What affects every aspect of a person’s life – from education to health, from career to relationships? It’s only one word, and two syllables – money.

When the topic of money is presented, temperatures arise, pulse rates increase, and people shift in their seats. The subject causes discomfort for most individuals. They never have enough of it; and, to make ends meet, most work two or more jobs. Poverty ravages communities throughout the United States. Below are some eye-opening statistics from Kairos Center:

  • The official poverty rate is 14.5%, meaning 45.3 million people in the US live in poverty, up by over 8 million since 2008. 
  • Nearly 1 in 3 Native Americans (29.2%), over 1 in 4 African Americans (27.2%), 1 in 4 Hispanic/Latinos (23.5%), 1  in 10 Asians (10.5%) and 1 in 10 non‐Hispanic whites (9.6%) live below the federal poverty line.

Currently, the US unemployment rate is 4.2%, meaning 6.9 million persons are out of work. Some have families and obligations, and are desperately looking for work in a competitive market. Those who can’t find jobs resort to entrepreneurship.

Economic empowerment is a term that has been discussed amongst social entrepreneurs. It’s no longer enough or satisfactory to own a business. There’s the burden to not only change our own personal lives but also uplift our community, nation, and the world.

But, how does one come into terms with their personal finances? How does one build true wealth – the type of wealth that benefits not only themselves but also help those who are less fortunate? Below are some strategies to get you started.

1. Faith it until you make it.

Bring all the tithes (the tenth) into the storehouse, so that there may be food in My house, and test Me now in this,” says the Lord of hosts, “if I will not open for you the windows of heaven and pour out for you [so great] a blessing until there is no more room to receive it. Then I will rebuke the devourer (insects, plague) for your sake and he will not destroy the fruits of the ground, nor will your vine in the field drop its grapes [before harvest],” says the Lord of hosts. “All nations shall call you happy and blessed, for you shall be a land of delight,” says the Lord of hosts.
(Malachi 3:10)

The principle of tithing may not make sense to you, but it works. We have insurance for everything, including our health, cars, etc. just in case something happens. Count tithing as insurance on your financial future.

2. Financial Expert Dave Ramsey offers a course called Financial Peace University. Millions of people throughout America have taken his course. His mission is to inspire people to live a debt-free life and build wealth through a series of seven steps. It takes consistency, perseverance, commitment – and, most of all, patience to achieve those steps.

3. The Financial Clinic is a financial coaching organization with sites across New York City. They work with working poor Americans and the organizations that serve them to build financial security and improve their financial mobility.

4. The Millionaire Next Door by Thomas J. Stanley Ph.D.

Do you know how a millionaire looks like? Most of us think it’s the person who flaunts expensive clothes, cars, etc. This book debunks theories and provides insight on how true millionaires operate.

5. The Science of Getting Rich by Wallace D. Wattles

Published in 1910, this  book contains principles which are still relevant, challenging you to change your thinking about money.

Cindy Similien-Johnson is the founder of CSJ Media Publishing, and author of the bestselling e-cookbook series and popular cooking classes, "Cook Like A Haitian." She's also the founder of the women empowerment grassroots initiative, Goal Chic.

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