I debate and write on social media pretty regularly. Unfortunately, sometimes this leaves less room for blog posts, so I just decided to combine the two more often.
What follows is a comment I gave in response to a friend of mine posting a PDF on my Facebook timeline.
To understand the full context of my comment, I would encourage you to read the PDF first:
I actually agree with the premise of this PDF. But I disagree with the proposed solution entirely.
I agree that your level of education, your employment and your income does not directly correlate to your wealth. In fact, one could say that is the whole premise of my podcast and community. The formula: high school diploma + college degree + good job + good salary = wealth, is not accurate.
The essentials to building (lasting) wealth aren’t taught in formal schooling whatsoever. Budgeting, saving, compound interest, assets, liabilities, appreciation, depreciation, tax sheltering, mechanisms and systems for wealth growth etc are almost completely absent in formal education.
This doesn’t spell the end. This is why I exist.
Yes, this knowledge can be passed within certain families from generation to generation, but it can be found more abundantly in countless books and other resources should one put a little effort into finding and digesting them. Your network of relationships besides your family is extremely important too. In fact, I think you can make the argument that your family is the least likely and more rare of places to learn and practice what it takes to build lasting wealth.
This article points out a lot of statistics in a broad brushstroke, and seems to make little effort to look at the detailed root causes of those statistics. It reminds me of the male/female wage gap statistics that don’t take into account the day to day career and education decision differences between males and females, which are actually the root cause of the gap.
But I actually think they got one thing right – family, and the culture family can create is the best mechanism for building and protecting wealth.
What is staggeringly confusing to me is that the authors of this article attribute the wealth gap between the races to family factors, and in the same breath they propose a solution that puts the government in place of family.
The conclusion to this PDF is incredibly concerning. Federally managed money accounts paid for with more tax dollars (80 billion worth!). As far as those bonds being used by young people to invest in assets such as businesses, houses, etc…the intention is pure, but there’s no guarantee that those assets would be managed or bought in such a way that they actually appreciate and are also held onto, to continue to pass to future generations. There is no mention of education or preparedness when it comes to this proposed asset investment bond. The fact that you would just be given this money without earning it is troubling as well, as that has been proven time and time again to not create lasting wealth mindsets and actions in the persons which it is given too.
^^^To be clear on this, I don’t think white OR black families should just pass (give) wealth on to the next generation either. Even if there is excess wealth to be passed on, the recipient should always earn the wealth that is given and be properly instructed and advised beforehand as well. To do otherwise almost guarantees the wealth won’t last beyond the person it is given to.
I understand the point about wealth transfer through families and that whites have had more time to transfer wealth than black families…therefore, whites have access to more opportunity today than blacks. The first point I would make is that (in America) there is still tremendous movement up and down the wealth ladder. I.e. people move in and out of the 1% and various other social classes all the time. This is thanks to America’s guarantee of equality of opportunity. The second point I would make is that it is not enough to simply give someone opportunity, but rather, preparedness + opportunity is the winning combination for building wealth. This is why the solution in this PDF wouldn’t work long term. You can give someone $20,000 and the opportunity to invest it in appreciating assets, but without proper knowledge applied, your chances of success are slim.
The root solution actually lies in the root problem – your family and the culture you grow up with. We need to stop looking at race and start looking at families and culture.
This is why my podcast and community targets young people of all backgrounds (ages 16-25). This is a crucial age. The decisions you make here compound across the rest of your life…and all exceptionally good, and bad things come from compounding interest (not meaning just financial here).
In short, the conclusion of this PDF is the exact opposite of how the problem should be handled. You should not teach people to rely on the government or others for assistance as this fosters a mentality and culture that cannot build upon itself and thrive independent of outside forces. Instead, you should teach people to rely on and INVEST in themselves and their families, no matter where they start from or what environment they started in.
You should google a guy named Steve Hightower.
I do it on a daily basis (I just can’t tell the race of every one of my listeners), but give me a black high school student in the worst neighborhood with one parent, a low IQ, and no money, and I can help them change their life trajectory entirely and as well as the trajectory of generations they produce. All that is required from them it a dissatisfaction with their current situation, even an inkling of a belief that they can be/do more, and a desire to learn and take consistent action.
Giving this same high school student an article like this is cruel, as it only serves to squash what positive belief-in-self they may have…convincing them that they are innately disadvantaged and must rely on government institutions for their future value and for opportunity.