The Hilltop reports CEOs Steve Forbes (of Forbes, Inc.) and John Schlifske (of Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance) paid a visit to Howard University and had some positive things to say about the future of being rich.

“This stuff happens. It’s happened before, and it will happen again. But the good news is that we’re gonna get out of it. There’s reason for optimism,” Forbes told the audience of b-school students.

Schlifske’s advice to the students was to build wealth by putting away five dollars from every paycheck. Which would certainly be useful advice…if we weren’t living in an time where students are graduating with more debt than ever and hoping to pay off that debt with salaries from jobs that are no longer available. Savings go pretty quickly when loans come due and they can’t be charged off with bankruptcy (something Megan McArdle recently argued for).

Plus, black families—-and by extension black students—-have 1/20 of the wealth and are far closer to poverty than their white counterparts. Even middle class black folks are more likely than whites to have relatives in poverty who need financial assistance. So even if savings are accrued, they can dissolve pretty quickly.

But hey, thank you, multi-millionaires, for the advice.

Photo by AMagill via Flickr / Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic License