I’ve been holding this post just for this month, Black History Month, in order to spotlight those in the African-American community that are doing their part to close the wealth gap. If you haven’t read my post about the wealth gap and how we can close it, then I invite you to go here and do so.
Today, I want to spotlight a gentleman who is doing his part to help close the wealth gap in the African-American community. Pastor Andy Ragland.
Last month, I had the privilege to attend a personal finance conference here in my city. The conference was entitled Money Matters: Put Some Muscles In Your Money. This seminar was conducted by local pastor, Pastor Andy Ragland of Christian Fellowship Church. In this seminar, Pastor Ragland teaches personal finance from a Biblical perspective.
About Pastor Ragland
Pastor Ragland has been teaching personal finance since 2003. He’s has spoken all over the United States, teaching Biblical principles to personal finance. He also offers personal finance coaching where since 2003 he has taught over 200 people how to escape financial bondage and be good stewards over that which God has given them. Out of the people, Pastor Ragland has taught, he boasts a 50% ratio of those remaining consistent in their money management and remaining debt-free.
I had a chance to sit and talk to Pastor Ragland after the seminar and here is what he had to say.
Tracie Threadford: What is the biggest thing we, as a community, can do to close the wealth gap?
Pastor Ragland: Continue to enlighten through teaching. We must create the dialogue, we have to talk about it. Talking is essential because when we talk about it we create buzz. Once we create buzz, it becomes a fad. Just as the #metoo became a fad, we in the personal finance realm have to make personal finance a fad. We have to continue to talk until we have the attention of those who need our help the most.
TT: I noticed the number of people that you invited to the seminar, versus the number of people who actually showed up. Does that disappoint you and what makes you go on in spite of?
PR: No it doesn’t disappoint me, it used to but not anymore. Not in the sense of, oh I am sad but it does disappoint me because I know my people need this education. I also know that those that want change will come and they will stick with the program, and that keeps me encouraged and makes me get up and continue to do the work that I was created to do.
TT: One of the things I feel we can do to close this wealth gap is teach financial literacy in school. What is your view on that?
PR: Absolutely. That goes back to creating the dialogue. If you teach in school or at home that one needs to go to school, get an education, then go on to get a good job; you certainly should teach me how to manage the finances that you want me to be able to make. My motto is Make, Manage and Multiply.
Know your limitations
Having a budget/spending plan teaches you self-control. Self-control and discipline are crucial when handling your finances. Pastor Ragland went on to say, ” The problem is you really like you! You convince yourself you deserve this or that because you work hard.” I know I have said that same thing a million times. In his analogy of you liking you too much, he drives home the fact that your money is a direct representation of how much control you have. “You know what to do but you don’t do it.”
Time is money
“Rich is a status, wealth is a lifestyle. Oftentimes, we spend too much time with people who are not trying to accomplish what we are.” Your time is valuable. You spend eight hours a day or more, working to gain income, but what you do with that income shows you don’t value your time. Pastor Ragland said that the reason he wears nice watches is that he values his time. Trust me, if you ever see him, he really does wear extremely nice watches. In the finance game, you don’t have time or money to waste. If you aren’t already taking the necessary steps for retirement and legacy, you still have time and the time to start is now. Remain focused, set a plan in motion and work the plan.
Establish a savings plan
My question to you reading this is what can you do right now to earn extra and cut costs? Here’s a little bit of what I do. I do makeup to earn extra money. That money has a purpose, I save the money until I get enough to open a CD, or invest it in some way. For more on saving and earning extra income be sure to revisit a couple of my articles on saving and earning extra income.
Your money is a business
“You are the CEO of your finances, your money is a business and you should treat it as such. You don’t have to support every cause that is presented to you. If someone asks you to buy a ticket from their child or brings one of those candy fliers to you, it is ok to say no and not feel bad about it. I tell people that the corporation has made all of its charitable contributions for the year, but we will put you on the calendar for consideration for next year. This is how the big corporations do it, they have all of their charitable giving on the calendar at the beginning of the year and distribute it as necessary.”
