Martin Luther King, Jr.’s Financial Advice to America

Image: Close-up of Martin Luther King’s face in stone, the MLK Memorial in Washington, DC. Photo by Ron Cogswell for Flickr. Creative Commons License.

What MLK Taught Us About Money

“When men bow down and worship at the shrine of money they are being deprived of their most precious endowment — the possibility of living life in its fullness and its endless beauty.”

— Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., 1953 sermon, ‘The False God of Money”

“A man’s God is not his theory about God, picked up on the surface of his mind because he happens to live in the twentieth century, but a man’s real God is that to which he gives his ultimate devotion, that unifying loyalty which draws his life together and gives it centrality and singleness of aim.”

— Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., 1953 sermon, ‘The False God of Money”

Financial Lessons from Dr. King

  1. Don’t wait for economic change — create it
  2. Financial freedom is worth fighting for
  3. Sometimes you need to step out on faith and take a risk
  4. Your education, job or career status doesn’t define you
  5. Take your work seriously

Harnessing the “Drum-Major Instinct”

“The drum-major instinct often causes us to live above our means.”

“Do you know that a lot of the race problem grows out of the drum major instinct? A need that some people have to feel superior … and to feel that their white skin ordained them to be first.”

“I love this country too much to see the drift that it has taken.”

“If you want to say that I was a drum major, say that I was a drum major for justice. Say that I was a drum major for peace. I was a drum major for righteousness. And all of the other shallow things will not matter.’

Riding for the Freedom Budget

  1. To provide full employment for all who are willing and able to work, including those who need education or training to make them willing and able.
  2. To assure decent and adequate wages to all who work.
  3. To assure a decent living standard to those who cannot or should not work.
  4. To wipe out slum ghettos and provide decent homes for all Americans.
  5. To provide decent medical care and adequate educational opportunities to all Americans, at a cost they can afford.
  6. To purify our air and water and develop our transportation and natural resources on a scale suitable to our growing needs.
  7. To unite sustained full employment with sustained full production and high economic growth.

What Dr. King was able to do really makes you wonder about your own legacy, doesn’t it? What we will all leave behind in terms of making a positive impact on society? Do we want to be known for being awesome at our money or being awesome at something much farther reaching?”

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I’m a 50-something bohemian with a mountain of debt and regrets. Can I dig out before it’s all over? I brake for poets.

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The Traumatized Budget

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I’m a 50-something bohemian with a mountain of debt and regrets. Can I dig out before it’s all over? I brake for poets.

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