Financial Literacy and the like….

I think this push for financial literacy in the Black community is great. What I find even better or what I think is a wonderful addendum is actually assessing your relationship with money and then talking about that relationship with your children.

At some point, you should start talking about your weekly budget with your kids. Discuss the difference between what you have earned and what you have to pay out. Discuss financial goals. If your kids want to purchase an item, discuss the price, feasibility of buying said item, priority of the item, and possible resale value.

A lot of times, it is our sociocultural relationship to money that derails our decision making. Our relationship with money is not strictly transactional, it is mostly emotional and sometimes very reactive.

Many of us (Black Americans) are in survival mode and that’s why we don’t have a capacity to make better long term decisions. We are dealing with surviving in the short term. There is no shame in that scenario and don’t let some asshole shame you or your family over it. 

Also lot of people have bought into the idea that Black people don’t save (fun fact: Black Americans save and budget more than other ethnicities because we have less) or that Black people don’t know what we are doing with money. People bring negative internalized / racist messages about Black Americans and money into their home and share that lunacy with their children.

Children mimic what we do, not necessarily what we say. If you want your kid to have a good relationship with money and be able to manage their finances whilst navigating a racial wealth gap that was designed to withhold wealth from Black Americans, then start talking about finances early (at least by 2nd or 3rd grade), try find both you and them an online accounting and economics class, get yourself and them a financial literacy course if you feel you cannot teach them the basics, and for the love of God stop shaming poor Black Americans who work hard every gotdamn day for not having no money. Leave your wannabe classism and internalized racism out of the money conversation — especially with your children.

You should be willing to also teach children about the history of America withholding wealth from Black Americans. (Exclusion from the GI Bill, redlining, defunding our schools through political policies, etc…) That is instrumental in your child understanding that their accumulation of wealth will be harder than their nonBlack counterparts and there will be systemic roadblocks they will need to cleverly surmount.

Real financial literacy is not just learning how to buy insurance and understanding compound interest, it is about learning how the American economy work. This includes loans, mortgages, GDP, unemployment, the tax code, starting a business, cost accounting, etc.

Another great lesson is looking at the tithes you’ve paid to a church, looking the funds that church has received over a 10yr period, and then looking at how their programs have helped their congregation or helped the surrounding community where they own property. Should you want to tie in religion to said economic education, look at the amount of money received by Black churches and Mega churches and how much or little has went into the community.

Teaching financial literacy in the Black American community without a history lesson on Black economics and lessons on how systemic racism thwarted our wealth building capabilities is moot. In order to empower your children and yourself, you have to learn and teach it all in tandem.

I do wish you and your children all the best. My hope is that the next generation can move out of survival mode into thrive mode, while recreating a more kind, supportive, and prosperous Black American community. 

Hey, happy Sunday and thanks for coming to my TEDTalk.