Monday: Financial Literacy Apps Are A B.S. Solution To Ending Poverty In Black Communities

Two celebrities have gone viral recently for investing in a “financial literacy app” designed to help “end poverty in the black community”. The celebrities in question do not in fact live in black communities and their estimated net worths are $60 million and $300 million respectively. For anyone who doesn’t know, these numbers sit firmly in the “accountants manage my money and I could throw $100,000 into the bin annually for the rest of my life and it wouldn’t matter” territory.

The median net worth of Black Americans is $9,590 which is vastly different from a net worth in the millions. I strongly doubt this is because Black Americans are mismanaging $59,990,410 throughout their lifetimes. In fact, if you take the median income of $38,000 annually and extrapolate, you’ll find out that Black Americans median lifetime earnings will be $1,300,000.

I have my doubts that learning how to have a savings account will cause an additional fifty-eight million dollars to materialize out of thin air. If that’s the case, then I’ve been doing savings all wrong, clearly. Actually, screw it. Let’s do the math. If the median household invested every single dollar they earned and their earnings compounded annually at an interest rate of 6% due to investment in the stock market, their lifetime earnings would still only be about $4.5million — again, nowhere near $60 million dollars.

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I’m sharing this to demonstrate just how easy it is for people with large amounts of money to remain totally out of touch with the lives of the average people in the Black community they claim to want to help. I wasn’t raised sucking on the teat of media propagandized celebrity worship, so I don’t feel any particular need to be “grateful” that these celebrities are “trying to do something to help” either.

Financial literacy is clearly not going to bring in massive amounts of wealth considering you could have zero expenses and never attain celebrity levels of wealth. I’m the last person who will argue that financial literacy is “useless”, but it’s not a solution to socioeconomic problems facing black communities. The solution also posits the problem as one of individual choice rather than structural issues that disenfranchise black people and black communities in general.

Government policy has gone out of its way to stymy black wealth building specifically as discussed in The Color of Law : A Forgotten History Of How Our Government Segregated America by Richard Rothstein, a book which discusses how black people were blocked from acquiring land and property by de jure practices of the US federal government. De facto practices also prevented Black Americans from acquiring wealth and one of the most prominent examples of this was when a white mob destroyed an area known as “Black Wall Street” in Tulsa, Oklahoma during the 1920s. These examples point to a different locus of responsibility than a financial literacy app aimed at the black community would suggest.

I’ve seen an alternative theory which suggests that “all Black poor people are financially literate anyway”. This is another black and white way of looking at the problem that frankly isn’t true either. The fact that any Black people are financially illiterate is still not the cause of their poverty regardless. We don’t need to pretend to have advanced financial literacy to critique this “solution”.

It’s quite rich that people who by and large have teams of people to manage their money believe that they understand how to live within a budget of $38,000 a year — before taxes! Their solutions are quite obviously out of touch. Giving away 80% of their wealth would probably do more for “the community” than creating an app, but that’s another discussion for another day. Quite simply put, instead of coming up with detached top-down solutions, our attention would be better served by focusing on grassroots activists who spend all day interacting with people living below the poverty line or middle class people. These people know what they need and individuals who won the socioeconomic lottery are not somehow intellectually superior to them.

Believe me, if you know many rich people, you will quickly understand that having a team of people to manage your money isn’t a sign of greater intellect or financial literacy. Rich people are simply less impacted by terrible money management because they have more money at their disposal to insulate them from the consequences of their stupidity. Not all rich people are good with money, not all poor people are bad with money, and that’s the bottom line here. Instead of looking for individuals to blame, we need to tackle the systemic issues that have left the black community with a dwindling net worth and low wages. Is there any way we can get an app for that?

Monday: Oops!

I didn’t write a post yesterday and spent most of the day in a negative state of mind. I don’t feel bad about this, I simply recognize that I needed the time to myself, and I have been feeling the pinch of a lot on my plate. I will be traveling soon and I can feel overwhelmed about that, even if I’m accustomed to traveling a few times a year. When my anxiety gets the better of me, I need to learn to RELAX!

Today, I’m excited about the work I’m getting done. Despite the intense heat we’ve been facing here in the Caribbean, I’ve been happy to set about writing all day long. Recently, I’ve been working on a passion project and have made some decisions to change a huge part of the story planning. The whole thought of getting rid of hours of work pains me, but I know what I will replace it with will be so much better.

