Almost thirty years ago I first learned about the Freedmen’s Bureau and the Freedman’s Savings Bank (officially known as the Freedman’s Saving and Trust Company).

While in college I was able to do further research on the legacy of freed Black slaves in America, and the one thing that stood in the way of their financial inclusion and the future of economic development in Black America more than one hundred years later— that one thing was FEAR.

The southern white “establishment” was fearful of what inclusion and development of freed Black slaves would mean for them (the former slave owners), and whether or not the tables would be turned on them— if the human “property” they enslaved for more than 100 years finally decided to “get even”.

The Freedmen’s Bureau and the Freedman’s Bank struggled and failed in 1874 (after 9 years) for many reasons, but what triggered their fall was the fear of seeing freed slaves rebuild their lives and join the competitive landscape of the country that they built through their own blood, sweat, and tears.

How could the enslaved now have the right and financial capability to own land and property, live by, and exist at the same level or above the same people who had enslaved them? How could they be as or more educated than the people that outlawed slaves from being taught to read and write? I’m sure for many white southerners, this was tantamount to blasphemy.

Today, the U.S. Treasury Department is celebrating and honoring the renaming of the U.S. Treasury Annex, back to its original name, the Freedmen’s Bank.

Yes, what most of us did not know is that although the bank failed and shut down, the building in Washington D.C. (the relocated national headquarters) was never destroyed. No one struck a match to it or bulldozed it. It’s been here hundreds of years later staring at all of us. Isn’t that ironic? Fear is only capable of doing so much. It is not all-powerful. It can’t hide for long. It can only destroy so much, but mostly it destroys itself.

You have to know the history to understand the relevance today…

(more…)

A book review written by Natasha Foreman Bryant

Let me start off by saying that this may not be like any other book review you have ever read. Okay, now that I have prepared you, let’s do this!


I absolutely love Real Money Answers For Every Woman: How to Win the Money Game With or Without a Man. It encourages women to Woman Up and get their lives right. I have known Patrice C. Washington personally and professionally for roughly three years and it’s both an honor and privilege to write this review for this awesome woman, wife, mother, author, and entrepreneur. Hopefully after reading her book you will do the same, and share the book with others.

Patrice has done an amazing job taking the lessons she learned the hard way and combining them with the lessons she has learned from others, and those she has taught her clients over the years, and she is now sharing all of this proven wisdom with her readers.

Regardless of your financial situation, the health of your financial portfolio, your job title, or knowledge of this topic—you should read this book and share it with others. I intend to purchase this book for family members, friends, and my mentees. I intend to purchase this book for women who know (and those who think) they have their financial worlds together, and I’m going to encourage them to read and review it, and then share it with others.

I’ve been a personal and professional CEO for over 25 years. I know you’re saying to yourself, “huh how can you be both a personal and professional CEO?” Well when I train adults in the business and community settings, and speak with youth in classrooms and youth centers, I always tell them that they need to see themselves as the CEO of their life, that they are a brand and that they need to live and act accordingly. So it was great to read that Patrice teaches the same to her clients.

This book encourages and empowers you to build your personal brand and live your life as the CEO of that brand, while also showing you how you can professionally become the CEO of your very own company (or as an Intrapreneur you can see through the lens of the CEO of the company where you work).

I always share with clients and those that I work with in the community that I am the CEO of my personal brand, Natasha Foreman Bryant (formerly Natasha L. Foreman). How I live affects my branding. I am the CEO of Foreman & Associates, LLC, a business management firm. The decisions I make personally and professionally affects my company and its stakeholders. If I’m irresponsible, lazy, shiftless, fearful, prideful, or stubborn my brands are negatively impacted. Every day I must consider my brands.

We all should live our lives thinking this way. Patrice will help you to begin thinking this way and I’m so glad to see that she is dedicated to this, because not all authors, consultants, and leaders focus on that.

