MetroFocus

FULL EPISODE

MetroFocus: July 27, 2021

Sohrab Ahmari, New York Post op-ed editor joins us to discuss his new book, “The Unbroken Thread: Discovering The Wisdom Of Tradition In An Age Of Chaos.” Also, we’re taking a close look at your finances with film and tv star and financial literacy activist Hill Harper who is on a mission to help people gain positive financial momentum.

AIRED: July 27, 2021 | 0:28:36
ABOUT THE PROGRAM
TRANSCRIPT

>>> THIS IS "METROFOCUS."

MADE POSSIBLE BY --

>> WELCOME TO "METROFOCUS."

I'M RAFAEL PI ROMAN.

AS THE MODERN QUEST FOR CHOICE

WITHOUT LIMIT LED US TO AN

INDIVIDUAL AND COLLECTIVE

PRISON?

AND IF SO, COULD WE BE LIBERATED

FROM THE PRISON BY RETURNING TO

THE BELIEFS THAT WE HAVE BEEN

SHEDDING FOR CENTURIES AND WHICH

PARADOXICALLY FOUND US EVEN AS

THEY FREE US?

THE OP-ED EDITOR OF THE NEW YORK

POST BELIEVES THAT THE ANSWER TO

BOTH OF THOSE QUESTIONS IS A

RESOUNDING YES AND MAKES THE

CASE IN HIS FASCINATING NEW

BOOK, THE UNBROKEN THREAD,

DISCOVERING THE WISDOM OF

PERDITION.

JOINING US NOW.

WELCOME TO THE PROGRAM.

>> THANK YOU, RAFAEL.

>> SIR, LET ME START WITH THIS.

YOU NAMED YOUR SON MAXIMILIAN

AND YOU WROTE THIS BOOK.

THERE'S A CONNECTION BETWEEN

THOSE TWO FACTS.

TELL US WHAT IT IS.

>> SURE.

SO I NAMED MY SON AFTER ST.

MAXIMILIAN, THE GREAT FRANCISCAN

FRIAR AND MARTYR OF AUSHWITZ FOR

WHAT HE DID AS A PRISONER AT

AUSC

AUSC

AUSCHWITZ.

THE PRISONER HAD A FAMILY, SO

WHEN HE CRIED OUT MY WIFE AND

FAMILY, VOLUNTEERED TO TAKE THIS

PLACE.

SO HE LAID DOWN HIS LIFE FOR A

COMPLETE STRANGER IN NAZI

CONCENTRATION CAMP.

I NAMED MY SON AFTER HIM,

BECAUSE IN THE DEEPER WAY, TO

TRY TO BIND MY SON TO THE

ACCOUNT OF FREEDOM WITH A GREAT

ACT OF SACRIFICE REPRESENTED.

YOU COULD SAY ST. MAXIMILIAN WAS

THE FREEST MAN IN EUROPE AT THE

TIME IN 1941 EVEN THOUGH HE WAS

A PRISONER IN A DEATH CAMP BUT

ACHIEVED THIS LEVEL OF MORAL

FREEDOM, THIS SUMMIT OF HUMAN

FREEDOM, PRECISELY BY DENYING

HIMSELF BY EMBRACING SACRIFICE,

BY EMBRACING WHAT HE SAW AS IF

NOT A NATURAL BUT SUPERNATURAL.

BUT I WORRY FOR MY SON AND FOR

HIS GENERATION, THE KIND OF

WORLD THEY'LL INHERIT AND THE

IMPOVERISHED ACCOUNT OF FREEDOM

THAT THEY WILL ENCOUNTER AS

THEY'LL SAY BUT FREEDOM IS JUST

KEEPING YOUR CHOICES OPEN AND

MAXIMAL AUTONOMY.

THAT MAKES THE ACT OF ST.

MAXIMILIAN AND THE WHOLE KIND OF

TRADITIONAL FORMATION THAT MADE

THAT ACT POSSIBLE.

THAT MAKES IT ALL KIND OF I

ILLE

ILLEGIBLE.

SO IN ORDER TO GUIDE MAX TO THE

DEEPER OLDER ACCOUNT OF WHAT IT

MEANS TO BE FULLY HUMAN AND

FREE, I WROTE THIS BOOK WHICH

IMPOSES 12 UNASKED QUESTIONS.

EACH OF THEM THROUGH THE LIFE OF

ONE TRADITIONAL FIGURE WHO IN

ONE WAY OR ANOTHER POKED HOLES

AT SOME OF OW CEUR CERTAINTIES

MAYBE.

>> YOU SAID IF YOU BELIEVE OUR

GENERATION MAY SEE MAXIMILIAN'S

SACRIFICE ASCESENSIBLE BUT WAS

IT AT HIS TIME AS WELL?

