As a Finance Professor, I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about and learning the power of money. I began studying money in college because I never had very much growing up. My parents worked hard to provide a good living and experienced social mobility through time, but we were definitely working class people. Over the years, after having the chance to put a few dollars in my pocket, I began to learn the many ways that money can make you strong or weak, depending on how you perceive it. I saw black public figures and organizations who’d become enslaved by money, losing their voice in the process, and common folks using money in ways that didn’t quite make sense to me.
I understand the need for money and appreciate it. But money, to me, is a means to an end and not the end within itself. As I express in my latest book, “Black American Money,” black America’s addiction to mass consumption is one of our greatest liabilities today. It doesn’t mean that you can’t appreciate nice things or having money in the bank, but an obsessive fixation on money can cost you your soul.