African-American Financial Planners Denting the Wage Gap

Two percent of financial planners are African-American according to Time, a number that planners like Lazetta Rainey Braxton are working to change. Braxton, 42, is the president of the Association of African American Financial Advisors, also known as Quad-A, a group based out of the southeastern U.S. that seeks to expand African-American representation in the world of financial planning.

Her own interest in money came from her childhood in the rural south. Born into a debt-ridden family, Braxton believed that the issues her family faced were ones inherent to the system. By pursuing a career in finance, Braxton believed she could make an impact for her family and for others in the African-American community.

As the economy grew less and less stable over the past decade, many people faced issues with the security of their retirement plans. While the difference in income between the black and white communities in the U.S. is large and troubling, Time magazine speculated that a difference in investment habits might also contribute to the wage gap and the lack of retirement security in the African-American community.

Braxton, and other advocates like her, believe that the financial issues plaguing the black community in America could be significantly helped by the efforts of more African-American experts in finance. Ajamu Loving, the director of partnerships at American College, headed an initiative meant to collaborate with historically black colleges to provide more opportunities for aspiring financial planners. The goal is not only to clear a way for more black professionals, but to also encourage them to begin helping minority families to build healthy assets.

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62 percent of black working-age households have nothing saved for retirement compared to 37 percent of white households. Only 25 percent have more than $10,000 in savings. With a disparity as large as this, the work being done by Braxton, Loving, and others is absolutely crucial for the long term financial security of the African-American community.