IS A SACRIFICE LIKE THAT ALMOST

ALWAYS INSENSIBLE AND YOU

YOURSELF POINT TO THE FACT, NOT

S

SACRIFICE.

RISK THEIR LIVE DURING THE WORST

OF THE PANDEMIC.

WE REMEMBER THE INCIDENCE OF

CIVILIANS AND FIST RESPONDERS

DURING 9/11 WHO LITERALLY

SACRIFICED THEIR LIVES.

SO WE REALLY NEED THAT

INFORMATION.

>> GOOD POINT.

SO IN SOME WAYS, WHAT ST.

MAXIMILIAN DID IS AN INVITATION

OF CHRIST'S SACRIFICE ON CALGARY

IS MONUMENTAL INSENSIBLE IN

EVERY AGE.

IT'S THE MYSTERY OF LOVE,

REALLY.

AND I AGREE, THAT'S A GOOD

POINT.

WHAT I WOULD SAY WHEN I SAY

INSENSIBLE, I MEAN FROM A KIND

OF WORLD VIEW, THE POINT OF VIEW

OF HOW DO WE ACCOUNT FOR THINGS

LIKE THIS.

JUST TAKE ABSTRACT ON ITS OWN

TERMS.

REIGNING PHILOSOPHIES SAY WE'RE

HERE ON EARTH TO FULFILL QUOTE

UNQUOTE OURSELVES AND

FULFILLMENT REALLY MEANS MAKING

CHOICES, TYPICALLY, CHOICES FROM

AMONG CONTRARIES, LIKE BLUE

SHOES OR BROWN SHOES AND THE MOE

UNRESTRAINED I AM, THE FREER I

AM.

IF THAT'S WHAT YOU TAKE TO BE

FREE, ANY KIND OF SACRIFICE, NOT

THE SUPERNATURAL SACK RIFICE OF

COLBEY, PUT HIM FORWARD AS AN

EXTREME BUT DAILY SACRIFICES

BECOME THE HARD TO ACCOUNT FOR

AND THEREFORE DON'T WANT THAT

AND WE SEE THAT WITH A LOT OF

PEOPLE IN A LOT OF DEMOGRAPHIC

FACTS OF FAMILY FORMATION,

CHILDBEARING, THE DEGREE TO

WHICH PEOPLE ACROSS SOCIAL

CLASSES JUST KIND OF PURSUE

THEIR OWN NARROW SELF-

SELF-FU

SELF-FULFILLMENT.

THAT IS A UNIQUELY MODERN

PHENOMENON OR A PROBLEM.

>> WELL, I GET THAT.

IT IS VERY CLEAR, BUT YOU KNOW,

READING YOUR BOOK, I REMEMBERED

THE QUOTE FROM KARL MARX THAT

SAID THE TRADITION OF

GENERATIONS WEIGHS LIKE A

NIGHTMARE ON THE BRAIN OF THE

LIVING.

RIGHT?

THAT'S A DRAMATIC WAY OF KIND OF

SUMMARIZING THE ENLIGHTENMENT

PHILOSOPHY.

BUT ISN'T IT TRUE FROM A SIDE

THAT IT WAS THE FIGHT AGAINST

THE TRADITION OF DEAD

GENERATIONS THAT LIBERATED

COUNTRIES AND SLAVES AND

LIBERATED WOMEN AND HOMOSEXUALS

AND THE ATTEMPT TO LIBERATE

THOSE WHO ARE OPPRESSED, HOW DO

YOU RESPOND TO THAT?

>> WELL, I SHOULD NOTE, FIRST OF

ALL, THE GREATEST ANTI-SLAVERY

FIGURES IN MODERN SLAVERY

ABOLITION MOVEMENT OF THE WEST

INSPIRED BY TRADITION.

IN ENGLAND, THE GREAT

ABOLITIONIST FIGHTER WAS ALSO A

PROFOUNDLY CHRISTIAN AND HIS

WORK OF ANTI-SLAVERY WAS AN

OUTPOURING OF HIS RELIGIOUS

FAITH.

LIKEWISE, IN THE 20th CENTURY,

DR. MARTIN LUTHER KING DREW NOT

JUST ON THE GOSPELS BUT ALSO ON

THE TRADITION OF NATURAL LAW OF

THOMAS AQUINAS, EXPLICITLY AS A

CRITIQUE OF A MODERN RACIST

REGIME.

