There’s “woke”…and there’s “financially woke”. For those of you that don’t know what woke means, abandon this post immediately and ask a trusted black friend. I can’t with you. For those of us that do, allow me to explain.
To me, “wokeness” is rooted in a deep sense of pride, clear-headedness and courage. One could argue that the term is merely a more palatable reference to the term consciousness, but to me, woke feels…wider. To me, woke is less edgy and more encompassing of subject matter that influences society as a whole versus a point-of-view derived from some random corner of the universe.
Not too long ago, being woke was a blessed and rare thing—a quality unique to the talented tenth. Today, I’m proud to say that being woke is more common and is the cost of entry to many influential, relevant and progressive corners of society. In some circles, it is as mandatory as hygiene and manners. Still, in keeping with the objective [to make progress] it has become increasingly clear that to be financially woke is a far more rare occurrence.
To be financially woke is to not just understand the math but to know the inner-workings of the systems, policies and history of the society you are a part of. For example, it is one thing to know gentrification is a real phenomenon. It is another thing entirely to participate in your city’s local council meetings, identify who funded elected officials’ campaigns, draw connections to approved building permits via meeting minutes on the city or tax assessors website and invest in the future developments that eventually redefine the city. When you are this level of woke, you can predict the future. In a world where capitalism and money is the law of the land
to be financially woke is a superpower.
In a world of regular Joe’s aimlessly wandering around in a daze of blissful ignorance, the financially woke are the one’s batten down the hatches preparing for the storm. In their secret layers, they are usually alone or with a group of other like-powered superheroes watching the news, listening between the lines and paying close attention to things regular Joe’s ignore or are incapable of interpreting. Interest rates, block chain, automation, political shifts that impact the marijuana industry and the fine print of the GOP tax plan to name a few. While you all may have access to the information; only the financially woke can detect the faint frequency of alarms in the distance. Only they can see the Matrix.
When a financial hurricane hits and underwater homeowners are holding onto the side of their home at risk of being swept away by a rip current, it is often the financially woke that swoop in to “rescue”. Did they know a storm was coming? Absolutely; and they prepared for it with insurance, life-vests, maps, water, portable chargers, formula and enough food to ride out the storm comfortably. They are the millionaire’s next door; hiding in plain sight ready to rent you the home you once owned.
The financially woke can also leap buildings in a single bound—a feat that would take regular Joes months or even years to do. These are the people who have their savings pulled off the top automatically and live modestly off the rest all the while stacking chips on the low. This allows them to run laps around everyone else and to never feel the pain and frustration of fatigue, disruption or failure. After all, to be financially woke means you are also [recession] bulletproof. When life aims the gun of an unexpected $3,700 A/C repair bill at them, it bounces off their chests like pellets. Unexpected hospital bill suddenly appears for $2000+ shortly thereafter? The financially woke can catch bills with their teeth and return to kickin a$$ without flinching. They are perpetually un-phased.
When these superheroes don’t have a natural defense mechanism to fight off the threats they face, they break out tools and gadgets to help avert the crisis. Concerned about if their investments are working as hard as they should, or if the growth is sluggish due to high hidden fees? A quick peek into Personal Capital can answer that question in mere seconds. Think they might be a victim of identity theft? No problem, a quick slide into Credit Sesame and they can check their credit score and report while being protected up to $50K for the freeskie weesky.
But to be financially woke is not all dandelions and unicorns. Like most superheroes, sometimes we they want nothing more than to be like regular people. Sometimes, we they just want to go shopping, buy a big house, nice car and go to work without thinking about their legacy, measuring their sense of fulfillment or the impact of a purchase long term. The curse of the financially woke is to be constantly mindful of waste and to live with a better, richer tomorrow in mind.
Like super-heroes often do, they also try hard to pass as normal people so as to not reveal their identities. If you’ve ever tried to go out to a restaurant or plan a family vacation with others who aren’t quite as “able” you can relate. It can be awkward when torrential downpours to others feel like a light drizzle to you. Yet, at their core, they want nothing more than to experience life as they experience it with their loved ones. All the while knowing that not everyone was meant or able to be a superhero. It is a blessed burden and one we they embrace delicately.
The good news is everyone can work towards becoming financially woke in their own way. It may not take you the same time as other regular Joes but know that it is possible by simply spending less than you earn and investing the rest —a refreshingly slow, simple and incredibly hard thing to do today. Trust me, you want to be able to see into the future, leap buildings, run laps in your sleep and have big bills bounce off you like raindrops. Your family’s future depends on it.