Celebrating Black History Month: Highlighting Malcolm “MJ” Harris
Twice weekly, NGPF is celebrating Black History Month by highlighting Black financial leaders and educators via dedicated posts and student activities on the NGPF blog.
With this third post, we are highlighting the work of Malcolm “MJ” Harris. Harris is the CEO and founder of National Care Financial Group, an enterprise that he started from his dining room table and is now one of America’s largest African-American owned financial services firms! You can learn more about him here!
Featured Resource and Activity Idea: Video - Don’t Go Broke Trying to Impress People
Our society conditions us to believe that people who look wealthy must be wealthy, and so we put a lot of value on having designer clothes, the latest technology, the fanciest car...you get the picture. In the video, Don’t Go Broke Trying to Impress People, Malcolm shares the surprising discovery he made after meeting plenty of people who looked the part, and how it forced him to change how he approached his own finances. We’ve provided comprehension and discussion questions below that you can use to extend the learning with your students! Enjoy watching!
1. What is the surprising discovery Malcolm made after meeting some of his clients?
Answer: Those people who looked wealthy usually ended up having the least amount of money or wealth. On the other hand, those people who looked “ordinary” were usually the ones with millions of dollars in assets and had more wealth.
2. What did Malcolm realize about himself after meeting with his clients?
Answer: He realized that he was like the clients who looked wealthy. Despite the fact that he had two salaries, he was not actually retaining the money he was making! Instead, he was spending a lot of money in an attempt to impress others.
3. What is “the gap”, according to Malcolm, and how does it relate to building wealth?
Answer: "The gap" is the difference between how much you earn and how much you spend. The bigger the gap, the better! In other words, try to keep your expenses low while increasing your income to continue building wealth.
4. How does wealth relate to having financial freedom?
Answer: Wealth can give you flexibility. You don’t have to worry about being able to afford things or experiences you value, and you are not overwhelmed by financial emergencies when they inevitably come up.
1. Identify three people who you think are wealthy. What criteria are you using to evaluate whether they are wealthy or not? How do you know if they are truly wealthy?
2. What kinds of trade offs might someone have to make if they want to focus on building wealth?
3. How can YOU start building more wealth for yourself in the next few months? 1 year? 5 years?
PS: Malcolm has a whole financial tips playlist on YouTube that you can watch here!
If you’re looking for more ways to celebrate Black History Month, NGPF is focusing most of our weekly Speaker Series on Black creatives from different social media platforms who emphasize financial literacy in their content.
About the Authors
Sonia has always been passionate about instruction and improving students' learning experiences. She's come a long way since her days as a first grader, when she would "teach" music and read to her very attentive stuffed animals after school. Since then, she has taught students as a K-12 tutor, worked in several EdTech startups in the Bay Area, and completed her Ed.M in Education from the Harvard Graduate School of Education. She is passionate about bringing the high quality personal finance content and instruction she wished she'd received in school to the next generation of students and educators. When she isn't crafting lesson guides or working with teachers, Sonia loves to spend her time singing, being outdoors, and adventuring with family and friends!
When I started working at Next Gen Personal Finance, it's as though my undergraduate degree in finance, followed by ten years as an educator in an NYC public high school, suddenly all made sense.
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