During my career as a financial advisor, promoting financial knowledge in the Black community has always been a priority for me.
My servant leadership in this area has included:
I believe it’s important to show that there are advisors working in the community to help further financial literacy and wealth creation.
To be sure, people in the Black community have become more aware over the years that there are excellent advisors to work with – to help them achieve what they want to achieve in life, no matter what their goals are.
Despite the growing awareness, however, engagement remains a challenge. How do we get the community to actually connect with us? To see us as a resource and a partner in their financial success?
Given recent events and conversations about race in America, more clients are asking to work with advisors of color. However, there is still more work to do to encourage more potential clients of color to engage with advisors.
Let me share a personal story to help illustrate my point.
Many years ago, I learned that a longtime friend had finally decided to retire. I was excited for him and thought everything must be going well. Later on, I heard he had taken out all of the money from his retirement accounts at one time and didn’t realize he would get a tax bill for that withdrawal.
I remember thinking that was something I could have helped him with if he had just called me.
I feel a great sadness whenever someone – whether they’re friends or family – knows what I do as a financial advisor but won’t ask for help. Then later, when I hear about the missteps (something I could have helped them avoid), there’s not much I can do after the fact.
In a way, I can understand why some in the Black community may hesitate to ask for help. There’s a general reluctance to talk openly about financial issues; then there’s also perhaps a fear of admitting they don’t know much about how to successfully grow wealth.
And these challenges aren’t really unique to the Black community – it can be said of other minority communities as well. But working with an advisor is one way to overcome these fears!
There’s still a lot of misconceptions about what financial advisors do.
One person told me point-blank: “Trudy, I don’t like anybody telling me what to do, and I don’t want you to tell me what I can or can’t do with my own money.”
I explained my role in this way: I don’t want to tell you what you can or can’t do with your money. Rather, I want you to tell me what you want to do – your goals. Whether it’s to buy a home, save for your kid’s college or something else, I’ll put together a plan and help you figure out how to get there.
Financial advisors aren’t here to judge or make decisions for you. We’re here to help give you clarity, confidence, control and knowledge around your finances so that you can live the life you want.
I believe that if we can help more people understand that, they may feel more encouraged to talk to us and ask questions. I often remind people that when it comes to financial planning, there are no silly questions. With money, you miss one exception or rule, the whole transaction or plan can go awry.
This is why promoting financial knowledge and engaging with the Black community matters so much to me. As a financial advisor, I want to help as many people as I can achieve the financial success they deserve.
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United Capital Financial Advisers, LLC d/b/a Goldman Sachs Personal Financial Management (“GS PFM”) is a registered investment adviser and an affiliate of Goldman Sachs & Co. LLC and subsidiary of The Goldman Sachs Group, Inc., a worldwide, full-service investment banking, broker-dealer, asset management, and financial services organization.
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