MetroFocus: July 27, 2021

Has the modern quest for choice without limit led us into an individual and collective prison? And if so, could we liberate ourselves by returning to the traditional virtues and beliefs that we’ve been shedding for centuries, which paradoxically bound us even as they free us? Sohrab Ahmari, New York Post op-ed editor, believes the answer to those questions is a resounding “yes” and tonight he makes the case in “The Unbroken Thread: Discovering The Wisdom Of Tradition In An Age Of Chaos.”

As the economy embarks on a road to recovery, have you? It’s ever important to consider your personal finances and how to best position yourself for recovery and long term financial success. So tonight, as part of our Chasing The Dream initiative, 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.

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.

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AND BY JANET.

CHERYL AND PHILLIP MILSTEIN FAMILY.

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