WHAT I WOULD SAY IS, YES, THERE

ARE TRADITIONS THAT ARE BAD AND

ACCUMULATIONS OF PRACTICES THAT

ARE DONE BUT THE MERE FACT THAT

THEY'RE OLD DOESN'T NECESSARILY,

DOESN'T SUFFICE TO MAKE THEM

OBLIGATORY.

BUT THERE IS, WHAT I WOULD ARGUE

IS THERE'S THIS DEEPER TRADITION

CROSSING OF MANY CIVILIZATIONS

IN THE BOOK, THE 12 QUESTIONS

THAT I ADDRESS, ONLY ABOUT A

FOURTH ARE CHRISTIANS LIKE

MYSELF.

YOU HAVE THE CONFUCIUS

TRADITION.

TAO IS WHAT CS LEWIS UNITES

PEOPLE ACROSS CULTURES AND TIMES

AND IT'S THAT TRADITION THAT

PRECISELY YOU CAN TURN TO TO

CRITIQUE MAYBE PRACTICES THAT

DON'T DESERVE OUR REVERENCE JUST

BECAUSE THEY'RE OLD OR

TRADITIONAL.

>> YEAH.

IT IS AN ECLECTIC ROUTE.

YOU HAVE CATHOLICS, JEWISH, C

CONFUCIAN, BUT AN ECLECTIC AND

MU

MULTIDISCIPLINARY PERDITION, IF

YOU WILL.

BUT I WANT TO TOUCH ON SOME

OTHER QUESTIONS.

WE DON'T HAVE TIME FOR ALL OF

THEM.

MAYBE JUST FOR A COUPLE OF THEM

BUT THE ONES THAT REALLY KIND OF

TOUCH ME, MOVE ME.

ONE OF YOU QUESTIONS IS, WHY

WOULD GOD WANT YOU TO TAKE A DAY

OFF?

HOW DOES THIS QUESTION HELP US

DISCOVER THE WISDOM OF TRADITION

IN CHAOS, WHY DID YOU CHOOSE

RABBI ABRAHAM, BEST KNOWN FOR

THE STRUGGLE?

ADDRESS IT.

>> SURE, YES.

SO IN EACH OF THESE QUESTIONS,

WHAT WE NOTICE AND THIS IS

REALLY THE PIECE OF THE BOOK,

THE TITLE OF UNBROKEN THREAD IS

THAT SOME TRADITIONAL INJUNCTION

THAT IS BOUND TO PEOPLE WHO

LOOKS LIKE A LIMIT, LOOKS LIKE

AN IMPOSITION ON OUR TIME AND

OUR USE OF OUR BODIES AND WHAT

MAY BE, BUT IN FACT, IS A SOURCE

OF LIBERATION AND THE LOSS OF

THAT LIMIT, PARADOXICALLY,

LEAVES US LESS FREE AND THAT IS

MOST CLEARLY FOR ME

REPRESENTATIVE OF THE SABBATH

CHAPTER.

WHY WOULD GOD WANT YOU TO TAKE A

DAY OFF?

WE HAD A TRADITION GOING BACK TO

THE CLOEPIAL ERA AND ONE DAY OF

REST.

AND WHAT THAT GUARANTEES, PEOPLE

HAD A DAY TO SPEND WITH THE

THINGS OF GOD, WITH SPECULATIVE

THINGS, CONTEMPLATION AND TO NOT

BE SO HAIRY AND THAT'S WHAT

RABBI ARGUED AS WELL.

HE WROTE A FAMOUS BOOK CALLED

THE SABBATH, MOST OF LIFE

DEVOTED TO THE REALM OF SPACE,

INQUISITIVENESS AND COMPETING.

THAT'S FINE.

GOODS WITHIN THE LIMITS ARE

FINE, BUT IF THERE'S ALSO A

REALM OF TIME AND THAT'S THE

REALM OF THE DIVINE, THAT'S THE

REALM OF THE PRACTICE THAT

ALLOWS US TO PUT THE REST OF

THAT INQUISITIVENESS IN

PERSPECTIVE AND IT'S LOST,

PARADOXICALLY, MADE US LESS

FREE, OVER THE PAST CENTURY, THE

AMERICAN SABBATH CHIPPED AWAY AT

IN THE NAME OF FREEDOM.

YOU CAN DO WHATEVER YOU WANT,

SHOP, SOESCIALIZE, NOTHING

PARTICULAR ON SUNDAY.

IT MEANS WORKING CLASS PEOPLE

HAVE A LOT LESS TIME WITH THEIR

FAMILIES, A LOT MORE HARRIED AND

PARADOXLY, LESS FREE.

FREEDOM FOR CORPORATIONS.

>> THAT'S A POINT THAT'S VERY

CLEAR AFTER YOU READ THE BOOK.

