“My face is all done up, my hair is looking good! Ooooh, this outfit is hot, these shoes are sexy, and I'm rocking the latest handbag out! Oh I look good!”, she says. But what does she own? Absolutely NOTHING! So what's so sexy about that?
A recent study called “Lifting As We Climb: Women of Color, Wealth, and America's Future” revealed that the average net worth of single black women between the ages of 36 and 49 is only $5. That's right, I said it – a measly 5 bucks! This means that the average amount of money that single black women have in the bank along with any other assets they may have all add up to less than the cost of a good meal at McDonald's! So if one of these women were to – God forbid – pass away today, they'd have absolutely nothing, besides $5, to leave behind to their families. Pretty sad wouldn't you agree!
In contrast, the study revealed that white woman, on the other hand, in this same age group has an average net worth of $42,600. So what are they doing that black women are not? Well in my opinion and based on what I've seen with my own two eyes, I'd say it's not so much what a white woman does that a black woman doesn't … it's more so, what a black woman does that a white woman doesn't, in addition to the resources available to most white women versus those available to most black women.
For starters, many young black women never had the proper guidance from the beginning to know how to acquire and maintain net worth throughout their lives. Heck, most young black women leaving high school and getting ready to venture out into the real world have not even a clue as to what the words “net worth” even means. This is a vicious cycle that passes on from generation to generation. So the disadvantage starts there.
In addition to this, without the proper education, credentials, and GOOD CREDIT, black women do not have access to the same good jobs and income potential that most white women have access to. As a result, our black women are living paycheck to paycheck – some of which is their own fault and most of which is simply due to lack of knowledge, understanding, and resources.
Often times, we as black women, have tragic spending habits. We tend to over spend, over borrow, underestimate, and live beyond our means even though we have only limited incomes. The majority of our spending goes towards paying bills and buying cosmetics. We have to look good. This is what makes us feel good. Unfortunately, though, this is not helping our pockets. Furthermore, we do not set budgets and we do NOT have a savings plan. Why would we if no one ever taught us how to do these things. So we need to change that.
To stop this vicious cycle and improve the net worth of our beautiful single black women, we need to do all of a few things … (1) we need to teach parents money management skills so that they can then teach their children as soon as they're old enough to start counting; (2) we need to ensure that our children are getting a good education so that they'll have access to the same good jobs that everyone else does; (3) we need to make sure that by time our children is ready to graduate high school, they understand how credit works, how to save, how to build assets, and even how to invest money.
It starts there. Let's teach our parents the money management skills they need so that their children will have the opportunity to learn these skills as well and in turn, that cycle which was once a vicious one can be reversed to a productive one. That net worth which was once worth only $5 can be turned up to $5,000,000+ if that's what our black women are willing to reach for. Let's make a change!