Trust me, there is something in this book that you don’t know, forgot, hadn’t seen delivered (or explained) a certain way, or you hadn’t fully applied to your own life.

Now you can use these tools to begin the necessary steps to provide the sense of security you want and need, and from there you can create or maintain the financial wealth that could possibly sustain future generations in your family.

There isn’t a dull page in this book. Patrice jumps right in, no sugar-coating, no trite regurgitation of things you already heard, and no “mumbo jumbo”. If you want an enabler, this isn’t the book for you. If you want a rah rah session filled with frills and fluff, this isn’t the book for you.

This is a book for women, not immature females who want to call themselves women. If you have fallen and you need to pull yourself up, this is the book for you. If you want to make sure you are on the right path, this is the book for you. If you want to become more interdependent and less dependent, co-dependent, or obnoxiously independent—-this book is for you.

Let me explain my thinking here. You can be broke and alone but you can’t be broke and independent. Trust me you’re depending on someone. On the flip side, you can have all of the money and resources in the world, but you still need someone’s help, guidance, support, and encouragement. You didn’t make it to the top alone. Gain the knowledge to grow into a healthy interdependent woman that can stand on her own but has the sense to ask for help when needed, quickly seeks out the resources you need to learn and grow, and is reliable enough where someone can come to you for counsel and assistance.

Woman up!

Here’s the thing, even the areas that you may already be well-versed in this book has great tips, affirmations, stories and testimonies that you or someone you know might find extremely helpful. As you turn each page you will instantly gravitate to Patrice’s “Real TALK”, “Real MONEY”, “UN REAL”, and “AFFIRM” sections. There is where you will find the quotes, affirmations, statistics, and tips that Patrice has gathered from research (and spending time listening to and learning from experts in the field) and shared with clients and in workshops.

It was great seeing one of my husband’s (John Hope Bryant) favorite Winston Churchill quotes in the Wealth Begins Within chapter (pg. 16) that said, “…success is going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm“.

Every person should memorize this quote, and apply it to their lives. Every successful person and every person who has gotten back on their feet after failing knows this quote to be true, especially if you’re an entrepreneur. I started my first business when I was 11 years old, and have since owned several businesses that I have started, stopped, and failed at—-and that doesn’t include the business ideas that failed before I could get them started.

Failure is inevitable. It’s what you do afterwards that counts. How do you deal with it and how quickly do you realign your thinking so you can get back up? Patrice’s book helps you switch your thinking about your failed financial situation, your failure to not succumb to excessive spending, and your failure at reaching or maintaining the wealth you desire.

The biggest problem in our personal debt crisis is our pride, shame, and yes even our greed. Greed is also the reason our country had a financial crisis.

People have lost their homes, cars, and more because they were too prideful or too consumed by their shame to admit they needed help, and to go get the help that could save them. Oftentimes our greed is what first got us there. We buy cars and homes that we know deep down inside that we can’t afford, but we convince ourselves that we have to have it, and that somehow someway we will pay those bills each month. Then when times get tough our pride and shame kick in and we never get help, or we wait until it’s too late. We lose our car, home, lifestyle, dignity, and sometimes our family and friends.

Patrice’s book helps people face this fact, and take the necessary steps to save themselves and build the lives they have always wanted, with the wisdom to not repeat bad habits and make fatal mistakes. Her book isn’t a one-size fits all nor is it the solution for all of your financial problems. But it’s a start and it gets you to the next level where you can see the finish line, or the goal you’re reaching for.

If you think you don’t need this book and you have it all figured out. You really need to get this book. If you discover you were right, then great, pay it forward and give the book to a loved one. You can vouch for it and help someone else attain their goals.

Maybe you haven’t figured it out and don’t have top-rated credit, zero debt, and a top-notch portfolio. Are any of the scenarios below similar to your current reality:

1) Do you have student loan debt, credit card debt, facing foreclosure or repossession of your vehicle, or barely making ends meet? Read this book.

