Black History Month is the perfect time for us to focus our collective attention on building personal wealth and practicing cooperative economics. To continue in the tradition of Black abundance and excellence, here are some of the Blackest things to do with your money this month:
Focus on securing the whole bag. The 2020 wage gap for Black women compared to non-Hispanic White men is vast. Black women will have to grind until August 13th, 2020 to make as much money as her White male counterparts by the end of 2019. One of the simplest ways to close the gap is to open our mouths. Prepare for your next performance review by regularly documenting how you’ve positively contributed to your company’s bottom line, developed talent, or streamlined systems. Be proactive, optimistic and strategic when discussing your progress with your supervisor. Be clear about your worth, and confident with your magic.
Monetize your clutter. Your closets, drawers, storage units, garages, and car trunk all contain items that you have been able to (happily) live without. Rather than have them take up space, dedicate two weeks during Black History Month to sort through them. Keep an eye out for gently worn apparel, jewelry, furniture, books, art, kitchenware, and electronics that could be sold quickly or placed on consignment. Set a goal to earmark all of the proceeds to pay off a credit card, build an emergency fund, or start investing.
#BankBlack. As a group, we have historically been either underserved or exploited by larger banks and financial institutions. Black-owned banks and Black-owned credit unions play a key role in leveling the playing field so Black Americans can save their money and borrow for business loans and mortgages without fear of race-based discrimination. They saw their comeback in 2016 when the #BankBlack movement went viral with the help of Killer Mike. Consider opening an account with a Black-owned bank this month to circulate the Black dollar within the community.
Launch your side-hustle. Take the leap this month to press start on your business, especially if you’ve been procrastinating or allowing doubt to keep you from pulling the trigger. The truth is that you’re doing a disservice to yourself and your ideal customers—whose problems you could potentially solve and lives you could transform if you just got out of your own way. Let the numerous examples of Black excellence remind you that success and wealth are part of your heritage.
Fund a Black woman. You’ve probably heard the sad narrative with the accompanying scary statistics around Black female start-up founders and funding: Although Black women are taking the leap into entrepreneurship, Black female start-ups receive less than 1 percent of all venture capital funding. One way to get more Black female-led start-ups funded is to have more Black women seated at that the helm of the investors’ table. If you’d like to explore the world of venture capitalism, start educating yourself about this type of investing from the perspective of other Black women. By definition, a venture capitalist is a person or firm that invests in small companies typically using money pooled from investment companies, large corporations, and pension funds. Although venture capitalism is considered the riskiest form of investment, it’s not uncommon to see 25-35 percent returns on investments (ROIs) when successful.
If venture capitalism is too rich for your blood, consider grooming yourself to be an angel investor. An angel investor uses their own money to invest in small businesses. In most cases, they need to have a minimum net worth of $1 million and an annual income of at least $200,000 to be considered an accredited investor. Many angel investors are small business owners’ family and friends.
Black abundance is our birthright. Black wealth is our birthright. Black joy is our birthright. Let’s ensure our money moves and goals align with the soul and spirit of the Blackest month of the year.