The State of the African-American Consumer Report said that African-American buying power is approaching $1 trillion, which would make us one of the largest nations in the world if we were a country. Specifically, the report notes that black buying power has increased from $957.3 billion in 2010 to an expected $1.1 trillion by 2015. Although this data from the State of the African-American Consumer Report reflects a positive growth in blacks’ disposable income, the growing failure of blacks to do significant business with other blacks casts a dark shadow over the news (source: Victoria

Money circulates zero to one time within the black community, compared to the more than six times it circulates in the Latino community, nine times in the Asian community and unlimited amount of times within the white community, according to the University of Georgia’s Selig Center for Economic Growth.

And so, I am sitting here in Washington, D.C. at a “Making of Modern Atlanta” session, hosted by Congressman John Lewis and the Andrew Young Foundation, and I noticed myself become frustrated. Why? Because the man who made countless black millionaires in Atlanta, legitimately I might add, the late Mayor Maynard Jackson, literally could not find a quality job after he left office. Companies of all races and places, but specifically African-Americans who became wealthy as a result of Mayor Jackson’s visionary economic leadership, should have been the first to offer the former mayor not only a quality job, if he wanted one, but a board seat and (company) equity too.

Going forward, we simply must learn to be less selfish. If cannot afford to be focused on the ‘me,’ we must be focused on the ‘we.’ We cannot simply look out for ourselves, leaving everyone else on their own. Based on the above numbers and statistics, the wealthiest black population on the planet — African-Americans — are not so much building wealth for future generations, but burning through cash in this one.

Onward and with HOPE

John Hope Bryant is a thought leader, founder, chairman and CEO of Operation HOPE, Bryant Group Companies, Inc. Magazine/CEO READ bestselling business author of LOVE LEADERSHIP: The New Way to Lead in a Fear-Based World (Jossey-Bass) the only African-American bestselling business author in the U.S., and is chairman of the Subcommittee for the Under-Served and Community Empowerment for the U.S. President’s Advisory Council on Financial Capability, for President Barack Obama. Mr. Bryant is the co-founder of the Gallup-HOPE Index, the only national research poll on youth financial dignity and youth economic energy in the U.S. He is also a co-founder of Global Dignity with HRH Crown Prince Haakon of Norway and Professor Pekka Himanen of Finland. Global Dignity is affiliated with the Forum of Young Global Leaders and the World Economic Forum. Mr. Bryant serves on the board of directors of Ares Commercial Real Estate Corporation, an NYSE Euronext publicly traded company, and a division of $54 billion Ares Capital.

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