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Funding Your Future

Exploring Financial Stability Through a Racial and Gender Lens

Rebecca Wiggins

Executive Director, AFCPE

The pandemic and economic fallout has widened the already stark gender pay gap, and especially for women of color.

National statistics find that single women own just 40 cents to the dollar compared to their male counterparts. Even more startling, single Latina women own only 8 cents to the dollar and single black women just 2 cents to the dollar. While a steady wage is important, a person’s wealth is critical to weathering a storm like the global pandemic we are currently facing.

Over the past few months, millions of Americans have taken a pay cut, been laid off, or find themselves increasingly worried about the future. But these worries didn’t begin with the onset of the pandemic. In 2019, a Federal Reserve study found that 40 percent of Americans could not find $400 to cover an emergency expense.

Some of the industries experiencing the biggest losses include restaurants and hospitality, healthcare, childcare, leisure, and retail — industries over-represented by women.

Did you know?

  • 60% of caregivers are women.
  • 20% of the American population are women of color, yet this same demographic comprises 40% of the roughly 1.5 million childcare workers in the US.
  • 52% of all essential workers nationally are women.
  • 55% of job losses in April were held by women.

Women, and especially women of color, are more likely to work for organizations that don’t offer paid leave, are less likely to have benefited from small business loans, and are more likely to be unbanked. We are in the infancy of this current economic crisis but it is unveiling outgrowths of racial and gender inequality that have been compounding for years. While there is much change that needs to happen at a policy level, help is available now if you know who to trust and where to look.

If you need financial support

You don’t need to be wealthy to speak with someone who is unbiased and qualified, and most importantly, you don’t have to navigate this alone. Remember, a one-size-fits all approach is not the best approach. Look for a qualified financial planner, counselor, or coach who can meet you where you are, look at your unique situation, and use empathy and expertise to help you navigate financial challenges and opportunities.

Groups such as the Financial Planning Association (FPA), the XY Planning Network (XYPN), and the Association for Financial Counseling & Planning Education® (AFCPE®) are offering free financial counseling, coaching, and planning from credentialed professionals to help people navigate financial uncertainty and create opportunities for long-term success.

If you are financially stable

Be an advocate. When it comes to financial security, we need to address systems and policy, as well as our individual behaviors and biases. Each of us can start by shifting our perspective to understand someone else’s situation or experiences. It is through education and empathy that we can expand our comfort zone and create equitable, inclusive solutions. Give your time. Donate resources. But, perhaps, most importantly, raise your voice for those who may not have that ability.

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