To empower is to promote self-directed action toward a goal. Nehemiah Community Foundation’s wealth empowerment program seeks to empower people who desire financial independence and freedom from financial worries and the burden of debt.
Wealth empowerment does not refer to the process of becoming rich. Instead, it means learning how to live within your means and to use the available resources to take greater control of your finances and to become financially stable and healthy. Wealth does not mean the same thing to everyone. To some being wealthy means having the ability to pay their rent or mortgage on time with sufficient funds left over to treat themselves or their family to something special. To others, it may mean having a significant portfolio of investments and assets. In either case, wealth empowerment begins with a commitment to move from financial uncertainty to financial security.
You can create wealth by better managing your money, protecting your assets, and making changes in your financial behavior. You can alter your path if you are ready to embrace changes in your financial lifestyle—don’t let your wealth slip through your fingers. Here are some tips to move from financial uncertainty and insecurity to financial freedom.
Becoming more aware of your financial behavior is a great start. Remember, financial knowledge is real power. It protects you from being taken advantage of and gives you the ability to negotiate better decisions for you and your family. This website provides practical guidelines to help you transform your financial condition and change your life. Your aim may not be great wealth but greater financial security and the enhanced self-esteem that stems from putting an effective financial plan to work. When you begin by observing your financial behavior, you will be able to change it to more rapidly achieve your goals.
According to the American Psychological Association’s 2007 Stress in America survey, money and work are two of the top sources of stress for almost 75 percent of Americans. Learning positive money management techniques reduces anxiety and places you on the path to successful wealth building. Create a simple financial plan stating what you want to achieve, the amount, and a target date of completion. Then incorporate your financial goals into your personal budget. Review your goals at least once a year to see how much progress you have made. Revise your plan as necessary.
According to Knight Kiplinger, Editor in Chief of Kiplinger Publications, there are eight keys to financial security and building wealth. (Kiplinger Report, 2009)
Key 1: Invest in Yourself
Your earning power is the most important asset you will ever own. No matter what happens in the economy, the education and job skills you have acquired or plan to get cannot be taken from you.
Key 2: Protect Yourself and Your Loved Ones
Life is full of shocks with big financial consequences – marriage, serious illness, disability, or job loss. It helps if these risks are insured to provide a cushion whenever you may need it. Because life is unpredictable, having an emergency fund helps when you need it most.
Key 3: Borrow Sparingly
Use credit only to buy things that will last a long time such as your house, your car, and education. Pay for everything else in cash.
Key 4: Pay Yourself First
Make the first check you write to yourself each month a deposit to your savings account or retirement fund. Then, pay the rest of your bills on time—every time.
Key 5: Don’t Go for the Home Run
Sometimes a base hit is better than a home run. Have the patience to continue to make small financial improvements. It pays off in the long run.
Key 6: Diversify, Diversify, Diversify
Don’t put all your money into one basket. This means make different types of investments to help smooth out potential ups and downs.
Key 7: Live Simply Today for a More Comfortable Tomorrow
Avoid impulsive behavior, do your homework before making a major purchase, and shop around diligently. Postpone large purchases for awhile. Instead, use the funds to pay off your debt and improve your credit score.
Key 8: Give Generously to Create a Better World
Your financial security depends on the financial, physical, and spiritual health of others in your community, our nation and our world. As you master financial techniques and strategies, you will earn more. Sharing your good fortune by donating a portion of your money to a worthy cause creates a stronger economy, and a healthier, safer world. It also makes your own world better as you share your abundance with others in meaningful and caring ways.
Wealth building is a learned practice. Like a well-exercised muscle, it becomes stronger and more effective over time as you re-balance the way you use your time and money. Put the television on a diet and take a financial education course. The pay off will be a lifetime of more prosperous, less stressful living! You can learn how to move toward having financial freedom and security by taking our Building Your Wealth online course.