likely to devise unique approaches to getting where you want to go and figuring out what to do next.
(Involved in a Reality TV Show) If you chose A (work as a directior), you’re probably a good manager. That means you’ll be able to keep track of details and you’re able to see the big picture and do long-range planning. Good organization can help you remain cool-headed during life crises, so you can stay on course. If you chose B(being a winning contestant), you’re confident. You believe that you have a marketable talent that you can use for earning money. As a bonus, you’re probably creative, which will help you devise solutions to problems that might sidetrack others.
(Drinking a Bottle of Wine Over Four Nights) If you chose A (pouring in the same amount each night), you’re diligent. Remember the fable of the ant and the grasshopper? The ant gathered and stored wheat for the winter, while the grasshopper danced and sang. In this scenario, you’re the ant, mindful that putting aside a little at a time can add up to enough. If you chose B (leaving litte for yourself at the end), you have a strongly developed sense of abundance, the belief that you’ll figure out how to have enough. Maybe you’ll add juice to the last glass of wine, makng it taste like sangria. That attitude will be helpful if you need to cut back in some areas in order to meet your goals.
(Family Member’s Accident Just Before You Presidential Debate) If you chose A ( showed up for the debate and won), you’re a fierce competitor and believe winning is most important. There’s not much that can stop you from pursuing your goals. You’re not sentimental, which can be helpful in financial matters. Making money often calls for making tough decisions. If you chose B (went to see your loved one), you might be deeply faithful. Turning to God in prayer will give you the strength that you need to endure and the assurance of what you’re hoping for in the future.
If you got four or more As, you value autonomy. This means that you’re good at governing yourself. Of course you, too, might turn to God for strength, but the opinions of others don’t hold too much sway over you. You have a strong sense of yourself and what you need to do to succeed.
If you got four or more Bs, you value the collaborative approach. You are comfortable turning to others to elicit support and ideas and often create synergistic relationships, which means that through interaction with others you achieve more beneficial results than you might working individually. In emergencies, you navigate challenges by seeking the opinions of others before making a final decision.
If you scored a mix of As and Bs, you have a combination of the traits identified in autonomous and collaborative personality types, which means you’re flexible. You can work independently as well as cooperate with others to seek solutions. Confident and caring, you enjoy devising creative strategies to get you where want to go. If thrown off track, you will display a stubborn determination to get back on board.