This Thanksgiving, I am thankful for God’s grace and wisdom. In 2001, I wrote a column called “Assets”. It was published as part of my book, “I Will Not Apologize”. This week, I was reminded of the contents of that article when my childhood home came on the market to sell. The home was purchased by the family in about 1956 and we still have it at much more value. It’s been sitting empty for a number of years during the illness of my parents and since the death of my mother. The question for us is what do we do with it? Sell or maintain? Black wealth is primarily based on home ownership. A home that was purchased in or about 1969 for about $ 10,000 is now worth about $500,000. A property purchased in 1969 can be sold and the money enjoyed.
Alternatively, the property can be used as collateral for a loan to start a family business or send a child or grandchild to College.
As in the case mentioned in the 2001 article, $22 million dollars was spent to buy the Forum for a church by a group. I mention this to demonstrate you can make a mistake and buy the wrong property. It can be wrong for a lot of reasons.
I am told the group lost the Forum. Managing a church is obviously different from managing a sports and entertainment venue.
The idea is to make money from a purchase either by rents or income producing programs. A property good for a church may not be good for a sports arena. On the other hand, the property may be good for family occupancy or a beauty shop, barber shop, or a retail store. Having property is a good opportunity for you to teach your children how to work, manage ﬁnances, maintain property, and hire and supervise workers.
The article also mentions that a Sorority who purchases property may create an endowment of income from sources other than gifts. I am always struck by the fact that the NAACP written in its Bylaws that they cannot own property. That could be a design to keep them dependent. Personally, I think we need to be as independent as possible.
Looking at businesses in our neighborhoods, we see McDonald’s Restaurants making as many purchases of property as they can while supermarkets are moving because they can’t pay the rent. I’ve discovered that a particular Ralph’s Market pays $30,000 per month in rent. I can only say “Wow”! It must be nice to be their landlord.
How do you become a landlord? One way is to keep property in the family name as long as possible.
It may not be easy to stay in ownership, however, you must try. It becomes something to pass on to your children. Another way to become a landlord is to join together with other family members and purchase property.
A nice refund on your income taxes or personal injury settlement can be the beginning of a prosperous legacy, if it is spent or invested correctly. A few years ago, I settled a case where the police had injured a young man. He received
a large amount of money, purchased a truck for work, and a home in another state and started life over again. In another case, the client took his earnings from a settlement, moved to another location where property is cheaper and purchased an apartment building.
And in a wrongful death case where I was the lawyer, and the father was killed, I negotiated a settlement with the insurance company where the two children’s tuition was paid for and they got income into adulthood. They had no chance to spend all of the money at once.
Sadly, in too many cases, people have taken their settlement, spent it all, and were found knocking at my door asking for a loan. In one such case a man was shot by LAPD and lost his eye. We received a large settlement. I advised him to take his settlement and hold on to it through savings or in a safe investment, and ﬁnd a job to stretch out his money spending. Instead, he enjoyed the money and found himself broke before the end of the year.
With regard to my childhood family home, my sons have expressed interest to keep it in the family and take over the management. I’m grateful they have embraced the same sentiments that I have for the home. Thank God for income producing assets to leave a blessing for my children. My advice to all is, remember the words, “Income Producing Assets.” Later on, you will be thankful you did.