Root of the Problem (pt. 1)

This is a topic of discussion that resonates with me personally, involving why some leave money for the next generation, why some don’t, and some possible reasons for this. Over the next few posts, we will be trying tackle the source of the major problems within the black community.

When you’re talking about the baby boomer generation in general, only about half of them feel that leaving an inheritance is an “important use of wealth”. Leaving an inheritance is not just about the money; it’s a symbolic gesture that marks the beginning of a legacy. Our generation is currently reaping the benefits but in general, minorities aren’t included. Unfortunately, “race is important in explaining whether or not a household has received an inheritance and the size of the inheritance.” I think the issue stems from the African American community spending too much of their lives thinking about themselves with regards to their money. The sheer thought of leaving cash to people they’ve never met and may not ever meet is a foreign idea. But like I said, its more than just money, it’s a legacy, an appreciation for enduring the hundreds of years our nation tends to look over; but that’s a separate issue. White households are at least twice as likely to receive an inheritance than black households. Receiving a sizable inheritance automatically places you in a social class that will most likely continue throughout your life and permeate into every nook of your lifestyle. An inheritance sets you up for success and essentially places you several years ahead of your peers whose parents or grandparents didn’t think it was an important use of wealth.

But why don’t we have a decent grasp on the concept of money and what it can do? Most would say that it boils down to education, so either we don’t value education as much or we aren’t given a fair chance in the public education system. Whatever the reason, one thing has become clear in the last few years, the public school system is failing our students, and from a recent study, “schools serving mostly African-American students are twice as likely to have teachers with less experience — just one or two years in the profession — compared with schools in the same district that primarily serve white students.” This plants a seed that eventually leads to a lower amount of black students obtaining a college degree, only about 18 percent over the age of 25 with four-year degrees.

Just think, if your life is a constant struggle to make ends meet, at a certain point it will become apparent to your children that you and money don’t have the best relationship.  Your children will unknowingly and unintentionally copy this behavior, meaning that, in a way, you efforts in helping the next generation get ahead are counterproductive. Forward progression is the key; if we don’t strive to be better than our parents to carve a path for our future children to take the reigns, what’s the point?


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