22 Nov What all PADs need to know about Time and Money
Let me let y’all in on a little secret- our two most precious commodities in the 21st century: time and money (in deliberate order of importance) are our best friends and worst enemies! I’m sure we’ve all heard proverbs like “Time is Money,” but due to a collective lack of financial literacy many of us miss the deeper significance and subsequently forfeit the infinite potential of manifestations and capital gains of either investment. Allow me to expound…
Some argue that time is infinite, and that may very well be true; but our time in THIS physical form is not. This has not been disproved by anyone I’ve ever encountered (or any belief system they align with), so let us hold this assumption as true and move forward.
Time is the most precious commodity, because we cannot store it like water, we have not figured out how to reproduce it, like oxygen. In fact, it’s probably one of the few truly immaterial things we know of in this age of technology and scientific wisdom. I’m no quantum physicist (or economist), but I invite someone of that field of study to weigh in.
Let me take it a step further, just to drive the point home- think about any product or service you’ve purchased; think about your job, or your business; time is directly or indirectly exchanged in one direction or another in every single example. We tend to think about money first during these exchanges because many of our respective societies have trained us to. The reality is that most of these capitalist societies and the structures and systems within them really want your time, not your money. Your time and how you use it, is way more valuable to them than your dollars. And when you do give big corporations your dollars, just remember (please, whip out your calculator and quantify) the time that went into earning those dollars in the first place! You need time to:
- Eat and/or grow food
- Be a Spouse or Partner
- Be a Parent
- Be a Friend
- Educate yourself
- Participate in Community/Society
- Earn Capital
Need I continue? I’d like for the reader to quantify just how much time (in hours per week) he or she spends on each of these things, and see how much of it are spent on items that help to develop and nurture you and yours. If this doesn’t put into perspective how much of your time is being cheaply sold or traded to external entities that do not fit or subscribe to your value system, then you probably need to read a more remedial article on “Managing yourself within time” (I won’t give up on you that easily, just comment below and based on demand, I’ll take the time to write one of those as well).
You see, I’m writing this as a Husband, Father, Brother, Friend, Employee, and Business Owner residing in a capitalist country that relies on the vast majority of its inhabitants living with little time and plenty of debt. I can say without reservation that there is not enough time in the Julian calendar we Westerners use for me to be effective at doing all of these roles, and this is with me leaving out several others. As a result, I have to prioritize and budget my time according to my values and my objectives; and let me tell you, try as I may, my time budget remains in the “red.” This is because by my definition of freedom, I (and anyone in a similar position in a similar social structure) am currently enslaved! And before anyone challenges this notion, consider that I define freedom as “being able to do WHATever I choose to, WHENever I choose to within legal and ethical constraints.” Then consider that there are people in this country and planet doing just that- believe me, I know a few. The sad reality is that the vast majority of truly free people in this world are either white males or indigenous people living in isolated areas in social structures that would be unfamiliar to you and I. These are people that are wealthy in terms of time, and that puts them in an enviable place in my book.
There is no question about it, money is one of the most talked about yearned after commodities on the planet. I do believe we are a bit misguided in the sheer amount of reverence we dedicate to it, but even I can agree that due to the current global structure and state of affairs, it is a tool that anyone seeking freedom needs to have and understand. Too often, people confuse having access to money as being wealthy. The truth is that if one lacks financial literacy, it is only a matter of time until they lose that very money they once had access to. As trite as it sounds, money is indeed a tool; it’s a tool that should be used to make you and your offspring more of it, but most of us believe it is a tool that can only be used to pay our bills, or to purchase material things that will never yield a return (i.e. that drink at a lounge, or that Pumpkin Spice Latte you think will enhance your morning or day). Some responsible and eventually profitable things you can do with money include:
- Saving it
- Investing in anything that yields compound interest, such as 401k, IRA, stocks, mutual funds, ETFs (now, possibly even cryptocurrencies)
- Purchasing land or rental properties
- Starting a business
If you are reading this article and have not used your money (no matter how much you think you are earning) to do at least one of these, then chances are you may want to brush up on your financial literacy. You see, just as with time we can easily be cajoled into spending money on things we do not truly value- it’s the American way!
So how do people of African descent (PADs) navigate through the fuckery and maximize on both their time and money to improve our global position?
We need to identify what our individual, familial, and collective values are. Too often we find ourselves chasing after ideals that are not even ours. We need to fix that- and all it takes is some real self reflection or a discussion with your loved ones.
I believe that one of the biggest problems facing PADs today is that we lack a collective vision. This is what attracted me to Pan Africanism in the first place- there is a well defined vision that doesn’t even require every PAD to participate in order to become a reality. We just need a few good brothers and sisters. Form a group with those closest to you- accomplish something together. Trust me when I tell you there is no better feeling.
You ever hear those stories about people who rise from utter destitution to some enviable or remarkable position of power? Don’t they always seem to talk about how they stuck to their plan no matter what others said or did? Take notes- too many PADs are moseying around here without a plan! I assure you that this way of functioning is the easiest way to quickly deplete every single resource that is available to you without seeing a tangible or desirable result. You can start with smaller plans and build confidence to take on more significant endeavors as you develop.
This subject isn’t as straight forward as the others. What I really mean by discipline is controlling urges while constantly holding yourself accountable to take the actions/steps you need to complete in order to accomplish the objectives you have set for yourself. For PADs in the diaspora, this means becoming a master at leveraging the two commodities that headlined this article!
We simply do not have time to waste like other groups seem to (the reality is that most of them don’t even have it)! I know you want to live like what you see on TV, but trust me when I tell you, the vast majority of us do not have the time or money to do so (no matter how much you think you make)! We have to accept that the older we are, the less likely we are to be able to live that glamorous life we dreamed of living in our primes if we had not adequately planned for it in our late teens and early twenties!
I am not saying that if you are in your mid thirties to early forties that you should throw in the towel and revert to your wasteful ways- I’m simply saying that a more attainable plan would be to fix your finances and create a comfortable retirement lifestyle and legacy for your offspring with the able bodied years you have left.
FACT- anyone can become a millionaire with enough time and money to invest! The problem is that too many PADs come from a culture of spending and dependency instead of one of saving and ownership! To make matters worse, we tend to start off with nothing or in a deficit, and are offered little in terms of financial literacy. We get showered with pseudo moral codes and image based values- both of which can be detrimental to the way we perceive both time and money!
So the solution is to teach our youth about time and money- our ancestors built and sustained the largest empires known to man because they understood these concepts all too well. It’s time for a Pan African paradigm shift- I don’t think what I shared was rocket science, but it could really go along way in helping us achieve our collective objective.
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