1. Decide you won’t be poor.
If you’re stuck in a cycle of poverty, breaking out of that rut can seem impossible. But consider this: Millionaires who made something out of nothing didn’t get that way by throwing pity parties. “Poverty has never stopped the man or woman on the move,” says Dennis Kimbro, Ph.D., a professor at Clark Atlanta University School of Business and author of The Wealth Choice: Success Secrets of Black Millionaires. “I know it’s tough out there, but somebody needs to get excited about your life, and it better be you.”
2. Focus on internal roadblocks.
Yes, racism, classism and sexism can make it hard to get ahead, but using those isms as excuses isn’t going to improve your financial lot in life. “When we identify and address the internal factors, the external isms, while still real and hurtful to the overall economy, are mitigated—to some extent,” explains Kirbyjon H. Caldwell, senior pastor of Windsor Village United Methodist Church in Houston and a spiritual advisor to President George W. Bush. “Internal factors such as ineffective education, irrelevant training, overspending, conspicuous consumption, low savings rates, poor investment strategies and errant goal setting can all stand in the way of becoming and remaining financially prosperous.”
3. Stop emulating the wrong role models.
Hollywood stars and rappers with fancy homes, the trendiest clothes and the hottest cars may look like they’re doing something right, but the people you want to model yourself after are the ones who have been wealthy for decades, not for a minute. “Persons who want to become prosperous should strive to learn from those who are,” says Caldwell, “and those who are should share their expertise with those who are on their way.”
4. Admit you need help.
A Superrich celebs such as Oprah and Beyoncé may seem like solo success stories, but they have teams of educated, experienced professionals behind the scenes helping them build their empires. “Going it alone is the hard way,” says Althea McIntyre, a Chicago-based career coach. “The bigger your financial goal, the more support you need.” The first step? Fess up to what you don’t know, and find people who can help you fill the void. “The reason groups like Weight Watchers and marathon training groups work well is because you have the support of people who are working toward the same goal,” McIntyre adds. Seek out personal finance or business support groups in your community, or consider starting a group of your own.