13 years of financial empowerment: a final look at the progress of our Financial Fitness Contest winners.

Author:Ngo, Sheiresa
Position:Wealth For Life

In the January 2000 issue, BLACK ENTERPRISE proudly introduced the Black Wealth Initiative. It was a call to action, encouraging our readers to seek and achieve financial empowerment to effect a legacy of multigenerational wealth. This age included the Financial Fitness Contest, which featured the Declaration of Financial Empowerment, a set of 10 principles to be used as a guide to develop sound financial habits. We took pride in featuring everyday people and taking time to address their unique financial concerns. One of our very own, the late Nicole Scott Lee (then Nicole Simpkins), a long-time BE employee, and her husband, were our first contest winners.

In 2010, the principles were updated and renamed the Wealth for Life principles. Now, after 13 years, our Financial Fitness Contest is coming to a close. Over the years, we awarded 147 contest winners nearly $300,000 and provided them with sound financial planning advice to help move them closer to their financial goals.

Although this marks our last Financial Fitness story, we will continue to offer compelling, instructional financial information in our Wealth for Life features and in the Money section. The following is a final look back on the progress of our past winners.


When Jhanay Harris last appeared in the magazine, we praised her for doing a good job of managing her money and keeping debt at a minimum. The only thing holding her back was her hesitance to enter the world of investing. Since speaking with Altfest Personal Wealth Management Senior Financial Adviser Dawn Brown, 26-year-old Harris has taken steps toward conquering her fear of the stock market.

Harris started by increasing her knowledge about stocks. She used $1,000 of the contest winnings to open a Scottrade account, and purchased a few stocks. Her account is roughly $1,600. Her portfolio includes shares of 3D Systems, Walt Disney Co., and Under Armour Inc. "I will be keeping these shares for at least five years, while adding others as I'm looking to make a long-term profit," says Harris.

Harris also heeded the advice to begin contributing to her employer's retirement account. She invests 5% of her salary in a 401(k) plan managed by TIAA-CREE Since starting a new job in July 2012 she has saved more than $1,000. "In the New Year, my goal is to increase my contribution to 8%," says Harris.

Harris also took Brown's advice to be more realistic about her timeline for purchasing a home. Her goal of...

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