ONLY A COUPLE MINUTES LEFT.

I HAVE TO TOUCH ON THIS ONE.

THIS QUESTION YOU ASK, I THOUGHT

PARTICULARLY, DOES GOD RESPECT

YOU?

TALK ABOUT THAT QUESTION IN

ABOUT A MINUTE AND A HALF.

SORRY.

AND IN THE PERSON YOU CHOSE TO

ADDRESS IT.

>> SUREM.

THE QUESTION OF HUMAN DIGNITY IS

HIGH ON EVERYONE'S MIND THESE

DAYS, BUT A LOT OF PEOPLE WHO

CHAMPION HUMAN DIGNITY THINK OF

RELIGION AS AN ENEMY OF HUMAN

DIGNITY AND A FRIEND TO

OPPRESSIVE SOCIAL STRUCTURES.

HOWARD THURMAN, THE

AFRICAN-AMERICAN PROTESTANT

MYSTIC AND AN INSPIRATIONAL

FIGURE TO DR. KING FOUND IN HIS

CASE, IN WHAT HE CALLED THE

RELIGION OF JESUS IN

CHRISTIANITY THIS GREAT

SELF-CONFIDENCE WHICH DEFIED OR

PUT THE LIFE THROUGH THE RACIST

KIND OF REGIME THAT HE LIVED

UNDER.

IF GOD LOVES YOU ENOUGH TO

BECOME ONE OF YOU, AS THE

CHRISTIAN BELIEVES, THEN NO

HUMAN REGIME THAT MIGHT TRY

DEGRADE YOU CAN TAKE THAT AWAY

FROM YOU SO CLARITY IN THE FACE

OF HUMAN OPPRESSION IF YOU STAND

ON THE CONFIDENCE OF FAITH.

>> JUST ON THAT CHAPTER ALONE,

THE BOOK IS WORTH READING.

QUICKLY, 30 SECONDS.

YOU SAY A COUPLE OF TIMES IN THE

BOOK THAT YOU DON'T THINK OW

CURRENT SITUATION IS GOING TO

CHANGE.

IT'S HERE TO STAY.

IF THAT'S THE CASE, WHAT DO YOU

HOPE TO ACCOMPLISH?

BESIDES INSTRUCTING.

>> I HOPE THINGS TO CHANGE

BECAUSE I THINK ACROSS PARTISAN

LINES, EVERYONE SENSES THAT

THERE'S SOMETHING THAT'S GONE

WRONG WITH THE WEST AS A WHOLE.

WE'RE ON THE RIGHT TRACK, WE ALL

SENSE IT.

I HAVE TO, AS A FATHER, I HAVE

TO HAVE HOPE.

I HAVE TO TRY TO PASS SOMETHING

DOWN TO MY SON, IN THIS CASE,

S

SUMMARY OF TRADITIONAL THOUGHT

AND IN SO DOING, HOPEFULLY THE

READER AS WELL, GET SOMETHING

FROM IT AND SOME HOPE AS WELL.

>> ALL RIGHT.

SO THE BOOK IS "UNBROKEN THREAD:

DISCOVERING THE WISDOM OF

TRADITION IN AN AGE OF CHAOS."

IT'S FASCINATING.

THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR JOINING US

TODAY.

>> THANK YOU.

>>> HI, I'M JENNA FLANAGAN.

REGARDLESS OF YOUR SITUATION,

LIKELY AFFECTED THE WAY YOU

SPENT AND SAVED MONEY.

AS LOCKDOWNS BEGIN TO EASE AND

THE ECONOMY BEGINS TO GET BACK

TO NORMAL, IT'S IMPORTANT TO

CONSIDER YOUR PERSONAL

FINANCIALS AND HOW BEST TO

POSITION YOURSELF FOR LONG-TERM

FINANCIAL SUCCESS.

SO THERE'S NO BETTER TIME TO DO

THAN NOW AS APRIL IS FINANCIAL

LITERACY MONTH.

A TIME WE PROMOTE FINANCIAL

EDUCATION ACROSS THE COUNTRY.

AS PART OF OUR ONGOING CHASING

THE DREAM INITIATIVE ON POVERTY,

JUSTICE AND ECONOMIC OPPORTUNITY

IN AMERICA, I'M JOINED NOW BY

AWARD WINNING ACTOR AND

FINANCIAL LITERACY ACTIVIST,

HILL HARPER.

HILL WILL DISCUSS WHAT FINANCIAL

LITERACY MEANS AND HOW IT CAN

HELP YOU ACHIEVE YOUR FINANCIAL

DREAMS.

HILL, WELCOME TO "METROFOCUS."

>> THANK YOU, JENNA.

