So, in the month of January, affectionately renamed ‘I Kicked My Full-Time Gig & Am Now Retired’ month, we provided a number of retirement tips geared towards those who were newly retired, and applying for Social Security Retirement Benefits for the first time in 2019. This month, the month of February, one of my favorites, Black History month, we are focusing all our tips on all things related to identifying and keeping your 40 acres and a mule. So, February is officially ‘Keeping Your 40 Acres & Mule’ month! (Yes, we made that one up too.)
Early last year, I read a Forbes article titled ‘The Retirement Crisis Facing African Americans.’ This article was the best and worst thing that could have come across my Facebook timeline. It was the best, because it solidified many of my beliefs about the importance of proactive planning. On the flip side, it introduced me to some of the craziest and most alarming statistics about African American wealth. It broke my heart.
Sadly, the statistics show that in the last 30 years, African American wealth hasn’t really grown much. Worse yet, they predict that if African American wealth continues to grow at the same rate over the next 30 years, as it did in the last 30 years, it would take 228… Yes, 228 years for us to accumulate as much wealth as Caucasian families had in the year 2016.
This is really a big issue! As passionate as I feel, I fully acknowledge it is a multi-faceted issue. I’m not going to pretend like I have all the answers, or that any of the information I’m going to share with you over the next few weeks would solve this issue entirely. It’s simply too big of an issue. Fixing it depends on a number of factors. However, as an estate planning attorney, call me biased, I strongly believe that failure to plan or inadequate planning, contributes far more to this issue that most people realize.
Over the next few weeks, I will shed light on different factors that I believe contribute to the wealth gap between African Americans and other races in America. Like it, believe it, refute it, or accept it, but your failure to plan and protect your assets affects future generations. We can’t change the past, but If we commit to keeping the 40 acres & mule that we and our loved ones worked so hard to acquire, maybe, just maybe, we can change the future, so that our children won’t have to start building their wealth from scratch.