A Black woman is the back bone of the family. She takes care of the kids. She takes care of her parents when they’re unable to care for themselves and she takes care of her man if he stumbles on difficult times. A Black woman is the glue that holds the seams in place even when it appears those seams are ready to burst. She is strong and a master of turning lemons into lemonade and she does it without breaking a sweat. Do you want to know what else is miraculous? She does it all with a median net worth of $5. You heard me right. Studies show (Insight Center for Community Economic Development, 2010); single Black women have the median net worth of $5, while their counterparts (single White women) have the median net worth of $42,600. What this means is that single Black women own less and have fewer assets than White single women.
What are assets? Assets are measured by the cash you have saved, stocks and bonds, real estates, etc… If you were to total up everything you own and subtract it by everything you owe, you would come up with your net worth or your wealth. The last study was taken in 2010 and, even though it’s several years old, it doesn’t lessen the horrific truth surrounding the financial crisis single Black women are facing. Even if we double or tripled that number, Black women would still fall significantly behind.
For several years I’ve been on a journey of financial literacy learning about saving money, building assets and investing. In this article I’ve summarized a couple of easy to-do key concepts that I believe will set you on the path of financial liberation.
Competing with the Jones’
It’s simple…don’t spend more than you make. Black people come from a materialistic culture. We always want the nicest vehicles, the flashiest clothes and the most expensive jewelry. It’s all about looking like we have money even if we don’t. What’s the saying, “A woman will purchase a $500 purse to put $0.50 in it? It goes something like that (lol). The moral of the story is we try to keep up with the Jones’ even if it means we have nothing to show for it.
It’s okay to want nice things but you don’t want to purchase a Benz and can’t afford the maintenance. It is also important that we learn the difference between nice and valuable because they are not always the same. Value comes from worth and benefit and doesn’t depreciate with time. For example, if you put your money into real estate, or stocks and bonds those things go up in value and can provide you with different streams of income. However, if you spend your money on a vehicle, it depreciates the moment you drive it off the lot and offers no financial gain.
Your social and professional circle
Birds of a feather flock together. What I mean is broke people give broke people advice. Wealthy people give wealthy people advice. Keep to minimum those “girlfriends” who encourage you to spend your money carelessly. “Oh girl you got to treat yourself sometimes.” You know the one’s I’m talking about. Instead, surround yourself with people who will provide you with insight on how money works and ways to make that money work for you.
Save you money
I know you’ve heard it before. Save your money and pay yourself FIRST. Treat yourself like a bill and determine how much money you want to pay yourself. If you make $10 put four of those dollars in your savings and watch your funds stack up.
Plan, execute and build assets
Several things that I’ve learned along my financial education journey is to have a plan. Spending money without a purpose is wasting money. I do pride myself on saving money. I invest my money as well, creating a subsidiary income. It’s important to educate yourself on all types of investments and put your money in things that can generate more wealth without having to work hard for it. You don’t have to be a millionaire; you just need a plan, patience and the will to execute it.
There are different things you can invest in like real estate, education, stock and bonds, business, and the list goes on.
For centuries, Blacks have been denied financial education and because of this we lack the necessary skills needed to break the poverty cycle in the Black community. Blacks own nothing and have little to no assets to pass down for the generations that come after to start from “0”.
It is not a coincidence that the financial gap is spread so wide between single Black women and single White women. It is not a coincidence that the only images we see of Black women are ignorant, non-educated and have low self-esteem. It is not a coincidence that Black women have a net worth of $5. But just as easily as our lives have been set-up for destruction it can be turned around with proper financial education.
Don’t let society define our worth as equal to or less than a value meal at McDonald’s. We are so much more than that.
Black women…What is your worth?
Photo Credit source: Via Pinterest Madamenorie.com