According to the Institute of Policy Studies, the median wealth of Black Americans will fall to ZERO by 2053.
“You find first-generation, even second-generation African-American and Latino households that have professional jobs and are making ‘middle-income money’ – but they have the wealth of a white high-school dropout,” Asante-Muhammad said.
Imagine scrolling down your social media feed and coming across a headline like this. Imagine, reading this as a Black American. Imagine reading this, as a Black American millennial–currently obsessed with working hard to break generational wealth gaps–only to be reminded that your wealth will fall to ZERO—by the time you hit retirement age.
Just let that sink in.
One of the most quoted tracks is The Story of O.J.–where Jay-Z effortlessly narrates how crucial building wealth is for Black Americans.
Whether you’re rich, broke, bad, or boujee— Black America MUST have real conversations about wealth building in our community. Reading articles that focus on the problems without presenting viable solutions is becoming the norm, but this post is accompanied with a plot twist: a response from Black America.
I shared this article on my Facebook page, only to be overwhelmed by an influx of sophisticated commentary on action-oriented ways we can potentially shift this narrative into our favor. After all, the power is in the people–right?
A Response from Black America:
On What’s Happening in Black America, Right Now:
Andre Austin Millennial, Intelligence Analyst, Huntsville, AL
Black America is dying on it’s feet, and that’s an understatement. At the turn of the century, Chicago had a Black population of over a million. Now, that number is around 840,000. Areas like this–where youth have been so grossly neglected—should be the breeding-ground for technical schools to keep these kids off the street. But unfortunately, they’ll just be the new grounds for intense gentrification.
Between Black folks accruing debt such as student loans, and this perpetual neglect of inner-city youth, whom eventually turn to a life of crime; I don’t see this trend ending soon. That is, unless Black people with money focus on creating solutions like accredited technical schools or begin initiatives to keep these kids occupied. Ironically, a lot of Black people who have degrees aren’t much better off than poor, uneducated Blacks. So much in the Black community needs to change to curb this trend of actual worthlessness.
On Things We Like:
Trey Moe Millennial, Comic/Entrepreneur, Los Angeles, CA
Drive through the wealthy, high-income, streets of a White neighborhood and you see … Prius, Toyota, and every gas saving/energy car.
Drive through the streets of a middle-high income Black neighborhood and tell me what cars you see parked outside…….
Marquis Heath Millennial, General Dentist, New Orleans, LA
We gonna have that iPhone TI-89 thooo!
On Pouring Into Our Youth:
Carolyn Williams— Baby Boomer, Retired IT Project Manager & Grandmother
If you are reading this, you may not be the audience who needs to hear what is being said. We need to start with teaching our children to be goal-oriented and allow them to develop the skills to meet those goals. If that goal is to drive a Bentley, then, what should your financial portfolio look like? The appearance of wealth is easily transparent. Invest in your family’s future, which includes teaching your children how to be good stewards of what you have provided. Invest in your community, as well, by helping someone else.
Loujeania Baker Baby Boomer, Mount Ulla, North Carolina
We need to teach our children to be goal-oriented, including the goal of being financially solvent. Starting with an ethos of saving long-term versus short-term gratification. The teaching of this practice is most effective when we model the path. Starting with savings, then with low to moderate investing, and progressive investment as we build our portfolios. This article, while it may be true, included only 1 sentence towards solutions. Where were the 7 starting tips?
For more than 2 decades, I have been a fan of advisors such as Suzy Orman and Melody Hobson Lucas, whom provide free and nearly free information for building and managing wealth. Start early with conversations such as being frugal, prioritizing our purchases, establishing credit worthiness, becoming entrepreneurs, building wealth and not debt. These are all conversations and actions that we should start early and have checkups within our families and with the young people in our lives.
We all have to do more than admire the problem.
On Older Generations’ Savings Rates:
Ben Baxter Millennial, Engineer, Tuscaloosa, AL
The older generations actually had a better savings rate than today’s generation. However, they dealt with Jim Crow and other discriminatory practices that eroded wealth building potential. In addition, we haven’t always been educated on the practices needed to keep wealth in the family (will, term insurance, etc.) instead of letting it fall into the hands of someone else.
On Free Financial Advice, For Us, By Us:
Brandon Prince Millennial, Attorney, Birmingham, AL
The past couple of days I’ve been watching folks get mad about free financial advice. They want people to stay out of their pocket. I’ve had the fortune of having a diverse friend group and one thing I’ve noticed is that other ethnic groups—and some in our race as well—discuss their finances with each other.
They give advice to each other and let each other know about wealth building opportunities. Unfortunately, that’s not pervasive enough within our community. I think social media platforms have made those conversations more common (take this conversation), but it’s not common enough.
On Post Poverty Syndrome:
Ameisha Collins Millennial, Logistics Management Specialist, Huntsville, AL
I was riding with a coworker last week. She’s rather simple, frugal, married and in her early 30s. She paid cash for her 2018 SUV. They live off one income and they both make $80K+. She said they won’t have a house payment before the kids go to middle school.
Yes, she may not be fashionable or have a passport full of stamps, but their focus is on finances. Many times we as Blacks didn’t grow up with much so when we get money we try to make up for loss times aka post poverty syndrome.
On Where Black America Can Start, Now:
Charles Jones –Millennial, Business Consultant, Atlanta, GA
Our biggest downfall is real estate…the way to build wealth, including generational wealth. Too often I see people who have 100 pairs of shoes, jewelry, and other miscellaneous wants, yet do not own a home or stocks. I have had numerous conversations with people whom feel they don’t have enough to invest; yet they have money for entertainment, and an apartment (which people pay way more for). Conversations are had, but you get tired of having them with people who can’t understand or simply don’t want to.
And there really is no excuse with the internet, so people can educate themselves.
Well, now what?
How can we—as a community–move forward in this great nation, America the Beautiful? Articles like these spark interest, but interest isn’t enough. We need action. We are tired, but the fight isn’t over. Until all of the black youth are offered an equal chance at the American dream.
Each generation must lean on each other. We have to work together–cross-generational conversations and action-plans—in order to progress.
Each generation has to learn from the last, so we can keep getting better, as a community.
What do you think? What can we do—-right now?
Until next time,
— Belle in the City Giselle
Featured Image by @Olueletu on Instagram
Lady Liberty by @ImStillJulie on Instagram