Issues

Everything Is Black and White Including Our Finances

By: Aqueilla C. Terry

Lately, I have been really paying attention to the world around me and I am beginning to see something that has been over looked. I was at a friend’s house one day watching one of those shows where they flip houses for future home owners. Before they begin, the first thing they ask is for the budget of the individual or couple to get an idea of what type of money they are trying to spend.

On this particular episode there was a white couple living with the wife’s parents. They had recently lost out on a previous house due to a bad realtor and were looking for something new. To make a long story short the hosts of the show asked the couple about their budget for home shopping and they responded with One million eighty- four dollars. I immediately had to take a double take  to make sure I had really  heard  what what they had said.

One million and eighty- four dollars as a BUDGET! For their first home!!!!! It literally blew my mind because they were an average newly married couple living with relatives and here they were with such a huge savings for their first home. This had to be the most amazing thing I had heard that day because it’s rare that you hear something like that from people who are non- celebrities with those kinds of numbers. I mean we do hear about some but it’s rare to see a couple or a single person save over a million dollars while staying with their parents. I say that because as a black person it is almost a slim to none chance that we will hear something like that.

Why? Because one, we are never really taught to save money in the first place or we simply never get the opportunity to begin with especially when we live with our parents. I mean honestly think about it; when white young adults live with their parents they get a chance to save, build their credit even travel the world in most cases. The reason being, their parents have paid all of the bills, put money aside for their children’s future, and t have taught their children them how to save and invest their money wisely.

Now if you are a black young adult living in your parent’s house for the most part there may not be any savings for your future because bills are still being paid and all of the money that could’ve been set aside for you has been depleted. When you take into account the fact that the average black household in America has only about 6% of the wealth that white families have, it is easy to understand the difference between white and black families.

**Disclaimer : when I am speaking on black kids living with their parents I am speaking on the ones that are working, truly looking for a job, in school, new entrepreneurs, artists ( the ones that are far from “couch potatoes” ****

It makes no sense to me for a young adult, who has no savings fund, to be forced to pay for the expenses in their household. How in the world can we ever get out of our parent’s house if we are putting more money into the house than we are saving in our pockets. I mean helping out our parents is one thing but literally paying everything just because they feel like we are taking up space in their house.

Now, I understand that most believe that black people have to work twice as hard to make a living, but do we truly have to do that? Let’s think about it for a second.

  1. If we were taught early on how to manage our money and credit as white people are, then we would be better with our expenses.
  2. The costly things that we believe we have to have are deemed more of a necessity then the luxuries they truly are.
  3. Student loans would be less of a requirement if we are taught about scholarships earlier and if our parents would’ve known to save for a college fund.

So is it really our fault that we are never taught to really save our money or that when we have to move in with our parents it’s a mirrored imaged of post slavery times and thoughts? YES! Because we as black people are mentally enslaved with ancient thoughts that still linger today in so many of our beliefs and actions. Think about it, we spend money because we worked so hard and long for it  that the more we get of it the more we want to buy luxury things. Go look at the early 50s, 60s and 70s where blacks were spending money on fancy suits, cars and clothes trying to mirror the people who once enslaved them but never realizing that their money came from investing and savings.

When other cultures live at home with their parents they are able to save their money (to buy a new home or a car), travel the world, find a job, go to school (some choose to study abroad) because they are given the chance to award themselves such amazing opportunities. I have met people from many different cultures and have seen the lifestyle differences versus that of black culture. If you think it’s a lie then go look at other groups of people like Ukrainian’s, Russians, and other Europeans to observe how their way of life is different because of how they think.

For example, I have met Ukrainian’s that work and live with their parents or siblings to save money for a new house, luxury apartment or even a new car. They were even able to travel the world attending friends weddings and other special events, some even chose to visit their home country every summer because they could afford to do it.

I have seen them and their friends take various trips to anywhere they want to go because everyone is able to pay for the trip. These young adults were doing things that black youth dream of all of the time and they were in their early 20’s. One guy (who was Russian) bought himself a motorcycle to save gas and quit his job just to travel (kind of like that commercial where the guy sells everything and tells his dad he’s traveling the world).

They help each other get jobs even, if they are working for a major company and have friends or relatives looking for a job they will gladly recommend them for a position. These cultures truly look out for another no matter what and looking at them, I see unification and remarkable bonds between friends and family.

Black culture, in comparison, barely comes close to these types of relationships because we are constantly in competition with each other, wanting everyone to struggle on their own and get it for themselves. We never want to do anything together other than drawing the line between each other further and further apart.

My people have to learn to change our mindsets to do better instead of choosing to continue down this path. How long are we going to continue to build more debt versus income, have our children help pay bills whether they live home or out on their own?

When will the ones that have learned to save money and invest truly to decide to pass the information on versus letting people figure it out for themselves?

 

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