Bling! Bling! This phrase was made popular and incorporated into the American lexicon by B.G and the Hot Boys in the 90’s by Birdman (respect my name), and his brother from the Cash Money record label. Stuntin and Flossin are also terms of endearment in the hip hop culture. Rappers have become the poster children for excess, braggadocio, Big spending, luxury lifestyle’s from the bottom. Some of this is Hollywood celebrity lifestyle expectation. Some of this is aspirational, fake it till you make it. To me it can represent a trap destined to set one up for economic slavery. I don’t mean to be harsh but the american reality is very sobering. Most Americans are living with excessive credit card debt and have absolutely no savings, but there is always bling to buy! When it comes to the African- American community that bling sometimes represents way more than it should in terms of personal wealth.
Entertainers and celebrities are highly paid and our society is obsessed with their lifestyles. What they buy and wear, where they live. The media has created a frenzy for the tiniest luxurious details of a seemingly wealthy, but definitely rich group of people. What they do becomes aspirational for the average working person. The problem is, the celebrity, entertainer may be highly paid or maybe just famous, but we do not know what level of financial literacy each one is dealing with. With respek (Birdman) to building and keeping wealth, we should be paying more attention to the moguls the producers, behind the scenes who you don’t see much. The Al Haymans’, the Clive Davis’. The businessmen helping to make these celebrities are where the wealth is at. Everyday we also hear about some celebrity going bankrupt facing tax liens or some other financial overlook.
The first fundamental of building and keeping wealth is to live below, well below your means. This an impossible task if you are trying to live the “Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous”. Highly paid people often create a lifestyle for themselves that is dependent on that big check coming in. This goes for doctors, lawyers and other highly paid professionals as well. These professions have a societal expectancy to live a certain lifestyle. You can get caught in that or not, it is completely up to you. Never the less according to the study of over 500 millionaires over a twenty year period many are doctors and lawyers who live modest lives and have accumulated wealth for their families. In this extensive study of millionaires, they all lived off of a strict budget. There is a budget for clothing. There is a budget for entertainment, but most of all there is saving and investment. Most have never paid over $500 for a watch. You have to make the decision about how you want to live your life. Fake it until you never make it because you faked it too much? OR do I focus on real financial independence and wealth right now starting with what I have. You can always find a happy medium, but the discipline focus and goals have to be clearly defined. What I am saying is that the average working person can accumulate wealth and keep it, by discipline and following the same principles as these millionaires. If you do buy some really expensive jewelry, please get some insurance for it. I could respek that a lot more. Stay tuned.