Imagine not being able to take off a sick day, a mental health day to care for loved ones, or even a day to repair a major appliance WITHOUT GOING INTO DEBT! A new study released this week by a leading economic research group highlighted some startling statistics. Single black women between the ages of 39 and 46 had a median wealth net worth of only $5.00. Yes you heard me right, only $5.00!! Five dollars, Just enough to buy a $5 footlong. #SMH. At the same time single white women of the same age had a net worth of $42,600 (which is still only 61 percent of their single white male counterparts).
Poverty at any age is a problem, but imagine being in poverty in the prime of your life. How does that bode for one’s future? Put simply, “If people are struggling to survive and have no wealth when they are most vibrant, healthy, and marketable, what’s going to happen to them when they age, have health problems, are laid off, have to take off to care for aging loved ones, or are discriminated against in the marketplace because of age? Consider that the average nursing home stay is over $83,000! What can you do?
Wealth, or net worth, measures the total of one’s assets — cash in the bank, stocks, bonds and real estate; minus debts — home mortgages, auto loans, credit cards and student loans. The most recent financial data was collected before the economic downturn, so the current numbers likely are worse now than at the time of the study. Source Financial Juneteeth
Did you read that carefully, “The current numbers are likely to be worse now than at the time of the study!” Worse than having a net worth of five dollars? The article challenges the myth that black women just spend more, explaining that the rising cost of living, lower wages, and being victims of subprime mortgages (paying up to 5x more) are major contributors. Add to high credit card debt which stems from using borrowed credit for present day survival and emergencies and you’ve got the crisis you see unfolding.
This was even shocking to Meizhu Lui, director of the Closing the Gap Initiative based in Oakland, Calif., who contributed to the report “Lifting as We Climb: Women of Color, Wealth and America’s Future, “Even for those of us who have been looking at the wealth gap for a while, we were shocked and amazed at how little women of color have.” Researchers at the Insight Center for Community Economic Development, based in Oakland, Calif., analyzed data from the 2007 Survey of Consumer Finances, and reported in Financial Juneteeth. Consider these sobering remarks of Democratic Whip, Steny Hoya, addressing the ‘2014 Color of Wealth Summit’ hosted by the Center for Global Policy Solutions and the Insight Center for Community Economic Development
“According to a study last February by the Institute on Assets and Social Policy, which tracked the same set of families over a twenty-five year period, the wealth gap between white and African-American households nearly tripled.”While the median wealth of white families nationally was $113,149 that year, it was only $5,677 for African-American families and $6,325 for Latino families.”White Americans own homes at a rate 28.4% higher than African-Americans. While white households lost 12% of their wealth during the recession, Latino households lost a staggering 67%.
More Resources: Women of Color Wealth Future — Hoyer Remarks at 2014 Color of Wealth Summit
I’m Barbara Talley, The Poet who speaks and inspires. 240-813-0522