Author Terrance Bacchus grew up in a low-income neighborhood of Boston, without many positive role models of success.
“I didn’t see many of my peers go to college and earn a degree,” Terrance explains.
Determined to build a different life for himself, he proceeded to become a first generation college graduate from Bentley University. From there, he began working in the Consumer Food Sales department of General Mills, where he remained for 29 years. During this time, he received many relocation opportunities, but eventually accepted the offer to move to Cincinnati. He and his family relocated to Mason in 2002 and fell in love with the community.
His two daughters have since graduated from Mason City Schools (MCS), but Terrance made sure to be active with the school during their attendance, serving on the MCS Diversity Council.
“I’ve always thought it was important to have a presence in the community as an African American representative,” Terrance explains.
In 2020, Terrance wanted to give back to the Black community after achieving personal success and wrote the book, Financially Empowered: Achieving Success Through Sacrifice.
We sat down with Terrance recently to talk to him about his book and learn about his perspectives on the importance of financial education and empowerment for young people.
What inspired you to write your book?
I didn’t have many role models from the Black community when I was younger. I didn’t think it was possible for me to live the life I’m living now in Mason. A lot of people I grew up with live paycheck to paycheck and it’s mainly because they don’t have anyone coaching them on how to succeed. My story isn’t necessarily unique, but I thought it could serve as an inspiration to motivate people of color who may not think that they can overcome the obstacles necessary to be successful.
Why do you think it’s important for young people to feel financially empowered?
Due to the huge wage gap in our country, people of color need to find a way to build generational wealth. What I wanted to do was put my children on an even playing field with their peers. I think it’s very important that our culture strives for this moving forward.
Do you think that financial literacy or investment classes should be a part of the curriculum at the high school level?
Yes, I believe it should be included at every high school. A lot of schools just don’t spend time talking about building wealth.
How would you coach a young person who shows interest in increasing their savings?
The first thing I do is try to understand their background, to find the appropriate individualized approach. In general, I’d advise building up an emergency fund with at least 6 months worth of pay. Then max out your 401K, start an IRA, and pay off any debts. If you start to build up disposable income by that point, then you can feel comfortable buying stocks. The order of investment is very important.
You launched your own company, Bacchus Empowered Coaching, in 2020. What services do you offer?
My goal is to speak to young people, particularly in college, because those are the people who have shown specific initiative to better themselves and get an education. I want to reach them before they enter the workforce to tell them that when they get hired, they need to take advantage of the 401K if it’s offered or they need to start investing.
What words of motivation would you give to a young person, who comes from a similar background as yourself, who may feel discouraged with their economic status and how it relates to their future?
You have to have a mindset of success. Success and fulfillment are not gifts to be given, but rather accomplishments that must be earned. Surround yourself only with positive people who are focused on growing their lives. And finally, you’ve got to dream big.
For more information about Terrance’s book and coaching services, visit TerranceBacchus.com