2) Have you lost your job, car, or home, or a combination of the three? Well you need the resources to get back on your feet. Buy this book.

3) Do you have problems saving money and reducing debt simultaneously? Read this book. You can pay off your debt and save money at the same time!

4) Do you have problems with budgeting effectively? Read this book. Do you wonder if you really need a budget? You really need to read this book.

5) If you don’t have a professional financial team providing counsel, helping you with financial decisions, and helping you to build a healthy portfolio then please read this book.

6) If you’re clueless about financial portfolios, then you really need to read Patrice’s book.

7) If your credit score is below 850 then you should read this book. Yes, even having a high 700 credit score doesn’t make you financially savvy or secure. You are only a few late pays (or one high credit card limit) from dropping to a mid-to-low 600 credit score. Trust me, it happened to me more than once. Co-signing for someone could drop your credit score. Acquiring that awesome no-limit credit card could drop your credit score. It’s possible, and Patrice’s book (and the access to resources, professionals, workshops and other books) could help you.

More applied knowledge leads to growth and wisdom. Take what you learn in this book and apply it to your life, and then do check ups twice a year to make sure you are staying on track.

8) If you are married or considering marriage, please please please read this book. The number one cause for divorce is behind money and debt. This is not the 1950s ladies. Change your thinking that it’s solely your man’s responsibility to handle all of the finances.

As we have taken on more professional roles and responsibilities, and achieved greater heights in education over the past 50-plus years we have also further exposed ourselves to more financial debt.

Unfortunately most women don’t share the details of their financial position and amount of debt they have taken on while they are in the courting and dating phases of their relationships. Instead it’s usually not until they get married that they drop the debt bomb on their spouse. I’ve seen it happen with my friends, and I swore that I would never do it to my husband, and I didn’t. Upfront we put our cards on the table so that there weren’t any postnuptial surprises.

Here’s why:

For 20-plus years your spouse has been focused on their budget, debt, and responsibilities. Understandably he believes that you have been doing the same for the past 20-plus years. How do you think he would feel finding out that now your debt pile has been added to his? He feels blindsided and possibly like you played him.

What if he isn’t strong in that area, what will you do? What if he passes away and you’re left to handle everything on your own? Additionally and most importantly, your personal debt shouldn’t be his burden. Woman up and take care of your responsibilities. Patrice’s book encourages this and I love it.

You wouldn’t want your spouse handing you his pile of credit card, mortgage, car loan, and student loan debt expecting you to pay all or most of it, so don’t convince yourself to do the same.

Look at it another way, if your finances aren’t in order and his finances aren’t in order (or something happens that disrupts his financial conditions) how will that impact your relationship? The blame game will begin quickly and your marriage may take a hit that you may not recover from.

Remember, the number one cause for divorce is behind money and debt. So be proactive and get this book!

Here are some other reasons to buy Real Money Answers For Every Woman:

9) Do you have children or want some? This is a no-brainer. Buy this book immediately!

10) Are you the person that friends and family come to when they need money, “a loan”, “help”, “a favor”? Trust me, buy this book and read it.

11) If you are a big spender, giver, or a push over, you need this book to help you realize what you can and cannot afford to do in your life, and for others. This book and the other resources Patrice shares from other authors, will help you learn to say “no” to yourself and to others, learn how to become more disciplined, learn how to reprogram your thinking and habits, and learn how to live the life you want and need, while learning the real difference between wants and needs.

12) If you want to invest in yourself, your family, your career, and in your future. Then invest in this book.

While reading this book I found myself saying, “yep I remember doing that”, “uugh, yep I’m guilty of this”, “okay okay, I’m on it”, and “oh shoot I need to share this with so-and-so she really needs to read this”. Trust me you will too! There were things that I already knew, already committed to habit, and then there were things that I have procrastinated on, or hadn’t seen explained the way Patrice did. What is also great is when she shares updated statistics that you may have been unaware of, it’s both informative and useful.

