- Faith & Family
How do you define wealth? Is it the number of zeros in your salary? Is it the size of your retirement nest egg, the square footage of your home or perhaps the number of homes and cars that you own? Noted Black psychologist, Dr. Charles Richards, has taken on the notion of wealth, hoping to both expand our general understanding of the topic and to suggest a new process for seeking and achieving wealth in the future.
Charles, the author of the New York Times bestseller, “The Psychology of Wealth: Understand Your Relationship with Money and Achieve Prosperity,” was recently in South Florida, speaking at NOVA Southeastern University for members of Miami’s National Association of Black Accountants [NABA]. He says that as a psychotherapist for over 30 years, he has come to realize that people not only have problems maintaining relationships with others, but sometimes have dysfunctional relationships with money.
“Sometimes the reason that people have failed relationships is because they lack a quality relationship with money,” he said. “Wealth is a multi-dimensional issue that is a lot more than just our bankbook and assets. It also has to do with the quality of one’s life — that is, those things that gives us the most satisfaction.”
Richards advises Black parents to talk with their children at the dinner table about finance and to help them develop good habits of goal-setting early on.
“Children need to be taught how to take responsibility for even small, modest financial goals,” he said. “But parents must walk the walk as well and apply sound financial principles in their own lives that they then can translate and pass on to their children.”
When asked why so many people live their lives hoping to win the lottery, only to win and then soon find themselves broke once again, Richards had this to say: “If you don’t have the mindset to handle the influx of energy that winning the lottery brings, chances are you won’t be able to hold on to it for very long,” he said. “I compare it to an electrical current. Imagine you are used to handling five or 10 watts — suddenly you have a billion watts. What do you do with it? If you can’t adapt, it will harm you.”
To win big you have to be willing to risk
Richards also says those who want to improve their financial situation and increase their wealth must be willing to take on greater challenges — they must take a leap of faith.
“Many of us are presented with great opportunities and it takes discernment to even realize that you have a great option before you,” he said. “But most people are afraid to fail. It’s impossible to always pick a winner. The key is to be persistent, to believe in yourself and to keep looking for good opportunities. Luck favors the person who acts. If you never swing you’ll never get any good pitches.”
By D. Kevin McNeir