This is one that I personally will be using, because it was funny and because he was correct. I am the CEO of my money and my money is my business. We all have been present with will you support my child in such and such. I know that I have a niece that is a cheerleader and grandchildren who are school age who sell things all the time. Heck, I am selling Girl Scout cookies right now. Do I intend to give, of course, I do, but Pastor Ragland opened my eyes to the fact that it is ok not to if I don’t want to. I will still support others in their endeavors but from an allotted spending amount that my husband and I will set at the beginning of each year. Once that money has been used then the answer will be, “The corporation, W&T Threadford LLC, has made all of their charitable contributions for the year, but we will be happy to put you on the calendar for consideration next year.” This not only liberates me but by using the word consideration, it lets that person know I will think about this cause and see if it is something that aligns with my charitable giving goals. It does not guarantee that they will receive that contribution it just lets them know they are on my radar and it is a possibility that I will buy that raffle ticket next year.
It is a process
You don’t become financially free overnight because you didn’t get in the financial situation you are in overnight. It is a process. You have to walk in the season you are in right now. If your finances don’t allow you to go shopping and ball till you fall, then don’t do it. “If you want to see something different, you have to do something different. Your job is just your income, not your increase. ” Pastor Ragland was preaching then!.
Again, I agree. There was a time when I could not enjoy the creature comforts that I enjoy now because I just didn’t have the money. I was ashamed and I was hurt I wanted to do all the things I saw the proverbial “Joneses” did and I couldn’t. You know why I couldn’t? I was broke and knew that I didn’t want to be broke. I knew I wanted more out of life for myself and my children.
One day I was going to be a grandmother and I would want to give those grandbabies everything and I could and leave my children and grandchildren a legacy. Begin the process today to get your finances in order. If you are in debt, then write down everyone you owe, including any family or friends.
Stop using credit, because with credit you are spending money now that you will earn in the future. “You must block your money from going out. When your money does not have a purpose you flounder around in the financial world. When the purpose is unknown, destruction is sure.” He said a mouthful then because I used to be in that same situation. You have to have a game plan, you have to prepare. Pastor Ragland gave five ingredients to prepare and if you know me then you know I am going to share them. I want to see everyone succeed in the game of finance.
Ingredients To Prepare
1. Assessment- Preparation begins with knowing what to prepare for. Write down everyone you owe. Determine where you are and where you are headed. Examine what the conditions will be along the way. Determine what price you are willing to pay to get to where you want to be.
2. Alignment- Although you know where you are going, you still won’t make it unless you line up right. Good alignment makes success possible. Bad alignment makes success impossible. You can’t just work hard, you have to do the right work.
3. Attitude- Your attitude determines your altitude. Lazy people rarely prepare, but diligent people do prepare. Don’t be fooled, however, even the diligent get tripped up by the neglect of their attitude. You must have a positive attitude about yourself, your spouse (if you are married) and your situation.
4. Action- Ultimately you have to take action. It means being ready for the first step when the time comes. Without action, preparation has no purpose.
Here are some final words from Pastor Ragland. ” Courage is going forward in the face of fear. Become a process thinker, getting ready requires thinking ahead. By thinking ahead you recognize now what you will need later. Do more research, people in just about every profession or situation use some kind of research to improve themselves. Learn from mistakes. The greatest prep tool can often be a personas own experience. Be willing to remain faithful and stay the course until the end.
While Pastor Ragland not only teaches personal finance, he is an example of his own teaching by keeping his expenses low and his income high. He is doing his part to close the wealth gap in the African-American community by Making, Managing, Multiplying and putting some muscle in his money and he wants to show you how to do the same.
We here at traciebthreadford.com salute you, Pastor Ragland, and all you do to close the wealth gap in the African-American community. If you know of someone who is working to close the wealth gap in the African-American community, I want to know about them. You can nominate them by sending me an email at Tracie@traciebthreadford.com telling me what they do and how they do it and I will feature them on my blog. This will now be a monthly feature on the blog and I am ready to hear from you.