THANK YOU SO MUCH.

GREAT TO BE ON.

>> SO, FIRST OFF, JUST THE TERM,

FINANCIAL LITERACY IS SOMETHING

OF PERHAPS A MISNOMER TO A LOT

OF PEOPLE.

SO JUST GIVE US AN EXPLANATION

OR A DEFINITION OF WHAT THAT IS.

>> SURE, FINANCIAL LITERACY IS

LITERALLY THE START.

IT'S THE BEGINNING OF BEING

INTENTIONAL AROUND TAKING

CONTROL OF YOUR FINANCES.

AND ACTUALLY UNDERSTANDING

MONEY.

THAT'S WHAT I TALK ABOUT.

AT THE END OF THE DAY, WE DON'T

TEACH, WE TEACH MATH K THROUGH

12 BUT DON'T TEACH MONEY IN

SCHOOLS, FOR INSTANCE.

FINANCIAL LITERACY IS THE

BEGINNING TO BUILD FINANCIAL

CAPACITY AND BE FINANCIALLY

EMPOWERED.

THAT'S KIND OF THE LINE THAT I

LIKE TO TALK ABOUT.

AND SO YOU'VE GOT TO STAT RT WI

LEARNING FIRST AND THEN APPLY

IT.

THAT'S WHAT IT'S ABOUT.

FINANCIAL LITERACY IS LITERALLY

BEGINNING THE PROCESS OF

LEARNING ABOUT MONEY, LEARNING

ABOUT YOUR RELATIONSHIP TO MONEY

AND HOW MONEY AND YOUR

RELATIONSHIP TO IT, HOW YOU USE

THAT TOOL.

MONEY IMPACTS EVERY ASPECT OF

YOUR LIFE, FAMILY'S LIFE AND

YOUR COMMUNITY.

AND SO THAT'S WHY THIS

DISCUSSION IS SO IMPORTANT AND

THAT'S WHY APRIL BEING FINANCIAL

LITERACY MONTH, I THINK, IS

CRITICAL BECAUSE WE WANT TO HAVE

THESE DISCUSSIONS.

>> OF COURSE.

OF COURSE.

AND AS YOU SORT OF DISCUSSED

THAT, IT'S ALMOST LIKE SOMETHING

THAT SHOULD BE TAUGHT, PERHAPS,

ALONG WITH MATH OR READING.

IT'S NOT.

AND SO IT IS VERY SORT OF LIKE

MYSTIFIED AND SHROUDED AND

UNCERTAINTY FOR A LOT OF

AMERICANS, AND I JUST WANT TO

GET YOUR TAKE ON HOW YOU BEGIN

TO DEMYSTIFY SOMETHING AS

INTIMIDATING FOR A LOT OF PEOPLE

AS THE CONCEPT OF DEALING WITH

YOUR FINANCES.

>> THAT'S A GREAT QUESTION.

THE FIRST THING THAT FOLKS NEED

TO DO IS UNDERSTAND THAT THEIR

RELATIONSHIP TO MONEY IS NOT

THEM.

MEANING THEIR CREDIT SCORE IS

NOT A REFLECTION OF YOU.

SO MANY OF US HAVE ANXIETY AND

ISSUES AROUND MONEY AND TALKING

ABOUT IT, FIRST AND FOREMOST.

AND SO YOU HAVE TO UNDERSTAND,

MONEY IS SIMPLY JUST A TOOL.

THINK ABOUT MONEY LIKE YOU THINK

ABOUT A HAMMER.

RIGHT?

YOU DON'T GET ALL EMOTIONAL

ABOUT A HAMMER.

YOU DON'T, IT'S JUST A TOOL.

MONEY IS THE SAME THING.

AND JUST LIKE A HAMMER, IF YOUR

GOAL IS TO POUND A NAIL, A

HAMMER IS A REALLY EFFECTIVE

TOOL.

IT CAN IMPROVE YOUR EFFICIENCY

AND THE QUALITY OF YOUR WORK.

RIGHT?

BUT IF YOU HAVE TO CLEAN WOOD

FLOORS AND YOU USE THE SAME

TOOL, A HAMMER, TO CLEAN THOSE

FLOORS, WHAT ARE YOU GOING TO

DO?

MORE DAMAGE THAN GOOD.

YOU'RE GOING TO ACTUALLY HURT

THE FLOORS.

MONEY IS THE EXACT SAME.

IF YOU BE AGNOSTIC ABOUT IT,

IT'S JUST A TOOL TO HELP YOU

BUILD THE LIFE YOU WANT.

EVERYONE'S DIFFERENT.

SO USING THAT TOOL IS DIFFERENT.