When working on creative projects, it’s hard to detach, but the longer I spend as a professional writer, the more I’ve come to realize that I need to detach. When I have a bad idea, I need to let it go. When something doesn’t turn out the way I want, it’s okay to adjust and make changes. Creative people can get wrapped up in so many myths about creativity, and we feel like there is one “correct” way to do things. We also behave like there is a “punishment” for getting things wrong. Even seeing a specific result as a punishment can be a problem in itself.

Well, I’m probably rambling on here, so I’ll make a tiny list of some takeaways from the past couple of days when I missed my daily posting and this morning as I muscle through some work.

  • There is no one correct way to be a creator.

  • Nothing that happens as a result of our creative process is a “punishment”

  • No good can come of fear in the creative process.

  • Sometimes we need time to ourselves, and that’s okay!

I hope today I can feel a bit better, but for now, I’m going to be sipping water and staying cool while I write my daily fiction requirement and try y best to enjoy my day.

Monday: 7 Assertiveness Tips For Women

Many women struggle with assertiveness. In the patriarchal society that we live in, women smother their needs in favor of more passive and less effective forms of communication. When “niceness” is a greater priority than confidence, honesty and directness, it’s no wonder women struggle with standing up for themselves when the time comes.

We all do this in some way or another and assertiveness exists on a spectrum. You might feel assertive with your family but not your friends, with your friends but not your partner. These tips can help you bring a little bit more directness to your interpersonal relationships…

1) Face problems right away

The longer you wait before approaching someone with an issue, the more time you have to get in your own head, lose track of the details and build up a lot of excuses for not taking the direct and assertive approach. Deal with issues in the moment they happen to you. If someone says something inappropriate, you may be tempted to stew before approaching them. The assertive approach involves dealing with the problem right away before there’s any bad blood.

2) Get your facts straight

One of the best ways to improve your assertiveness skills is to feel confident in what you are saying. Stick to the facts of a situation rather than character attacks. Of course, your feelings are important too but when you know exactly what you want, sticking to the facts of the situation makes speaking up for yourself easier. When no one can cast doubt about a series of events or your feelings about those events, you can better assert your needs in a situation.

3) Know what you want

This is an addendum to the second point. You have to know what you want not just as it pertains to a situation but in general. You decide what kind of treatment you will accept. When you know what you want, you can ask for it in a clear and direct manner.

4) Practice assertiveness

As with any skill, you can improve your assertiveness through practice. Start small. Do you struggle to send drinks back when someone makes you the wrong order? Start there. Find the easiest place to make improvements in your assertiveness and start there.

5) Identify your weaker spots

Once you start practicing assertiveness you will realize where you are incredible at sticking up for yourself and where you need a ton of help. Start noting moments where you have been successfully assertive and areas where you wish you stood up for yourself. What pattern do you see? Find your weaker spots and give those areas extra attention.

6) Eliminate black and white thinking

There is no one who is 100% assertive or 100% a doormat. This isn’t a zero sum game! Stop thinking of yourself as either one or the other. Assertiveness is an ongoing process and it takes time. If you fear “backsliding” or making mistakes this can slow down your progress. Assertiveness takes time and it takes practice. You don’t have to be perfect to consider yourself a strong, assertive woman, even if you’ve made mistakes in the past.

7) Surround yourself with assertive women

Are you surrounded by people who guilt trip you into being “nice” as opposed to supporting your growth as a person? Many of us have friends who encourage us to “take the high road” and enforce the notion that a woman standing up for herself is akin to a cardinal sin. Sometimes, you have to switch up your friend group. No, I’m not saying dump all your old friends. Simply add a few more positive relationships to the mix by interacting with women who support your journey to become more assertive and to express your needs. You shouldn’t be afraid of judgment from your closest friends, so if you need to, surround yourself with women who understand how important assertiveness is for all women to become truly empowered.

When was the last time you wished you were more assertive but it didn’t work out? Can you remember any thoughts that went through your head? Comment down below if you can. Every comment matters because it’s an opportunity to spark conversation and discussion.

If you liked this list, don’t forget to use my image below to 📌 pin this to your favorite board for motivation, inspiration and STRONG women. 💪🏼

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