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Color of Money: Make sure you don't miss the memo for financial freedom

Michelle Singletary on

WASHINGTON -- Have you ever felt like you didn't get the memo?

I'm talking about a life instruction sheet that lays out what you should do to get ahead, especially economically.

On Jan. 15, we celebrate the work of Martin Luther King Jr., a Civil Rights icon, who fought and died for the less fortunate. When King was killed, he was in Memphis, Tennessee, to support striking sanitation workers who were fighting for better pay and working conditions.

Decades after King's death, so many people are still struggling for financial justice and a life above the poverty line. And for many of them, the road to a more financially stable future begins with approaching wealth a different way.

To help them in their journey, I picked for this month's Color of Money Book Club "The Memo: Five Rules For Your Economic Liberation" (Berrett-Koehler Publishers, $24.95). The book is by John Hope Bryant, founder and chief executive of Operation HOPE, an organization in Atlanta that is dedicated to economic empowerment for low- to moderate-income individuals and families in underserved communities.

Bryant said he wrote this book for what he calls the "Invisible Class." This includes:

 

-- Urban youth. "Even when they have a real passion for success and a desire for economic freedom, they don't have enough education to differentiate themselves in a market economy," he says.

-- Rural adults. These folks, who live in small towns and have a high school education, work hard but can't earn a living wage.

-- Immigrants.

-- People living in poor and disconnected suburbs.

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