BUT YOU SAY, HEY, I WANT TO USE

THAT TOOL OF MONEY EFFECTIVELY

TO IMPROVE THE QUALITY OF MY

LIFE.

THIS IS WHAT I HAVE TO DO.

IF I USE IT IN THE WRONG WAY,

I'M ACTUALLY NOT, IT'S NOT JUST

A ZERO SUM, I'M ACTUALLY GOING

TO HURT MY LIFE.

IF I RUN UP A LOT OF DEBT AND I

ACTUALLY HAVE A BAD CREDIT

SCORE, IT'S ACTUALLY GOING TO

HURT MY LIFE AND THOSE AROUND ME

BECAUSE IT'S GOING TO BE A DRAG

ON ME.

AND I'M GOING TO FEEL, I ALWAYS

TALK ABOUT DEBT BEING LIKE A

TYPE OF BONDAGE OR SLAVERY,

RIGHT?

WE HAVE TO RELEASE OURSELVES

FROM THAT TYPE OF BONDAGE

BECAUSE IT CAN KEEP YOU CAUGHT

UP.

AND THAT'S WHY FINANCIAL, IT HAS

TO START WITH FINANCIAL LITERACY

AND UNDERSTANDING THAT BUT YOU

HAVE TO EVEN GO BACK TO YOUR

POINT AND SAY, IT'S NOT YOU.

YOUR CREDIT SCORE IS NOT A

REFLECTION ON YOU, SO DON'T GET

PERSONAL ABOUT IT.

THEREFORE, TREAT IT LIKE A

HAMMER.

JUST LIKE A HAMMER.

WHAT IS THIS TOOL OF MONEY AND

HOW CAN I USE IT EFFECTIVELY TO

ACHIEVE THE GOALS THAT I HAVE

FOR MYSELF, MY FAMILY, MY

COMMUNITY?

>> WELL, I THINK THAT'S A GREAT

ANALOGY.

ALTHOUGH I WOULD POINT OUT THAT

MOST PEOPLE AREN'T TAUGHT TO

NEVER TALK ABOUT A HAMMER, BUT

MOST OF US ARE TAUGHT NOT TO

TALK ABOUT FINANCIES.

THAT'S CONSIDERED IMPOLITE.

>> THERE WAS A STUDY RECENTLY

THAT SAID PEOPLE ARE MORE APT TO

REVEAL INFIDELITY THAN THEIR

CREDIT SCORE AND MONEY.

BUT THAT SPEAKS TO THE

FOUNDATIONAL ISSUE THAT WE'RE

TALKING ABOUT AND THAT'S WHY

IT'S SO GREAT TO BE HAVING THIS

DISCUSSION BECAUSE THE MORE THAT

WE COULD BE HONEST ABOUT WHAT

MONEY REALLY IS AND HOW OUR

RELATIONSHIP TO MONEY IMPACTS

EVERY ASPECT OF YOUR LIFE, THEN

WE COULD ACTUALLY SORT OF

DEMYSTIFY AND HAVE PEOPLE SEE IT

IN A DIFFERENT WAY.

AND SO THAT'S WHY WORKING WITH

EXPERIAN AND EXPERIAN BOOST, A

FREE TOOL FOLKS CAN USE, RIGHT.

YOU CAN GO IN AND TRY TO BOOST

YOUR CREDIT SCORE BECAUSE YOU

ADD POSITIVE PAYMENT HISTORY.

IF YOU DON'T KNOW THAT TOOL EVEN

EXISTS, YOU DON'T KNOW TO TAKE

THE STEP.

IF YOU DON'T EVEN KNOW HOW YOUR

CREDIT SCORE WORKS, THE POSITIVE

PAYMENT HISTORY ACTUALLY IMPACTS

YOUR CREDIT SCORE POSITIVELY,

THEN YOU WOULDN'T KNOW TO EVEN

DO THAT.

SO WE HAVE TO HAVE THESE

DISCUSSIONS SO THAT PEOPLE CAN

LEARN AND THEN APPLY WHAT THEY

LEARN THROUGH REAL ACTION.

>> SO YOU ALSO, IN YOUR ANALOGY

WITH THE HAMMER, YOU BROUGHT UP

SOMETHING THAT I THINK IS ALSO

INCREDIBLY INTEGRAL TO THE

CONVERSATION, AND THAT IS, IF

YOU'RE CLEANING A FLOOR AND

DOING IT WITH A HAMMER.

