On August 23, 2011, an earthquake that registered 5.8 on the Richter scale rocked New York City. The strongest in 67 years, even a quake of this magnitude was not enough to shake or sway consumers determined to see bestselling author, Hill Harper, at Hue-Man Bookstore & Café in Harlem, located at 2319 Frederick Douglass Boulevard. Hill Harper, back reading an excerpt from his fourth release, The Wealth Cure, engaged the standing room only crowd. Afterward, through a Q & A segment, he openly discussed financial issues with all the candor and charm of a sibling that has been long missed.
How to manage credit card debt, avoiding predatory lending, budgeting and saving, aspects of financial health leading up to wealth building—authors such as Napoleon Hill, Suze Orman, and Robert Kiyosaki have approached this subject matter, but these concepts have not been tackled in quite this way before. A Harvard Law graduate and accomplished actor with a long list of film and television credits, Harper readily admits, “I am no financial expert, nor do I pretend to be. I’m just a man on a journey trying to figure it all out myself….” Yet, without the credentials of a CPA, CFP, or financial advisor, he has created a formative tool. In The Wealth Cure, Harper explains the way money—or the lack there of—impacts our community.
As in his titles Letters to a Young Brother, Letters to a Young Sister, and The Conversation, when Hill Harper presents advice, it’s an intimate exchange. He draws from his own family history, health struggles, and personal knowledge to help others bridge the gap in their finances. Making a correlation between health and wealth, Harper advises readers to “diagnose,” thus assessing their own problem areas, “treat” to take action to rectify those problems, as well as “comply,” “maintain,” and “thrive.”
According to Harper, “Money is not wealth. We need to cure debilitating relationships with money.” Understanding his readers, he openly addresses truths that are hard to face and gives honest answers. “I don’t want people to feel guilty about spending, because money is something that we all need,” he states. “However, we should appreciate money, not worship the almighty dollar.”
While our community gets bombarded by advertisements, urging African Americans to spend more and more, Harper points out that excessive consumer debt is a form of enslavement. He also mentions that until we change our attitudes toward the dollar, we cannot change our financial situation. “Credit cards are so attractive because they allow us to ignore our spending. But, our economy is in a state of emergency. We now need to shift from consumer debt to investing in real property, so that we can provide a financial legacy for our children. The sooner we get started the better.”
By Eartha Watts-Hicks
Note: Hill Harper recently battled thyroid cancer and he openly shared this in the reading.