Being that it’s Black History Month, it is the perfect opportunity to discuss race and money. The racial wealth gap is an important issue for this country as a whole.
What is the racial wealth gap?
When it comes to Black families, the racial wealth gap is the disparity in money between white families and Black families in America. In 2019, the Federal Reserve released updated survey results regarding the racial wealth gap which didn’t show much change from its initial survey in 2016. According to the Federal Reserve, white families have a median and mean family wealth of $188,200 and $983,400, respectively, while Black families have a median and mean family wealth of $24,100 and $142,500, respectively.
This blows my mind!
The racial wealth gap is linked to slavery and reflects the effects of accumulated inequality and discrimination, as well as differences in power and opportunity (ie. employment discrimination, housing discrimination/redlining, incarceration, infant mortality etc.).
The Black-white wealth gap reflects a society that has not and does not afford equality of opportunity to all citizens. While this country, as a whole, has not done more to address the racial wealth gap, there is still an opportunity to address this disparity on an individual level.
As moms, we can do our part in closing the racial wealth gap independent of external factors. We have an opportunity to learn and do better, so that we can teach our children how to establish a healthy relationship with money.
I truly believe that the foundation of money management is budgeting. So let me ask you, Is budgeting a top priority in your household? Have you set up a budget?
If so, have you kept your budget up to date with tracking and reconciling expenses?
Does your budget include a line item for saving?
Does your budget include a line item for extra debt payoff?
Does your budget include a line item for investing?
I challenge you to take one step closer to closing the racial wealth gap and get back to basics!
Back to Basics
Determining where your dollars are being spent is the foundation of money management and a healthy money relationship. Budgeting can seem overwhelming at first, but once you get the hang of it, you will feel empowered. Trust me!
Without a budget, it is impossible to know if you are on track to financial health. If budgeting is new to you, I have a tool here to help you get started.
It’s important to have a line item in your budget dedicated to savings as well. Coming off the heels of 2020 should be a reminder that life can be unpredictable. Positioning yourself for unexpected events is wise.
You can have many buckets/accounts for savings broken up based upon your goals, but the one account which is a non-negotiable is an emergency fund. We know that something unexpected will happen in the future, so I like the idea of controlling what we can control and having an emergency fund to fall back on in times of need.
Contribute to this account regularly until you reach a minimum of 3-6 months of expenses saved. Even if it’s a very small amount at first, it’s important to exercise the “savings muscle.” You’ll feel a lot more at ease when you have 3-6 months of expenses saved in case an unexpected event arises and you are left without income.
Debt is paying for your past and it’s not fun because it’s stealing from your future. Carrying debt month-to-month means you aren’t allocating those funds to savings or retirement – a lost opportunity (and yes, I’m preaching to the choir here).
We’ve all made money mistakes, it’s important to realize those mistakes, make a plan to move past those money mistakes and vow to never return.
Investing, investing, investing
I’d venture to say that investing is something not frequently discussed in Black households, it surely wasn’t discussed in my household nor the households of many of my friends. Now is the perfect time to learn and bring investing knowledge back to your family. I know how overwhelming investing advice can be, but baby steps add up to big returns.
Once you have a fully funded emergency fund, it is imperative that you have an investment account for retirement (once this is fully funded, it’s also nice to consider a brokerage account for investing beyond retirement).
Investing is so important because of inflation and the decreased value of a dollar. We will go into inflation and the decreased value of the dollar in future blog posts, but trust me when I say your money needs to work for you in investments in order to be prepared for retirement etc.
I personally love investing in the stock market and real estate, but do your research and find what works for you. Just keep it simple and begin now!
Your future is worth it
I am not saying that any of this is easy, but I am saying that all of this is worth it! We don’t have time to keep making the same money mistakes, it’s time to learn from our past and do better.
It’s imperative that we make financial literacy a priority. I’m not saying that we can’t stumble, but it’s important to fail fast, learn and get back on track. Future generations are depending on us.
Black families are at a disadvantage when it comes to inheritance and generational wealth. Moms, we can begin to change that, but we must seize the moment and begin now! Our kids are starting behind and we have an opportunity to fix this issue.
A nugget to remember, daily baby steps add up to massive results.
So here are 5 simple steps to begin with:
- Set up a budget (don’t forget to use my Budget Starter Kit to get started)
- Make it a priority to establish an emergency fund with 3-6 months of expenses (even if you begin regular contributions of $5/month, just start)
- Make it a priority to payoff debt
- Learn about investing (not day-trading, not gambling, but investing for long term growth)
- Begin having regular money conversations at home with your kids. You won’t always get it right, but just begin the dialogue. It’s time to normalize black money and black wealth!