Lawrence Funderburke on Financial Security: Have a Game Plan

CBCF forum offers advice for African-Americans at different stages of life.

Posted: 09/23/2013 12:11 PM EDT

(Photo: Lawrence Funderburke Youth Organization)

Lawrence Funderburke had hoped to make history with an NBA championship ring. That didn't happen, but at least he won't be remembered as one of those players who've found themselves pinching pennies in retirement.

In basketball and life, he told an audience at a Congressional Black Caucus Foundation session on financial planning across generations, everybody needs a game plan. And that plan, he said, must include saving to prepare for retirement as well as unexpected crises.

"When I played basketball, I made a lot of money, but made sure that I put aside at least 40-50 percent. I know that's not realistic for everybody, but if you want to achieve financial freedom, you're going to have to live 40 percent below your take-home pay," said Funderburke, now head of Funderburke Financials.

He said that African-Americans must begin to realize the importance of having both health and life insurance and should also draft living wills so that relatives will know how to proceed should tragedy strike. Because people tend to live longer these days, he also advised the audience to consider long-term care insurance as well.

When making these decisions, he added, it's important to recognize your strengths and weaknesses when it comes to money management.

"Are you a spender or a debt creator? A lot of us spend a lot of money," he said. "You need to have a playbook. Look at who you are and who you want to become, and I guarantee you will have success."

At age 20, J-L Bolton, decided to start selling Mary Kay products while completing her studies at the University of Virginia. Today she is a senior sales director for the company.

At the time, however, she was simply following in the footsteps of her entrepreneurial mother, who started working for herself by selling Mary Kay when Bolton was age 7. That exposure, combined with her father's successful career in government, instilled confidence and planted the seeds of future entrepreneurship.

"I decided to start a Mary Kay business because it was a clear path to success," she said. "And I recognized that when you work for someone else, you're building somebody else's dream. When you work for yourself, you can leave a legacy."

Ohio Rep. Joyce Beatty, who hosted the forum, said she hoped that it was a fun way for people across generations to learn how to plan, invest and consider entrepreneurship.

"Young brothers and sisters can see from Funderburke that [despite his success] you still have to plan. Mary Kay tells the story that we all know, how you can have that pink Cadillac and build wealth," Beatty told BET.com.

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