I recently had the pleasure of being quoted in a Black History Month Guide produced by The Skimm that features a few prominent women who are making an impact in the finance world and asking them how the racial wealth gap presents in their lives. You can read it here, Making Black History: Women Fighting the Racial Wealth Gap. The racial wealth gap has and continues to affect every generation in my family. But, I’m doing my part to break these curses and speaking openly about it in hopes it will help you too.
What is the Racial Wealth Gap?
The racial wealth gap in the United States is the difference in median wealth between different races. In the U.S. the racial wealth gap shows that the typical white household holds multiple times the wealth of Black and Latino households. Wealth commonly includes the values of any homes, automobiles, personal valuables, businesses, savings, and investments, as well as any associated debts.
The matriarch in my family, my grandmother, is 90 years old and she’s fighting to keep the property in the family that was bought by her great-grandfather in the early 1900s. My grandmother essentially has to buy her own property back before it becomes heirs’ property because several generations did not use wills and/or trusts to keep a clear title to the property in the family. It’s safe to say, she has definitely done her estate planning.
When I learned my mother had never learned to invest in the stock market because no one around her spoke about investing and her financial advisors steered her into complex annuity and life insurance “investments” with outrageous fees and commissions, I taught her how to invest to instill confidence in her own abilities. Her portfolio is amazing and always seems to outperform mine.
The racial wealth gap has affected me because I believed the hype about “good debt” and I checked all those “good debt” boxes. I went to school on the premise that I would get out and be able to make enough money to pay the student loans. I bought a home thinking it would be an asset.
I’ve had to get very creative to come up with a strategy to right my wrongs. Everything is a lesson and I see it as a blessing. While working in finance, I learned and studied everything about personal finance and investing and became a certified trust and financial advisor. I used my legal background to focus on estate planning which is an extension of your financial plan and a true source of Generational Wealth and I am building a business while navigating the world as an underrepresented, overqualified, underutilized, black woman.
I’m taking the time to be intentional about breaking these generational curses and you should too. My goal is not only to be debt-free but to ensure that I am building wealth and protecting my legacy for the next generation so that they can avoid the traps generations before them fell into.
While I’m breaking my own generational curses, I’m also educating and empowering black women and underrepresented communities to do the same. The more you know the better protected you will be.
Jala Eaton, Esq, CTFA is an estate planning attorney, fiduciary, and certified trust and fiduciary advisor with a mission to empower people to build and protect their assets through investing and estate planning. The racial wealth gap is the problem and Generational wealth is the goal and the solution. When not advising her clients or talking about money on her blog and Instagram she likes to attend concerts (pre-covid-19) and the private dance parties her daughter holds in their living room.