As a wife, daughter, sister, friend, mentor, entrepreneur, and PhD student, I can say that Patrice’s book covers all or most of the areas in a woman’s life that needs help, tuning up, restructuring, or reevaluation. For less than $20 what sane person wouldn’t want to invest in themselves by purchasing this book?

As I prepare myself for a future life of motherhood, I will use this book again to check up and check in, as I work to balance my roles of wife, mother, community servant, and entrepreneur. My children will need to learn early on their responsibility in life, how to grow the wealth they have inherited from their parents, and make the right decisions in order to be productive personally, professionally, and in the world in which they live. If they can’t learn from me and their father, then who will they learn from? My goal is to be their first role model and the one they can turn to and emulate throughout their life.

If that is also a goal of yours for you and your family, then make sure you invest in and read:

Real Money Answers For Every Woman: How to Win the Money Game With or Without a Man

Purchase Patrice’s book and check out the 5 stars I gave her here:
http://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/0985908017

Here’s to your success,

~ Natasha Foreman Bryant
Servant leader, wife, change agent, PhD student, CEO of Foreman & Associates, LLC, and CEO of the Natasha Foreman Bryant brand!

By Natasha L. Foreman, MBA

 

I wanted to share my thoughts regarding John Hope Bryant’s brilliant article that was posted on and by Bloomberg BusinessWeek today. I also wanted to have a healthy dialogue with those individuals who showed their lack of critical thinking skills before they reacted, and quickly responded in the negative, to the article.

It is my opinion that the moment many of us don’t understand something or it rubs us the wrong the way, the remaining of what we read or hear turns more into an episode of Charlie Brown, just a bunch of whah whah whah blah blah blah…and we don’t hear or interpret anything else. We are then too focused on a counter argument, but never on seeking clarification. Here is the link to John Hope Bryant’s article: http://www.businessweek.com/articles/2012-04-04/if-bill-gates-were-black-dot-dot-dot

Below is my comment that I submitted to Bloomberg, that they will hopefully post in their comments section below the article. After you read John’s article and the comments made by other readers, please share your thoughts about the article and comments (inclusive of mine). Let’s have some healthy dialogue and if possible, some positive solutions to issues facing the Black community specifically, and all underserved communities in general. Here you go:

Economic empowerment and the eradication of poverty first begins with understanding the history of how this country was built, how we rebuild during economic downfalls, and how the least of God’s children are impacted. It requires us to look at the missing piece between the have’s and have not’s. So yes, possessing a bank account versus being robbed blind at check cashing centers is a bonus. Yes, having a credit score around or higher than 700, instead of 550 and lower, is a huge predictor of a community’s growth and prosperity—as well as an individual’s ability to thrive not just merely survive. Yes, being financially literate is imperative, because if you aren’t then you run the risk of falling prey to predatory lenders who can smell your desperation miles away.

If you don’t have a bank account then how are you depositing or cashing checks? Are you going to check cashing centers and giving them a portion of YOUR money to gain access to YOUR money? That doesn’t sound like the wisest of choices when you have a choice. Show me one millionaire or billionaire who doesn’t have a bank account. Show me one entrepreneur without a bank account. Show me. I’m sure you can’t.

The banking system isn’t corrupt, there are corrupt INDIVIDUALS in the banking system; just like there are corrupt individuals in countless other systems including government, religious organizations, educational institutions, charities, etc. You can’t blame a crisis caused by unethical behavior on an entire system, because just as there were predatory lenders who knew customers were potentially high risk for loan defaults, there are some ‘victims’ of this economic downfall who knew they bought more house than they could afford, who knew that they didn’t have true job ‘security’ but gambled with the odds anyway, who claimed to earn more than they actually had (and eventually they had more month than money). So unethical decisions from individuals caused our country to suffer these past few years.

