By Thomas Sheffield

For years, I have been doing what most Americans in general, and particularly African Americans, are forced to do and that is living paycheck to paycheck without investing heavily in the future.   I realize we spend too much time living in the present and not preparing for the future.  I do not believe this attitude is entirely our fault.  We often spend more than we save because of our need for immediate gratification which comes from our negative prospect for a bright future.  Often times, African Americans prefer high-end status brands to compensate for feelings of low self-esteem.  I dare say, all these attitudes stem back to the institution of American slavery.

We (I) have wasted too much time sitting around, complaining and blaming others for our current condition. As we enter 2019, I say ENOUGH!!!  Obviously, we can not and should not depend upon our government to provide our basic needs in the future.  We must come to a time where we look past today, tomorrow, this week or this month.  We as a people, work too hard and have very little to show for it.  Many of us work 2 and 3 jobs and still struggle to make it as we are paid roughly 73% of what white people are paid.  How many of us have associate degrees, undergraduate and graduate degrees that are undervalued, underestimated and marginalized?  We pay for these degrees with the promise of  added value to the quality of our lives but we are still making less than whites with just a high school education.  That ain’t right and it is not sustainable.

The challenge is to think in a different way.  If we want to make significant change, we must plan 3 to 5 years and then 10 and 20 years ahead.  We need to plan on what we want the future to look like for our retirement and our children’s future.  Unfortunately, many of us work 40 years and end up with nothing because we did not plan.  Studies show 48% of people 5-10 years from retirement have less than $10 thousand saved after working 40 years or more.  

I want to help.  I have challenged myself to help 200 people by the end of the year 2020.  I want to help you plan for the future and for you to help someone else.  There are two ways I am able to help.  The first is through life insurance.  We need to make sure you are able to use this as a tool when you retire and also in case something happens to you or the one’s you love.  Secondly is through home ownership.  I will be teaching a first time home ownership class which is associated with a local Community Development Corporation.  The state of Tennessee offers downpayment assistance for first time home owners.  I am here to help.  Who will be next? 

Please feel free to contact me or you can follow me on Twitter @tcsheff. #Resist #WordsActionChange