Mo' Money, Mo' Problems.
On Sept. 21 the Mu Tau Chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. hosted “Bank Account: Steps to Phinancial Freedom” at 7:06 p.m. in the College of Health of Human Services - UNC Charlotte. The program featured International Trade Services Analyst, Harrison Williams. Williams received a Bachelors of Arts in Economics from Georgetown University in May 2016; he has been in the Whole Sale Banking department at Wells Fargo for the past year.
Williams began his financial sermon by presenting a series of four numbers to the audience of over 30 African American collegiate men: 1 trillion, 52,736, .63 and 7, 113.
According to Black Enterprise, The purchasing power of African American consumers has reached $1.2 trillion. Yet, the purported lifespan of a dollar is six hours in the black community compared to 17 days in white communities.
According to Brookings, differences in interest accrual and graduate school borrowing lead to black graduates holding nearly $53,000 in student loan debt four years after graduation—almost twice as much as their white counterparts.
According to the National Women’s Law Center, women are paid just 80 cents for every dollar paid to their male counterparts. But the wage gap is even larger when looking specifically at Black women who work full time, year round—they are paid only 63 cents for every dollar paid to white, non-Hispanic men.
According to Question More, the median African-American household’s net worth is just over $7,000, compared to white households with more than $111,000, according to a new study that concludes the gap is so wide, it would take black families over 200 years to catch up.
The majority of the room could not correctly guess what the four numbers represented. The fact that many African Americans do not know about about their financial state or hesitate to ask the important questions was the basis for Williams’ presentation.
Williams shared his financial struggles while at Georgetown. From freshmen to sophomore the yearly tuition increased from an already whopping $65,000 to $67,000. Williams’ mother informed him that she dipped into her 401k to help pay for his schooling. She said that no one before her son had the opportunity to attend such a prestigious school and that they [Williams’ parents] would do everything in their power to make it happen. Going into his sophomore year Williams decided to no longer be a financial burden for to his parents. Williams placed his student loans in his name, acquired 3 campus jobs and pledged to began paying them immediately. Williams emphasized that individuals must save up to achieve their goals and be prepared for a rainy day.
Williams provided the audience with five tasks to become financially free:
Where is your money going?
In the month of October keep track of your expenses.This will give you a clear indication of what unnecessary things that can be cut from your budget.
Ask your parents about their finances.
Frankly, black people do not have these types of discussions. Mom, what is in your will? Dad, what do our assets look like?
You should always have three to six months money saved up in case of a rainy day. This will give you enough time to find another job.
Your network is your net worth.
Create an excel sheet of all the “important” people you know. Use their name, contact, and where you met them to start of rolodex of success.
Set a one year goal of where you want to be financially and also one for five years out.
Williams is slowly but surely on his way of his lion’s den. With diligence and continuous saving those student loans will be a thing of the past.