Earlier this year the Insight Center for Community Economic Development published a study which found that the median wealth of single black women is $100 compared to that of single white women at $41,000. Don’t be fooled by thinking the disparity is caused by just a difference in income. Income and wealth are not the same! Income is what we bring in annually, while wealth is basically established by what we decide to do with the resources we bring in.
Here are 5 behaviors Black women tend to participate in more frequently than other female counterparts which perpetuate this staggering economic gap:
1. We treat boyfriends like husbands. We won’t get on how many different ways this behavior is detrimental, but speaking financially, co-signing on loans and entering long-term agreements with someone who has not even attempted to commit to you on a long term basis is ridiculous. More times than not, Black women are left with the debt of a brother who has moved on and is driving his new girlfriend around in the car you still have to pay the note on.
2. We don’t know how to say, “NO!” We tend to be givers by nature, but unfortunately we give until the point of self-deprivation. First to the church, then to bills and then to relatives and friends who have no means of paying us back. We believe that we are “helping” everyone around us from trifling siblings to grown children, but really we are enabling the people we love the most, not to mention damaging our own financial futures. Remember, the worst thing you can do for a broke person is become one of them!
3. We make our hair and nails a top priority. As Black women, being fly is definitely a priority, but can this be done on some type of budget? Are the nails with all the intricate designs that add an additional $10 to every pedicure really that important? Imagine what could happen if we rocked hairstyles and manicures that were less flashy and something we could maintain on our own in between appointments.