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“Any time you stop producing and focus only on consuming, you have nothing to be proud of other than what you consume…if you don’t produce and wait on someone to hire you and give you a vision, you may not get there,” Bishop T.D. Jakes said on the concept of obtaining abundance. “Until we start taking over our community understanding our marketplace and get our lion’s share of the marketplace, will we never get up.”
What does abundance look like in 2023?
For Black people and the BIPOC community at large could that be having more in the bank (and in the mind) without having to scrape by, despite what the economy says? Or breaking multi-generational habits due to a scarcity mindset or feeling like there is not enough to go around even though there is?
According to reports, an average Black family has less than one-tenth of the household wealth of their white counterparts.
“The progress of the American middle class is often measured in generations. People like to know they have done better than their parents—and that their children will do better still,” Bloomberg reported. “For all the dislocation that the pandemic caused and all the gloom out there about a looming recession, people in the American middle class are remarkably optimistic about the long-term, believing that their children will land well.”
Bloomberg added that some answers involve consumers looking to possibly cut back on purchases to save money.
Oprah Winfrey once said, “If you look at what you have in life, you’ll always have more. If you look at what you don’t have in life, you’ll never have enough.”
Local business owner Kenji Lemon builds financial wealth one day at a time for his family and said he’s going for the opposite mindset by building abundance within his family and leading by example.
The Detroit-based owner of One Stop Property Maintenance LLC previously told the Michigan Chronicle that living in abundance is about not being anxious and repeating the same decisions that keep people stuck.
“For a long time, I’ve been focused on being prepared for the future,” Lemon said, adding that abundance can be within the community, too, by locally circulating the Black dollar longer for a win-win. “I’m a Detroit resident operating a business within Detroit, open to hiring Detroiters with barriers to employment, that services other entrepreneurs in Detroit. Every dollar that I generate gets funneled back into the city multiple ways,” he said.
While the pandemic has shaken the foundation of Black people who are still recovering financially due to long-term sicknesses, job losses (four-in-10 Black adults lost jobs or wages since March 2020), mental health woes and more – getting back in control of their finances and paving a path toward abundance does not have to be an overwhelming task.
Career Strategy Speaker and expert Tristan Layfield, also a LinkedIn Top Voice 2020, told the Michigan Chronicle recently that living in abundance equates to being prepared and having multiple streams of income because sometimes one job alone is not enough.
“We have a very large majority of people who aren’t getting paid enough,” he said, adding that one job is not sustaining them or padding their retirement. “[With] people who [are] middle-income workers … it’s unsurprising that people would [explore more] opportunities. I think at this point in time one of the things that a lot of people are doing is just trying to survive.”
Layfield adds that living comfortably and in abundance looks different for different people – but it’s important when striving for abundance to aim toward a number that makes sense for one’s situation.
“What’s going to make me comfortable is completely different than somebody [else] my age,” he said, adding that when working toward abundance whether financially, emotionally, physically or something else altogether, it’s important to remember that it’s a mindset first and not a rat race to the finish line of prosperity, which he describes as a “symptom of capitalism.” “In America we’ve sort of been taught that you know if we have downtime there’s a way to monetize that and … I think we all are going to feel like … the burden [of that].”
The solution on the way to the top with abundance?
“I think for us to be able to be functional members of society … who are satisfied in our lives we need a balance of work and personal,” he said.