The overarching goal of Black Income Shifters™ is to spread Economic Empowerment, particularly among Black Individuals, families and communities. We help employees and home-based business owners increase their cashflow, and lower their taxes, by Income Shifting, participating in Capitalism and becoming producers, not just consumers.
The Black Income Shifters™ Movement began with a simple conversation between my wife and myself a couple of years ago. We were having the typical Black Wall Street discussion regarding how the Black community needs to return to a time of economic empowerment where we owned our own businesses and banks; and when our money circulated several times within our own communities before going elsewhere. It was a time where we understood the value of owning assets like land, physical plants, securities, businesses and even other people’s debt. Today, however, we focus more on owning liabilities: things that decrease rather than increase in value over time; depreciating assets such as expensive jewelry, luxury automobiles, the latest designer fashions and whatever else is hot at the moment. Unlike our predecessors, we are no longer a community of producers; we are now a community of consumers… good for little more than buying stuff and paying taxes. Instead of participating in capitalism, we merely contribute our hard-earned money to it.
This is where most conversations on this subject typically end. We had dutifully identified and acknowledged the problem, and wondered in righteous indignation when we as a people would “wake up” and do something to save ourselves. We kicked around a couple of the obvious solutions such as teaching our youth that having a job is good, especially in today’s tough economy; but owning your job is better. Of course, the best option of all is putting yourself in position to be able to provide jobs for other people in the community who look like you or who share your bloodline. Rather than demonstrating and holding out for more entitlement programs, we should pressure our politicians to demand proportional economics for our people from our nation’s leadership and lawmakers. As I mentioned before, this is where most conversations of this type usually begin to break down. It is almost as if we can see the light at the end of the tunnel; but fear the possibility that there might be a train behind it… so we just move on to the next topic du jour.
But on this particular day, our conversation did not end. Instead, we asked the next question: “What could the Hopkins family do personally to move our community forward from Black Main Street to Black Wall Street?” Our first step was to acknowledge that, realistically, perhaps “we can’t get there from here.” It is like we are stranded on an island without a boat or a bridge. The odds are certainly against us. Our nation’s economy is built on private business and investments. Yet, our own community chooses to value making money and spending it over leveraging and investing our considerable collective financial resources. Over 90% of us earn 100% of our income from a job… a job that belongs to someone else, and that can be taken from us at any time. Most of us don’t have any kind of Plan B, or even $1,000 in the bank to cover emergencies. Some of us do own homes and/or have employer funded retirement plans; but most do not. And even fewer have viable businesses or income producing assets that can be handed down to future generations.
We have become a community of employees, not employers… consumers and not producers. If business and investments are indeed the bedrock of capitalism, then we have not only failed to participate in it; but have metaphorically allowed that rock to fall on top of us! So, before there can ever be another Black Wall Street, we must first position ourselves to be financially free; not wealthy, necessarily, but certainly self-sustainable at the very least. We must learn the financial rules of engagement and become debt free. We must stop giving Uncle Sam the first third of our income (taxes), the bankers the second third (debt), and then squandering the remaining third on frivolities. And we must do all these things within the confines of what is legal, moral and ethical; otherwise they will not endure.
There are those among you every day, hiding in plain sight, who live this lifestyle; but you do not notice them because they do not drive the expensive luxury cars, or wear the latest fashions. They do not brag about their wealth or otherwise call attention to themselves. Our impressionable children do not wear their team jerseys, buy their music or watch their movies. But our children also do not see their mug shots on the evening news or hear about them filing for bankruptcy after mismanaging their fortunes. What is it that these “undercover millionaires” have that the rest of us do not? A better question is “What do they do that the rest of us do not?” Perhaps they made the effort early on to educate themselves about money and how it really works in America; and maybe they made the conscious decision to emulate the actions of those who are truly successful beyond the glitz and glamour. This is the foundation upon which Black Income Shifters was conceived and built; and is the road that ultimately leads from Black Main Street to Black Wall Street.
