For the past three years, I’ve had the pleasure of working at Southern Bancorp, a Community Development Financial Institution in the Mid-South, serving rural and underserved communities. At Southern, we believe wealth building isn’t just for the wealthy. Therefore, it is our mission to be wealth builders for everyone.
I’ve loved this concept since the first day it was introduced to me. I love hearing customers share how we’ve helped them rebuild their credit and pay off years worth of debt. It makes me emotional to watch the story of a customer who bought her first home in her 60s, after thinking she’d only be able to rent for the rest of her life. It makes me smile to see young entrepreneurs turn their dreams into successful small businesses.
I have shared all of these success stories with friends and on social media using the hashtag #wealthbuildersforeveryone. One day, it finally hit me that I need to not only be a wealth builder for our customers, but for myself as well. While Southern provided the financial services, it was the customers who took hold of their financial futures and made the necessary changes.
Meanwhile, I was just waiting around for a pot of money to fall in my lap to pay for all my hopes and dreams. After almost a year and a half of working at Southern, I decided it was time to start actively building wealth for myself.
So what exactly is wealth building? According to www.fortunebuilders.com, “Wealth building is the process of generating long-term income through multiple sources. It relies on proper financial planning and insight into one’s future financial goals.”
For me, building wealth consisted of paying off my credit card debt and student loan, saving more consistently, finding additional forms of income, investing more aggressively in my 401K and increasing my net worth.
Net worth = Assets (cash, property, investments, etc.) – Liabilities (credit card debt, car loans, student loans, etc.).
Today, I have done all of the above, but I’m far from finished. I’m still saving and looking for more forms of income, but I’m also building an emergency fund, and each year I’m increasing my 401K contributions by 1%.
As I enter new stages of life, I’m sure wealth building will look a little different to me in the future, but today I encourage you to consider what wealth building looks like to you.