Just as you should participate in annual physical check-ups, this year, Chase is reminding you to check on your financial health.
“Communities of color in general are impacted more when there’s economic uncertainty,” Diedra Porché, managing director, Chase’s National Head of Community and Business Development, told theGrio. “They like to say that when society gets a cold, underrepresented communities of color get pneumonia.”
Since the onset of the pandemic, society has experienced growing economic uncertainty. From concerns of a recession to inflation on food, housing and more, a recent Chase study found that despite the growing stress, Americans have not significantly changed their saving and spending habits. While these standing habits are not an issue for some, for a percentage of the population who may not have access to banking services and knowledge needed to protect themselves, these habits can be detrimental to their financial legacies.
So, whether you’re hoping to have a budget-friendly holiday or trying to uphold New Year’s resolutions, Porché outlined three steps individuals and families can take to start building a healthy financial legacy:
1. Talk about the taboo
For most people, talking openly about money can be seen as taboo. While it may not be the best thing to bring up during random small talk, Porché explains that it is a conversation families should get used to having at the dinner table.
“A lot of folks in our demographic didn’t grow up with a bunch of money advice — financial understanding if you will — from their parents and grandparents. There just wasn’t a lot of open discussion around wealth building and around financial education,” she said.
According to Porché, despite the Black community’s strides in acquiring wealth and increased access to information, the lack of open communication about the topic amongst loved ones is one of many things holding us back from reaching new financial heights. She suggests starting with reflections on financial decisions people feel good about or things they wish they had done differently.
“It all starts with being willing and able to sit down and have a conversation with those that you care about. And honestly, it can be a little uncomfortable at first because it’s not what we’re accustomed to. ‘You don’t talk about money around the dinner table; you keep things private, that’s not your business,’ you know, that kind of thing,” she added. “We’ve got to break through that. So that, you know, we can have these conversations, and we can pass on key learnings.”
2. Do a personal audit of your finances
Once you’ve opened the doors for conversation, the next step is to take stock of your personal finances. How much money comes into your account every month? How much money is going out? What’s left after all your monthly expenses? Porché shared that doing an assessment of these items not only helps individuals budget but also helps tackle the growing burden of credit card debt that strongly impacts communities of color.
“It’s really important, to have a good idea of where you stand and to get that in check. Literally [sitting] down and reviewing your budget, reviewing your credit — and by the way, I’m not talking about something fancy,” she advised. “It’s taking time to take stock, understanding where you are, so that you can create a plan to start bringing that credit card debt down.”
3. Stay ready so you don’t have to get ready
“Despite the gains that Black families have made, their wealth is on average about 14% that of white families,” Porché shared.
The financial expert stressed the importance of building an emergency fund. Most households do not have money set aside to be used in the case of emergencies. Regardless of whether or not you have health insurance, individuals should consider having reserves to cover any unexpected health issues, job losses or emergency repairs. Having seen the consequences of not having an emergency fund to fall back on, Porché explains it’s better to start small than to not start at all. In the beginning, people should be looking to save three to six months’ worth of their expenses.
Understanding that Black and brown families have traditionally been left out of the loop of access to financial education, Chase is using a community-focused approach to bridge the gap.
“At Chase, it starts with us being hyper-local and connected, like being situated within the communities that we seek to serve,” Porché explained. “Building trust within those communities by being right at the center and partnering with them to ensure that we’ve got a good understanding of what the needs are.”
From free Wi-Fi to offering space for small business pop-up shops, Chase’s community center branches are designed to not only engage but empower communities that have traditionally lacked access to banking services. Equipped with community managers who can relate to customers’ experiences, these branches deliver financial assistance through workshops for budgeting, investing, entrepreneurship, homeownership, and overall wealth planning.
In addition to offering financial health workshops, Chase is also supplying consumers with the necessary tools to reach their financial goals. Through its low-cost checking accounts such as Chase Secure Banking, which require no minimum deposit to open, and a free Chase Credit Journey® platform that allows users to regularly check their credit score without risks, Chase hopes “to dispel [existing] myths and get the word out on some simple ways that folks can enter the banking system and start working towards improving their financial health.”
To learn more about the resources and tools Chase offers to help kickstart your financial health journey, head to Chase.com/FinancialGoals.
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