As more states move to mandate financial literacy as a prerequisite for high school graduation, financial experts worry the courses lack the historical context needed to prepare Black youth for wealth building in America.
For years, Black people have sounded the alarm for more holistic financial education to address the racial wealth gap. Black people represent 13% of the population in the U.S., but have the second-highest poverty rate. A typical white family’s wealth is eight times that of a typical Black family. The median net worth of Black families is nearly $24,000, compared with $188,000 for white families.
As a result of discriminatory policies and inequitable access to affordable financial services, education, and wealth-building opportunities, Black children tend to start with a wealth disadvantage that persists into adulthood, whereas white children of wealthy families remain wealthy, according to the Center for Public Information on Population Research.
“[Black people] have never had the chance to reset and deal with generational trauma, so that shows up in the way that we interact with the world and with money,” said Rahkim Sabree, a certified financial education instructor and consultant. “There’s this real connection between what Black people experienced from slavery to Jim Crow and today.”
To supplement the limited financial education students receive in school, here’s a list of books, podcasts, and resources to teach families about managing money and wealth-building.
Junior Wallstreeters Essentials: Junior Wallstreeters, a financial literacy organization for youth, teaches money management through color-coded envelope systems and 10-lesson curriculum plans for ages 10 and up.
Earn Your Leisure and Kids Earn Your Leisure: The popular podcast hosted by Rashad Bilal and Troy Millings teaches the Black community about money, entrepreneurship, and fiscal responsibility, and amplifies the stories of Black entrepreneurs.
Caden Teaches: Caden Harris, an 11-year-old from Stone Mountain, Georgia, created his own business and bus tour to teach Black youth about real estate, banking, budgeting, and saving. His resources include activity books, self-paced courses and guides for children, parents, and educators.
Your Kids, Their Money: In this book, Clifton Corbin, a registered financial consultant, teaches parents how to educate their children on the basics of money management such as credit, investing, and borrowing, and explain where money comes from. The book also gives parents the tools to have difficult conversations about money, including why they can’t afford some things.
Financial Literacy Boot Camp for Teens and Young Adults: Six Steps to Living a Life of Financial Freedom: Michael D. Thomas, a licensed financial adviser, created this book to teach students how to earn money, create a budget, build good credit, save, and invest. Thomas’ goal is to help youth have a healthy relationship with money.
Do I Look Like an ATM? A Parent’s Guide to Raising Financially Responsible African American Children: Sabrina Lamb, founder and CEO of World of Money, educates parents on how to examine their financial habits and talk to their children about wealth and money management. The book, which was nominated for Outstanding Literary Work for the 45th NAACP Image Awards, includes exercises and tips for adolescents to become fiscally responsible.
Teach Your Child About Money Through Play: In this workbook, social worker Andrea Stephenson and Linsey Mills, a business and financial consultant, compiled more than 100 games, activities, and resources to teach youth how to understand and interact with money. The topics range from real estate investing to money recognition.
Money Plan: Monica Eaton, a certified financial education instructor, teaches children how to manage their money through the story of Mia, a young girl who wants her favorite treat while grocery shopping with her mom.
Fearless Finances: A Timeless Guide to Building Wealth: Cassandra Cummings, a financial and investment adviser, addresses the inequities Black women face when building wealth. In her book, she teaches lessons on how to invest in the stock market, overcoming fear around money, and understanding banks, credit, and homeownership.