If you can’t see it, will you believe in it?
The “it” takes different forms, depending on the context. If the focus is black wealth, the “it” represents the stock market. And in this context, investing time, energy and even money into something unseen can translate into a very risky proposition.
If wealth is a household objective in black communities, the stock market should absolutely be considered.
Low African-American participation in the stock market contributes to the widening wealth gap between black and white households, according to a 2014 study by Credit Suisse and Brandeis University’s Institute on Assets and Social Policy.
There are signs, however, that change is coming. To that point, according to a 2017 market research report, about 67 percent of African-Americans with incomes of at least $50,000 have money invested in stocks or stock mutual funds. That compares with 60 percent in 2010 and 57 percent in 1998.
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Proven, tangible options — such as real estate, certificate of deposits and insurance policy contracts — have made the case for expanding one’s portfolio to include the stock market a tough sell for African-Americans.
Let’s be honest, when the stock market’s highs and lows show up in real numbers on investment statements, handling the ping-pong effect between euphoria and misery challenges even the best of us. The stock market as a long-term play requires trust, engagement and belief that “it” was created with us in mind.
The stock market features a concept that resonates with many African Americans: business ownership. In fact, entrepreneurship holds great importance for historically disenfranchised communities seeking greater access to goods, services and sustainable income. Business investment as a stockholder expands opportunities to join other stakeholders in the quest for profitability and returns, as well as to share the risks.