I recently read an interesting article about the racial wealth gap, called “Making it in the US: More Than Just Hard Work” by Pam Fessler. In the article, the author argues that wealth is passed down through the generations instead of individuals building it. An example given in the article describes two women who make similar incomes but one is wealthier because her family background. How? Perhaps the woman’s parents were in the position to pay for her college (so she has no college debt) or to help her with a down payment on a home. Maybe she lived in a neighborhood with better schools or she inherited money from her grandmother and invested it. It seems that the author’s main point is that people do not start out with the same financial resources available to them and where they end up (financially) as adults is both a reflection of their hard work as well as the family background and societal situation they grew up in.
I was moved by this article. I feel that I have seen similar situations in my own life and at work. Now that I am working at Financial Beginnings, I think it would have also been interesting if the author had examined the connection between people’s income and the knowledge of how to successfully manage their money. Perhaps it is not only wealth that passes through the generations but also the knowledge of how to manage it?