According to Investopedia.com, the formal definition of financial literacy is "the ability to understand and properly apply financial management skills."
What does that mean to you?
I'm sure we have all heard of the basics: Savings, Debt (Financing), Investing, etc. Getting to know what these basics are is very important, but there is so much more that you can do to better equip yourself with financial knowledge and gains. With the social injustices happening all around us, teaching our youth about money sense and money itself is a powerful tool to help bridge the gap. As a black man, I know there are systemic pressures that are stacked against me. In an article written about systemic inequality, it states that "African American families have a fraction of the wealth of white families." Unfortunately in my work as a financial analyst, I see this to be true more than ever. In my undergraduate studies, I was taught how to make money for corporations. Not for myself.
Big problem right?
As a black business owner, I can definitively say that while my college education has prepared me to teach others about math and financial literacy, not everyone has the privilege of learning these concepts, especially in their youth. I often find myself thinking, "if only I had learned about these financial concepts growing up."
Knowing what I know now, I REFUSE to let these pressures break me down. I can no longer sit back and watch this system defeat my community. Generational wealth is alive and well, but if we want our children to experience it, we have to put in the work now. We cannot keep making excuses. We have to figure a new way out; make a change! We must push forward for our youth.
So how do we fix this?
1. The first step is to realize that unfortunately, cash is king. Money is power in America. It funds our economy, our housing markets, and even the resources at our children's schools.
2. Parents, don't hate me when I say this, but the second step is to admit internally that you may not have all the answers or knowledge, to teach your child about financial literacy. If you do, I applaud you because I don't even have all the answers. There are many different ways to build wealth and it pains me deeply to see some of my fellow brothers and sisters struggling. I have continuously prayed on this, and I know this is my calling. Growing With Grace Tutoring will be conducting workshops for parents and children to enjoy, learn, and begin a journey that will change our community around. Hopefully, the pandemic comes to a close soon because I have such a passion to help out where I can. I cannot do it alone, so I need your participation and support.
3. The third step is to obtain cash/wealth and nurture our youth on how to keep it recycled for future generations. I can teach ways on how to obtain money and build wealth, but it does no good if we turn around and give the money we earned away like we grow money trees in our backyard (money trees are real; they just don't grow real money). It is time to create generational wealth instead of generational curses. Children should begin learning money sense at least by the age of seven. By the time they go to college, they should know how and what to do when making financial decisions. I have to go off on a tangent, so let's discuss the big decision right now! Student loans. There should become a time where these student loan companies are begging us to take out loans with 0% interest instead of us willingly being the first in line to apply for one because we have to. They feast on us because again it's partly a systemic thing (the other part is our decision making unfortunately). They know we are behind in wealth and therefore, we have to depend on loans to get our children through school. Listen to these statistics..."Once graduating, black scholars owe $7,400 more on average than their white peers" (New York Times, Brookings Institution). Fast forward a few years and that number triples. See the problem?
4. The last and final step is to invest and recycle funds into our communities and businesses. One of the main reasons for starting our tutoring business, is because we see the deficits in education in the black community. We offer something to our people of color that the big tutoring corporations cannot. We are black owned and have been through the hurt as well. We know firsthand how difficult it is to learn from teachers and tutors who don't understand our culture, our struggle, our pain, our beautiful lives, our amazing heritage, our pitfalls, our love, and I can keep going. Its hard to stay ahead when it is clear that our predominantly black schools lack many resources that the predominately white schools are afforded... but we hope to help change that.
Believe me when I say, I know what it feels like to struggle. I am Donovan Grace. I am only one man. I'm not writing this for sympathy. I'm writing this to let you know that I am MAD (Man Advocating Dollars). I am also writing this to let you know that our children don't have to end up with the same generational curses many of us have been victims of for years. I need all moms and dads to stand with me. This one man will not stop advocating for our youth and our financial knowledge. I don't care to be well-known, but I do care to be well understood. So stand with me.
Are you ready? Visit our Financial Literacy page to learn more about how you empower your child with the knowledge of financial literacy. https://www.growingwgrace.com/math-and-money
Angela Hanks, D. S. (n.d.). Systematic Inequality. Retrieved from https://www.americanprogress.org/issues/race/reports/2018/02/21/447051/systematic-inequality/
Kenton, W. (2020, April 19). Financial Literacy. Retrieved from https://www.investopedia.com/terms/f/financial-literacy.asp#:~:text=Financial literacy is the ability to understand and properly apply,characteristics of being financially literate.
Kobliner, B. (n.d.). Money as You Grow: 20 Things Kids Need to Know to Live Financially Smart Lives [Photograph found in Consumer Finance Protection Bureau]. Retrieved from www.moneyasyougrow.org
Scott-Clayton, J., & Li, J. (2017, March 29). Black-white disparity in student loan debt more than triples after graduation. Retrieved from https://www.brookings.edu/research/black-white-disparity-in-student-loan-debt-more-than-triples-after-graduation/