As a personal finance influencer, I know many fellow influencers who avoid talking about how race and politics affect finances.
But I think they’re wrong to avoid those topics because race and politics affect Americans’ access to wealth-building tools.
Without those tools, no amount of personal responsibility, penny pinching, or strategizing can close the racial wealth gap.
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I’ve lost track of the number of times I’ve heard the following phrase from personal finance influencers: “Personal finance is personal.” Meaning, there’s no place for race or politics in conversations about money.
They’re totally correct in stating that a person’s experiences, knowledge, and habits affect what they do with their money. But I disagree with the “no race or politics” school of thought and think there is a nuance to this conversation that everyone is missing.
Your personal financial habits are defined by your access
Ultimately, I think that many influencers who push back on the inclusion of race, politics, and policy in financial conversations may be focusing solely on what individuals are in control of as it relates to their money.
Things like your savings decisions, spending choices related to your daily life — are you a shopaholic or a penny pincher? — big-ticket purchases and money decisions, such as the car you purchase or the college you decide to attend, and small incidental purchases, such as the avocado toast or daily latte decisions that build up as an expense over time.
If our personal finances were only affected by our personal decisions and free will, then I would 100% agree that there is no place in personal finance to discuss race or politics. But, it’s my view that race and politics directly affect many Americans’ access to the tools that would allow them to build wealth and create generational financial change. Their access is blocked by bias related to gender and/or race.
Bias in lending and hiring directly affect the type of access that many people of color and women have to the following:
The ability to earn an income that will enable them to purchase a home
Be approved for a home mortgage
Access is the key to many of the personal finance conversations that influencers are having, but they might not be understanding the lived experiences of groups they’re not a part of or hearing what other people have to say.
Emma from Nurse Fern observed the following:
“Our favorite thing to say as personal finance bloggers is that the nuts and bolts are simple, it’s the execution that is difficult. Well, for a large part of the population, the nuts and bolts AND the execution is even more difficult because of race and politics. We should be talking about this and how to change why blanket advice won’t work for everyone and sharing ways to make it more equal.”
Why personal finance influencers should be talking about race
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Source:: Business Insider