This is a brilliant post by John Hope Bryant, that clearly expresses the sentiment that if African Americans had a Bill Gates-type-entrepreneurial role model then the vision for the Black community would not be limited to a mindset of ‘only the lucky get out’, and the ‘victory’ would not be narrowed to simply having a ‘Black President”. 

Think about it, if Bill Gates was a Black man, the money he donates and invests would be injected within his community first and then worldwide. Don’t most of us consider taking care of ‘home’ before we take care of the rest of the world? Don’t we start local and then go global? Well if this were the case, then Black communities would be resuscitated through Gates community giving, and the country (and world) would see a different ‘picture’ of these communities. 

John Hope Bryant is NOT saying that Black people don’t have entrepreneurial role models; he is saying that we need MORE business owners who are employing thousands, not merely hundreds (or less). He’s saying we need more innovators, more businesses in technology, etc. that provide a competitive advantage within the U.S. in general, and within Black communities specifically. He’s saying we need MORE Black entrepreneurs going into the community, going into the schools and teaching and sharing the ‘magic’ in their success. 

He is saying that in order to eradicate poverty and gain economic empowerment in the Black community it is going to take the Black community, not government, not charity, not handouts, but hard work and each person reaching back to an open hand and providing a hand up out of the pit. It’s going to require Black people with 700+ credit scores teaching those with 550 and lower credit scores how they did it. It’s going to require Black entrepreneurs to hire within their community, to bring on interns to learn the ropes at their company, and to mentor young Black children.

The majority of our role models that our children regularly see come from entertainment and sports backgrounds, which there is nothing wrong with that, except if you lack talent in either area, then what?

Additionally, and no disrespect, but Oprah Winfrey, Magic Johnson, Bob Johnson, and others have built BRANDS that employ–but none to the extent of a Bill Gates level; and all three brands represent entertainment or sports. In 2007, Microsoft employed a reported 79,000 people. That was in 2007. Name one Black-owned company that employs 79,000 people? 

So John Hope Bryant’s article says, “what if Bill Gates were Black?” What changes would you see in the Black community? What would Black children aspire to become if they saw a Black employer hiring thousands of people within their community? How many Black people could be employed (since unemployment is HIGHEST in the Black community)? How many of our children would be encouraged to excel in STEM courses and pursue careers in those fields so that they too could grow up to ‘be like Bill’?

We need to take the emotion out; we need to stop wanting to attack everything we don’t understand, and start acting like we are intelligent enough to ASK for clarification if needed, and to ASK how we can individually and collectively help solve the problem.

How many of you volunteer in the Black community? How many of you work with the underserved and underrepresented? How many of you are helping to work towards a solution? Or are you merely only focusing on picking at and tearing down the things you don’t understand, and the things you are against? If you aren’t doing anything to help the Black community, and other underserved and underrepresented communities, then what does your opinion really mean, and what are you truly adding to this conversation?

John Hope Bryant you did an awesome job with this piece. We need our children to aspire to be entrepreneurs as much as (or more than) they aspire to be athletes and entertainers. Great, they want to be a football star, but let’s teach them to also start and build a business (now) as an additional revenue stream—so when their football career ends, they still have a career…and wealth, not just temporary riches! 

A broke mindset only gets the same results…an unfinished puzzle!

 

 

Copyright 2012. Natasha L. Foreman. All Rights Reserved.


By Natasha L. Foreman

Operation HOPE Founder, CEO and Chairman John Hope Bryant spoke at my alma mater, Kaplan University in April about his vision for leadership in today’s fear-based society. John’s visit to Kaplan University and his discussion was featured during the university’s Visionary Voices webinar,” and highlighted the principal arguments in his best-selling business leadership book: “LOVE LEADERSHIP: The New Way to Lead in a Fear-Based World.”

I had the chance to view the webinar live but for those of you who missed out or simply want to see and hear again what my friend John had to say click on the link below and enjoy:

natashaforeman.com
paradigmlife.blogspot.com
theparadigmlife.wordpress.com