No matter how badly we want it, we can’t realistically expect Black-owned businesses to just arbitrarily start popping up in communities that are so culturally entrenched in the employee mentality. We must first change our mindset and position ourselves to be financially sustainable just as we are here and now. We need to understand that sometimes it’s not about making more money; it’s about making less of the money you already make taxable. Less taxable income puts more money in your pocket. Income and cashflow are not the same. Income is earned… cashflow is created by the decisions you make with the money you earn. It is the composite of money that you earn, save, borrow, leverage and invest. It would also help to debunk the myth that you must either be an employee or a business owner. Why not have a job and a business? The benefits to having both as compared to having a job alone are quite significant.
Instead of teaching our young people to work hard, get a degree, find a good job with benefits and retire in 40 years with a gold watch; instead, consider teaching them what wealthy parents teach their progeny. Teach them to work hard, get a degree, find a good job with benefits, learn all there is to know about your job and then start your own business. Then you become the “owner of good jobs” and can be a blessing to others in your community. I believe this is where the disconnect began; and where we must focus our initial efforts to forever change this employee mindset. Why not teach our youth that a job is truly a blessing; but it is just the comma in a sentence, not the period. The American Dream is built on home ownership, business ownership and asset acquisition. Keep your eyes on the prize.
A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step, so let’s begin from where we are. Most of us are employees, not business owners. We are not paid from profits, we are paid from wages. We don’t get dividends or capital gains, we get paychecks. Therefore, a logical first step would be to find a way to get more money in our paychecks. But a word of caution here; avoid the traditional methods of working longer hours, getting a second job or asking your boss for a raise. While, at first glance, these methods seem appealing; they can actually be counter-productive, causing a disproportionate increase in the taxes you pay and eventually invoking the Law of Diminishing Returns. So how, then, do we get more money in our paychecks? Where do we find the money to invest and start a business when you struggle everyday just to make ends meet? You may be surprised to find that the answer was in front of you all the time, obscured by pre-conceived notions and well-meaning advice from broke friends.
The answer is that you can find the money you need in the money you already make. That’s right, the money you need is already in your paycheck… you just don’t have access to it! We assume that our problem is that we don’t make enough money. But our money is out there making someone rich… unfortunately, that someone isn’t you! The two thirds of your income that you give to Uncle Sam and the bankers is the key to taking back control of your finances. But even more critical is what you do with your newfound cashflow when you access it. Once you recover your income lost to taxes, consider using it to eliminate your debt; then re-purpose your tax and debt savings to start an emergency fund, followed by building investment income. Maybe one of those investments should be a part-time home based business that may someday grow into a job producing, community building traditional business; or, might, at least, be able to be ramped up to full time should you somehow find yourself unemployed. Uncle Sam would much rather subsidize your business with lots of tax deductions than pay you unemployment or welfare.
We often find ourselves intimidated by the prospect of starting a business, and rightfully so; after all, we were raised, educated and trained to be employees, not employers. Look to the immigrants who come to America every day; they do not come here for jobs, they come here to learn a trade and then start a business. Our people are encouraged to work hard, get a degree, find a good job with benefits and retire in 40 years with a gold watch. For my parent’s generation, that may have been a decent strategy. Your job was relatively safe for forty years, and companies had pension plans back then. You lived in the same city all that time, got married, had kids and took out a mortgage on a home that would be paid off by the time you retired. The company had invested your money for you, and your assets would pay you a livable wage when you retired. Look around, that plan doesn’t work today… especially for our people.
Black Income Shifters is both a movement and a financial strategy. It operates from a “2-4-3 Financial Success Construct” consisting of Two Objectives that we all share, Four Challenges that task us every day, and Three Solutions capable of overcoming those obstacles. Additionally, there are built in support systems that guide you through the process step by step. Our book, BLACK INCOME SHIFTERS: Shift Your Cashflow From Red To Black, was an Amazon #1 Best Seller. The authors travel coast to coast providing on site workshops and seminars. We offer a 7-day online course entitled “Give Yourself A Raise” through our web-based Income Shifters Academy that shows you how to legally, morally and ethically reclaim the initial third of your income lost to taxes. Additionally, we build a sense of community through our Black Income Shifters Membership, which features Live weekly and monthly virtual informational training sessions, as well as coaching calls and accountability sessions. Finally, for those who want to take it to the next level, and become a leader in the movement, we offer the training and support to become a Certified Cashflow Strategist, and adjunct faculty in the Income Shifters Academy.
For more information on how you can get involved, contact:
President and CEO
Black Income Shifters™