February is Black History Month. And while it is appropriate to celebrate Black accomplishments and achievements in sports, politics, arts, entertainment, and academia, the constant deafening silence of “ The Gap” seems to be impenetrable, a growing divide for African Americans or people of color and conspicuous by its absence during the month’s celebratory experiences. While you may not be a million-aire but a thousand-aire or hundred-aire, financial literacy has been identified as one of the top three malignant cancers impacting disparities in finance for Black and African Americans. Discriminatory, economic systemic, and structural financial racism is the foundation for the wealth gap between Whites and Blacks in America. But that is followed by financial literacy and learning how to make informed and effective financial decisions. For me, there simply cannot be a more compelling financial argument than this. Even if the structural economic discriminatory regime were eradicated, the absence of educational, teaching and informational knowledge needed to make effective financial decisions would still lead to adverse consequences. The question is, are you contributing to the wealth gap, and how do you plan to close it? Let’s talk Money Monday fundamentals on the Zoom conversation on February 28, 2022, at 7:00 p.m. Sign up at: https://bit.ly/ThatThingCalledMoney_013122
Wealth Gap Knowledge
A TIAA Institute (Teachers Insurance and Annuity Association of America) survey report on the personal finance index from September 2020 revealed that African Americans demonstrated a low level of financial literacy. The survey tested eight primary personal financial knowledge and understanding in functional life areas. These areas were:
- Earnings (Determinants of wages and take-home pay)
- Consuming (Budgeting and managing spending)
- Savings (Maximizing accumulations)
- Investing (Types of investments, risk and return)
- Borrowing and Managing Debt (Relationship between loan features and repayments)
- Insurance (Type of insurance and how it works)
- Understanding Risk and Uncertainty (Understanding financial outcomes)
- Information Sources (Recognizing appropriate financial sources and advice)
The problem is that slightly over one-third (33%) of African Americans answered the questions correctly compared to fifty-five percent (55%) of Whites. But the real tragedy is that the area in which African Americans demonstrated the most education, knowledge, financial literacy, and familiarity is – you guessed it! – “Debt”! Note, the knowledge, education, and understanding were not obtained before getting into debt but after living on or acquiring debt. The financial area in which African Americans are least literate is insurance.
Closing the Gap
Closing the gap begins with an internal evaluation, action, and leaning forward. Let me ask you when the last time you read a book, article, or something on financial management or becoming a better steward was? When was the last time you listened to a podcast, watched a movie, biography, or something on television concerning finances? Do you subscribe to any magazine or digital media about finances? While financial literacy is not always a fun topic when you examine your finances. At times, it may be depressing; there must be at least one area or sector you find interesting in the eight areas identified through the survey. Choose that sector and begin there. In your evaluation, think back to when you were first growing up at home as a child. What lessons did you learn or not learn from your parents? Are you operating any differently from them within your own family?
Closing the gap is a generational undertaking. What family practices can you begin during February to make a difference in changing the gap? Will you sit with your family for at least one day during Black History Month to discuss finances? I don’t mean some lecture or boring interaction when I say discuss. You can simply share some good or bad moment, event, decision, or story that happened to you.
A simple example could be that you’ve decided for Black History Month, or from today through the remainder of the month, you will seek out and support just one Black-owned small business. I plan to read at least five books on improving my finances and being a better steward in 2022. I’m well on my way since I completed my first book in January and am now into my second as I write this Money Monday article. As the politicians like to ask, are you better off now than you were one year ago? What actions will you take during Black History Month to close the wealth gap?
Today’s what’s up is about taxes. If you are self-employed, had a side hustle, or ran a business in 2021 and paid someone six hundred dollars or more, you should send them IRS Form 1099 NEC. The IRS, through new legislation, changed the form from 1099 MISC to 1099 NEC. The NEC stands for nonemployee compensation. While you should have sent it out on February 1st, 2022, since it’s a new form, you may get some grace, but you need to send it out to your contractors quickly. The other essential reason you want to send it out is that if you’re going to claim the expense deduction, you will need to have sent Form 1099 NEC along with Form 1096 to the IRS for registration. Being an entrepreneur has its responsibilities, and this is one of them. Go ahead and take care of business! And that’s what’s up! Let’s talk Money Monday fundamentals on the Zoom conversation on February 28, 2022, at 7:00 p.m. Sign up at: https://bit.ly/ThatThingCalledMoney_013122
Ruthven R. Phillip, Esq., is a tax attorney, Stewardship and Philanthropy Ministry Assistant, and CEO of Give2Getrich, LLC. Give2Get Rich, LLC 2022. All Rights Reserved. Any distribution or reproduction of part or all of the contents in any form is prohibited.