I UNDERSTAND THAT THAT WAS A

DIFFERENT ANALOGY, BUT I DO WANT

TO SAY THAT AT THE SAME TIME

THAT WE'RE FREQUENTLY TAUGHT NOT

TO TALK ABOUT FINANCIAL MATTERS

WITHIN OUR OWN LIVES, A LOT OF

PEOPLE DON'T UNDERSTAND THEIR

CREDIT SCORE, THERE'S ALSO THE

NOTION THAT FINANCIAL LITERACY

IS SOMETHING FOR WEALTHY PEOPLE.

YOU HAVE TO ACCRUE A CERTAIN

AMOUNT OF MONEY TO EVEN BE

BOTHERED WITH THAT.

WHAT IF YOU ARE SOMEBODY WHO IS

MAKING A LIVING CLEANING FLOORS

OR SOMETHING?

THAT TENDS TO BE THE PART OF THE

POPULATION THAT NEEDS THIS

INFORMATION THE MOST, BUT FEELS

UNENTITLED TO IT.

>> YES, ABSOLUTELY.

HERE'S THE SAD FACT IS A HUGE

PERCENTAGE OF THE FINANCIAL

PRODUCTS THAT ARE OFFERED INTO

MARGINALIZED COMMUNITIES TEND TO

BE PREDATORY OR HIDDEN

PREDATORY.

AND FOLKS GET HURT ALL THE TIME.

THERE'S THIS OLD SAYING, IT'S

EXPENSIVE TO BE POOR AND IT'S

ABSOLUTELY TRUE.

WHEN YOU TALK ABOUT PAYDAY

LENDERS.

CHECK CASH SPOTS.

RENT TO OWN.

EVEN CERTAIN BANKING FACILITIES,

LAWSUITS WITH MAJOR BANKS RIGHT

NOW WHERE PEOPLE HAD $800 IN

THEIR SAVINGS BUT THEY'RE

GETTING CHARGED $250 A YEAR IN

FEES AND OVERDRAFT FEES OR NOT

HITTING THE ACCOUNT LIMIT FEES.

THESE ARE SOME HIDDEN PREDATORY

PRACTICES THAT BEFALL MANY

MARGINALIZED COMMUNITIES AND THE

MORE FOLKS CAN LEARN ABOUT THIS,

AND THEY REALIZE, OH, ONCE THEY

PEEL BACK THE ONION, THEY'VE

BEEN PAYING 200% OR 300%

INTEREST ON SOME THINGS, IT'S

VERY DIFFICULT TO PROACTIVELY

BUILD SAVINGS IF YOU'RE ACTUALLY

HAVING SO MUCH MONEY RIPPED OUT

OF THE COMMUNITY.

AND SO YES, WE KNOW THERE'S

PEOPLE HAVING TWO OR THREE JOBS

THAT ARE BARELY MAKING ENDS MEET

BECAUSE THERE'S SO MANY HIDDEN

COSTS BEFALLING THEM.

THAT'S WHY FINANCIAL LITERACY IS

SO FUNDAMENTAL AND FOUNDATIONAL

TO THE WORK I DO.

THAT'S WHY I WROTE THE BOOK "THE

WEALTH CURE" TO DEAL WITH THE

WEALTH GAP.

YOU'RE ABSOLUTELY RIGHT.

WE HAVE TO TALK ABOUT THESE

THINGS, EXPOSE THEM FOR WHAT

THEY ARE, AND THEN SAY, THERE

ARE ALTERNATIVE CHOICES THAT

FOLKS CAN MAKE TO IMPROVE THEIR

FINANCIAL FUTURE AND THEIR

FINANCIAL FOUNDATION.

>> SO WE DID PUT THIS AGAINST

THE EXPERIENCE THAT ALL OF US IN

VERY DIFFERENT WAYS HAVE GONE

THROUGH WITH THE PANDEMIC AND

ARE STILL GOING THROUGH.

I'M WONDERING, WHAT IS YOUR

ADVICE FOR SOMEONE WHO IS, OKAY,

SO I'M NOT SURE WHAT THE FIRST

STEP IS, BUT AT LEAST HOW DO I

GO ABOUT IMPROVING MY CREDIT

SCORE AND I WANT TO ADD THE

CAVEAT, DOING THAT IN A

RUTHLESSLY CAPITALISTIC SOCIETY.

>> YES.

SO THERE WAS A COUPLE OF THINGS.

ONE, TAKING IT JUST A STEP BACK

FROM JUST YOUR CREDIT SCORE IS,

I WANT, IF THE PANDEMIC TAUGHT

US ANYTHING, I WANT PEOPLE TO

UNDERSTAND HOW IMPORTANT IT IS

TO HAVE AN EMERGENCY FUND.

AND BE PUTTING MONEY AWAY INTO

THAT BUCKET.

THE BUCKET.

