When it comes to Black money in America, I’ve learned six crucial lessons from my parents.

  • Racial wealth disparities exist in the United States. My parents have been training me to deal with it as a Black lady of color throughout my life.
  • As a child, my parents instilled in me the belief that education and property ownership were essential to achieving financial security.
  • Additionally, I’ve learned that being properly banked, which means not spending a lot on fees or utilizing payday loans, and asking for more money at work are ways I can ensure my son’s financial future.

Whether we like it or not, the race has an effect on our capacity to accumulate money when it comes to personal finance.

In 2016, white families in the United States had a median net worth of $171,000, while black households had a median net worth of $17,000, according to the Pew Research Center. When I first heard this number, I was perplexed why white families were generally ten times richer than black families.

Then, I understood how much impact my parents and culture had on my understanding of Black wealth in the United States.

As though they’re perpetually chasing their tails, Black Americans.

When it comes to increasing my money and accumulating wealth, as a Black woman in the United States, I often feel like I’m playing catch-up. My parents taught me a lot as a kid that if I wanted to be successful in anything, I’d have to put in a lot of effort.

My parents were attempting to warn me that the playing field is not fair and that the racial wealth gap exists, even though this is true for all of us regardless of color or gender. When it comes to being born, some of us have an advantage, and others have disadvantages. A person from a less advantaged background would naturally have to make more effort to get the same achievements.

Taking a cursory look at history and statistics reveals why many Blacks may believe that they are behind in wealth growth.

  • Before 1865, blacks in the United States could not lawfully accumulate wealth since they had been enslaved and considered as property.
  • Before the 1760s, when the New York Stock Exchange opened in 1792, and life insurance became common, Blacks in the United States had no way to begin amassing wealth for future generations.
  • Tulsa, OklahomaGreenwood,’s District, known as Black Wall Street, burnt down in 1921, and 9,000 people were forced out of their houses due to racial violence.
  • Schools were segregated until the 1950s and 1960s, which resulted in a lesser standard of education for African-Americans. Many school districts with a majority of Black students are still underfunded today.
  • The job market remains racially and gender-segregated, with Black women earning only 61 cents for every dollar a white man makes.
  • According to Harvard research, people of color who don’t include their race on their applications had a higher chance of landing a job.
  • According to Federal Reserve statistics, black-owned firms are twice as likely as their white counterparts to be rejected a loan.

My son’s inheritance depended on my ability to accumulate money over time and leave a legacy for him. Therefore I needed to understand the figures and facts.

The importance of education in achieving one’s goals cannot be overstated.

My parents instilled in my siblings and me the significance of education early. My mother worked tirelessly to ensure that my sisters and I attended the best schools possible and even had us do educational workbooks during our summer vacation.

Doing summer work didn’t make me particularly excited, but it did inspire me to read more and study more in school. Eighty-five percent of self-made millionaires read at least two books every month, which is not unexpected to me.

My parents didn’t go to college, and I observed the impact on their earnings and job prospects. Even though going to college was a need for me, I was aware of how costly it would be and wanted to minimize my expenses.

To make a long tale short, I attended a community college and a state institution, taking advantage of grants and scholarships and graduating with a $20,000 student loan debt that I paid off in three years.

Black students are more likely to take on student debt and graduate with higher debt than their classmates, which is a financial burden that affects all of us. Many individuals are in debt because they don’t have a cosigner, enough income, or enough resources to get out of it.

Inquire about further funds.

Gender and racial income disparities are very evident in our culture today. When I saw others who looked like me earning more and heard others encouraging me to raise my income even though these mechanisms have been in place for many years, I knew I could do it too.

I can recall working at the same place for three years and never asking for a raise because I was too scared. If a Black woman continues to earn 61 cents for every dollar that a white guy earns, she will lose out on roughly $1 million in income throughout her lifetime. At the beginning of my career, I didn’t want this to be the case, so I asked for raises and discussed open salaries with my boss. While working for a tiny start-up, I received a 20 percent pay increase in only two years.

To better myself as a freelancer and self-employed, I joined various groups where I could network with other people in the field, freely debate pay, and get experience in contract negotiations.

That’s why it took me a mental adjustment to accept the idea of earning the same amount of money as my coworkers.

Get your finances in order.

The first time I established a bank account, I was 17 years old and utterly clueless about banking. Even though I was always more concerned with doing well in school, I still had a lot to learn about managing my own money and deciding which banking products were best for me.

After my account went into collections due to a negative balance, I could only get a high-fee second-chance checking account. According to a countrywide Bankrate poll, black and Latino banking clients pay more fees than their white counterparts.

It has been shown that many African Americans have trouble saving because they lack access to conventional commercial banking institutions. I’ve found that many minority-dominated regions feature more costly financial services, such as check-cashing or payday lending establishments. These are expensive to use and may lead to a cycle of debt repayment. PaydayNow says,

After hearing about them online, I jumped at the chance to establish an account with a high-interest bank—a high-yield checking or savings account (often with no beginning deposit), which surprised me. Banks began giving me an interest in my savings instead of my debts.

With property, you can make money.

When I was a kid, my parents didn’t have a house. My mum urged me not to spend my whole life “throwing away money on rent” since we always rented. The idea that owning a home comes with a lot of financial responsibility and isn’t the ideal choice for everyone is something that I can understand.

There is no denying my ambition to own and invest in real estate. As of 2018, the homeownership rate among African Americans was 30 percent lower than that of the general population.

When I purchased my first house at the age of 26, I realized that although it isn’t exactly an investment, I was accumulating equity in a long-term asset. It is possible to get wealth without owning real estate. Still, those who want to buy a house shouldn’t be subjected to discrimination because of their color, as with African-Americans.

Learn about and fight against racism in the system.

It is possible to practice systemic racism by manipulating the social, political, and institutional spheres. Inequality is a problem in wealth, income, employment, housing, healthcare, and the justice system.

As far as I’m concerned, I still think we can close the income gap between blacks and whites. Increasing the wealth of African Americans might positively impact the economy as a whole.

Systemic racism must be recognized, acknowledged, and then educated and worked together to change oppressive structures. A single group of individuals cannot accomplish this. Teachers had to instruct me, supervisors and clients had to grant me wage raises, and a mortgage underwriter had to authorize my request for a home loan. If we all worked together to fix the system, systemic prejudice and the Black wealth gap would be less widespread.

Andrew B. Reiter