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3 Sad Truths of Why Minorities Struggle Financially – Reversing the Trend
When I finally got a full-time job at the age of 17, I wondered why I found myself a few years later, broke and struggling to make ends meet. After all, making more money while getting sponsored “food items” will solve my problems right?
Why did I find myself on the payroll. Chances are… it has to do with my upbringing and race.
Does it matter if you are a minority in America because it affects your level of financial literacy and ability to make money decisions? Is being raised on the “other side of the line”, true?
According to several reports it absolutely does.
1) Lack of financial education and awareness
Back in the late 90s, I was in the middle of my second enlistment to serve in the US Marine Corps. Returning from a vaccine delivery in the Bahamas, I walked into my apartment in military housing at Marine Corps Air Station El Toro to a group of loan sharks. Oh yes.
My wife at the time had over $15,000 in charges on 3 credit cards. According to the Corporal, this is close to a year’s worth of annual salary. Needless to say, this was a major point of contention between us that eventually led to our divorce and two years of child custody battles. (In army jokes, but not really, if you can’t get out of the military without getting married, having kids…then get divorced. Ask around, it’s really sad really.)
What financial aid am I trying to get? I would ask fellow Marines, senior leaders who happened to be Black and Hispanic, only to find that they faced the same financial problems at different levels. Bottom line, they have no answer. It is the blind who are blind.
I learned my first rule of personal finance… don’t ask for financial help from your broken friends (and even family).
If it wasn’t for retired Master Sergeant Carleton Enloe, who I happened to meet in the bathroom of Best Buy in Laguna Hills (don’t laugh), I wouldn’t have started the journey of learning to do how to win the money game. He worked at a financial institution that opened my eyes and took me under his wing.
My first solution to getting out of the financial hole was to find a way to make more money in the city, quit my job, become a Jiffy Lube hood technician and bartender at the Officer’s Club on base .
When I share this story at financial meetings and even our weekly financial workshops, I find that this situation resonates with everyone in the room…even the non-minority people who were raised on the same side of the street as I live.
2) No service, abandoned and untrustworthy by the Financial Services Industry
The truth is, if you are Black and Hispanic, you benefit greatly from the financial services industry. Most financial institutions will not continue negotiations to help a client unless you have at least $250,000 of business capital or a one-time fee of $500 ( some as high as $5,000) to pay a Certified Financial Planner/Investment Advisor just to tell you… “you’re broke!”
I spoke at the Women Diversity Conference and I made friends with a financial planner who was the only black financial advisor in the entire state of Illinois for their country. And yet, his office is in the suburbs… nowhere near the city.
Think you can find a rare financial expert that you can relate to and understand your culture and desire to get out of the financial struggle? They are not very many. American Council of Insurers Reveals Significant Differences in Pass Rates Only for Minorities Passes Simple Life Insurance Test as Entry to Financial Services Industry
3) Upbringing and financial culture Ignorance
Does it have to do with leadership and parental support to handle your own finances? Actor Kevin Hart threw a credit joke at dark-skinned women, which he later apologized for, citing bad credit.
Sure, it’s a comedy, but can it be true? When is the last memory of your parents telling you the value of credit and how to build your credit score over the dinner table?
You know the answer.
Like me, you’ve had the experience of holding your breath while dining with friends hoping the server doesn’t come back and ask for another type of payment.
Over the past two years, I have had the pleasure of helping to build a financial support system where we have recruited and trained new financial professionals to enter the financial industry.
The level of connection with our audience, addressing their financial struggles and finding solutions to change their financial lives is nothing less than revolutionary.
We are helping to close the gap between minorities making $100,000 per year, where today, less than 5.9% of the income of the 6th worker is Asian, 5.6% is Hispanic and 5.5% are Black. (Source: Wikipedia.com)
Of the 43 financial professionals I have taught as a business consultant and coach, 35 are Black, Hispanic or Asian. 8 is that two peoples both give birth to two peoples. Already, we have 6 beneficiaries who are a Mexican woman and a Filipino-nursery nurse who earned more than $13k last month.
My opinion? Continue to love your friends and family but unfortunately, the truth points out that they are not the ones helping you on the path to financial freedom.
From what you learn about money, take that back to your community and be a changemaker in your family… even if their views are not good for you. Stand firm, stand firm, be gentle, be disciplined.
Reach out, find out earn training and cooperation of people who want to have more, do more and be willing to do more. Look past the color of their skin. After all, money has a color and wants to hang with people who know how to take care of it.
Your children, grandchildren, even great-grandchildren will be glad you did.
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