HOW YOU THINK ABOUT WHAT THE

NUMBER YOU NEED, THIS IS IT.

THINK ABOUT WHAT YOUR ACTUAL

NEEDS ARE TO LIVE, WHICH IS,

HOUSING, FOOD, WATER, SHELTER,

AND UTILITIES.

YOU KNOW, ELECTRICITY, KEEPING

ELECTRICITY ON, GAS BILL.

FOR ME, I ALSO ADD IN MY

TELECOM, MY PHONE BILL, BECAUSE

I NEED TO STAY IN CONTACT.

SO I PUT THAT INTO A NUMBER.

AND WHATEVER THAT MONTHLY NUMBER

IS, I WANT TO HAVE AT LEAST SIX

MONTHS OF THAT EMERGENCY FUND

SAVINGS.

NOW, THAT DOESN'T NECESSARILY

DIRECTLY IMPACT YOUR CREDIT

SCORE, BUT IT IMPACTS YOUR LIFE.

AND THE MORE, THE BETTER FOR THE

EMERGENCY FUND.

THE SECOND STEP IS TO LOOK AT

YOUR HIGHEST INTEREST DEBT THAT

YOU'RE CARRYING AND START COMING

UP WITH A PLAN TO PAY THAT DOWN.

YOU DON'T HAVE TO TAKE IT ALL ON

IN ONE MONTH AND CHAIN YOURSELF

AND FEEL BAD ABOUT IT, BUT START

HAVING A CONCENTRATED PLAN TO

PAY DOWN YOUR HIGHEST INTEREST

DEBT.

THAT WILL BEGIN, OVER TIME, TO

IMPACT YOUR CREDIT SCORE.

THE OTHER PIECE IS, EXPERIAN

BOOST WHICH I LOVE BECAUSE IT

ALLOWS YOU TO GO ON, YOU GO ON

TO EXPERIAN.COM/BOOST, YOU'RE

ABLE TO ADD IN POSITIVE PAYMENT

HISTORY.

IF YOU'RE PAYING A BILL

REGULARLY THROUGH CREDIT CARD OR

THROUGH YOUR BANK ACCOUNT, FOR

INSTANCE, YOUR NETFLIX OR HULU,

SOMETHING LIKE THAT OR A

UTILITY, YOU CAN ADD THAT

POSITIVE PAYMENT HISTORY AND

ACTUALLY, IT'S ADDED IN TO YOUR

FILE AND HOPEFULLY BOOSTS YOUR

CREDIT SCORE.

NOW, 50 MILLION POINTS HAVE BEEN

ADDED TO PEOPLE'S SCORES THROUGH

EXPERIAN BOOST, WHICH I THINK IS

GREAT, RIGHT?

AND SO THAT'S ANOTHER THING.

AND ALSO, CHECK YOUR CREDIT

SCORE REGULARLY.

WHAT WE FOUND IS THAT YOU BEING

INTENTIONAL ABOUT IT AND

LEARNING ABOUT WHAT GOES INTO

CREATING THAT ALGORITHM HELPS

YOU IMPROVE YOUR SCORE.

THE INTENTIONALITY HELPS.

IF WE JUST BURY OUR HEAD IN THE

SAND, ACT LIKE THERE'S NOTHING

WE CAN DO, CAN'T TAKE CONTROL OF

OUR FINANCES, THAT'S THE

ABSOLUTELY WRONG THING.

WE WANT TO BE INTENTIONAL.

WE WANT TO BE CHECKING OUR

SCORE.

WE WANT TO BE DOING THESE,

UTILIZING FREE TOOLS TO HELP OUR

SCORE IMPROVE.

>> HILL HARPER, I COULD CONTINUE

HAVING THIS DISCUSSION.

I THINK THIS IS SOMETHING THAT

SHOULD BE ONGOING FOR A LOT OF

PEOPLE IN THEIR HOMES AND

FAMILIES AND THEIR FRIENDS.

THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR JOINING US

ON "METROFOCUS."

AND GIVING US SOME SUGGESTIONS

AND TIPS AND TOOLS OF THE TRADE.

>> THANK YOU, THANK YOU VERY

MUCH.

>> "METROFOCUS" IS MADE POSSIBLE

BY SUE AND EDGAR WACHENHEIM III.

PROGRAMMING ENDOWMENT TO FIGHT

ANTI-SEMITISM.

BERNARD AND DENISE SCHWARTZ.

BARBARA HOPE ZUCKERBERG.

AND BY JANET.

CHERYL AND PHILLIP MILSTEIN

FAMILY.

JUDY AND JOSH WESTON.

DR. ROBERT C. AND TINA

FOUNDATION.

THE JPB FOUNDATION.

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