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3 Sad Truths of Why Minorities Struggle Financially – Reversing the Trend
When I finally got my first full-time job at 17, I wondered why a few years later I found myself in my early 20s, broke and struggling to make ends meet. After all, making more money while moving up the “food chain” would solve my problems, right?
Why I soon found myself living paycheck to paycheck. Most likely…it has something to do with my upbringing and ethnicity.
If you are a minority in the US, does it really have anything to do with your level of financial literacy and ability to make informed decisions? Does growing up “on the other side of the track” really matter?
According to several reports, it does.
1) Lack of financial education and awareness
Back in the late 90’s I was in my second enlistment for active duty in the US Marine Corps. After returning from a counterdrug deployment in the Bahamas, I walked into my home at the military housing at Marine Corps Air Station El Toro and saw a stack of credit card bills. oh joy.
My wife was charged over $15,000 between 3 credit cards. That’s close to a year’s salary as a corporal. Needless to say, this was a major area of contention between us that eventually led to our divorce and two year child custody battle. (Military insider joke, but not true, you can’t leave active duty without getting married, having kids…then getting divorced. Ask around, it’s the sad truth.)
What am I trying to get financial help for? I would ask fellow Marine Corps senior leaders who happen to be Black and Hispanic, only to find that they too are facing the same financial difficulties, just on a different level. At the end of the day, they don’t have the answers. This is the blind leading the blind.
I learned the first rule of personal finance…stop asking your bankrupt friends (or even family) for financial help.
If I hadn’t happened to meet Retired Sergeant Major Carleton Enloe in the bathroom of a Best Buy in Laguna Hills (don’t laugh), I would never have started learning how to win money game journey. He worked for a financial firm, which opened my eyes and put me under his wing.
My previous solution to getting out of financial trouble was just finding ways to make more money in town, after hours, as a Jiffy Lube hood technician and bartender at the Base Officers Club.
When I share this story at a finance conference or even our weekly finance seminar, I find that this scenario affects most people in the room…even the non-caucasian minority, who too grew up on the same track as me big.
2) Underserved, Abandoned and Biased in the Financial Services Industry
The truth is, if you are black and Hispanic, you are severely underserved by the financial services industry. Most financial firms won’t even expand the conversation to help potential clients unless you have at least $250,000 in liquid investable assets or lack a one-time plan fee of $500 (some as high as $5,000) to pay a certified financial planner/investment advisor just Wanted to tell you that you… “You’re broke!”
I spoke at a women’s diversity conference and met a financial planner who was the only black financial professional in the entire country in Illinois. However, her office is in the suburbs…not far from the city.
Think you can find a minority finance professional you can relate to and understand your cultural struggles and desire to escape the financial rat race? They are not very common.American Insurance Institute Exposes Huge Gaps in Pass Rates for Minority Groups Entering Financial Services Industry Through Simple Life Insurance Exam
3) Growing up and cultural financial ignorance
Does handling personal finances have anything to do with cultural trends and parenting? Comedian Kevin Hart made credit score jokes at dark-skinned women, for which he later apologized, in relation to the prevalence of poor credit.
Sure, it’s comedy, but could it be true? When’s the last memory of your parents teaching you the value of credit and how to build your credit score at the kitchen table?
you know the answer.
Just like me, you’ve held your breath in the past when dining out with friends, hoping the waiter wouldn’t come back and ask for another payment method.
Over the past two years, I have been proud to have helped build the finance movement in which we recruited and trained a new class of finance professionals entering the finance industry.
The level of connection with our audience, relating to their financial struggles and finding solutions to change their financial lives is tantamount to transformative.
We’re helping close the huge disparity among minorities earning $100,000 a year, and today less than 5.9 percent of six-figure earners are Asian, 5.6 percent are Hispanic, and 5.5 percent are Black. (Source: Wikipedia.com)
Of the 43 financial professionals I coached as a marketing consultant and trainer, 35 were Black, Hispanic, or Asian. 8 mixed-race couples with mixed-race children. We already have a Hispanic woman earning six figures and a retired Filipino nurse with over $13,000 in cash flow last month.
My advice? Keep loving your friends and family, but unfortunately, it turns out they are not the ones to help you on your way to financial freedom.
From what you know about money, bring it back to your community and be a change agent in your family…no matter what negative thoughts they have about you. Be strong, be determined, stay focused, stay disciplined.
reach out to seek and earn Guidance and connections for people who want to have more, be more and be willing to do more. Look at their complexion. After all, money has only one color, and you want to be around people who know how to manage it.
Your kids, grandkids, and even great-grandchildren will be delighted with what you did.
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