The Path to Generational Wealth for Black/African Americans


When it comes to generational wealth, parents want to provide their children with opportunities that will lead them to a happy and healthy life. In the hopes of influencing our future, we are taught as children the importance of hard work and education. 

How do these values impact the way we live, how we spend our money and what our financial goals are?

Merrill examined how Black/African Americans’ financial goals, fears, and aspirations are shaped by common experiences to better understand this. Merrill conducted extensive research by conducting deep conversations, online discussions, and surveys with wealthy Black/African Americans. The report’s findings explored themes such as identity, work, and money, as well as dreams for the future.

generational wealth

These dreams are what motivate Doug, a professor and father is living the dream of his ancestors. His career path is far from his roots. It can be traced back both to Jim Crow-era inequity and slavery when learning to read was illegal for some Black/African Americans. Doug’s grandfather worked in a garment factory, his great-grandfather was a sharecropper, and his great-great-grandfather was enslaved.

This story might sound familiar. Many Black/African American families have histories that are filled with obstacles their ancestors had to overcome just to survive the next day. It’s important to remember that their sacrifices were stepping stones to the paths we travel today.

“This is our time. Standing on the shoulders of these giants before me, I’m in a position now to create a new legacy and legacy for my family.

Doug stated, “Until very recently, we haven’t had any opportunities to really accumulate wealth.” This is our time. Standing on the shoulders these giants have left me, I’m in a position now to create a new legacy for my family.” Doug is not the only one who wants to do the same thing for his loved ones. Merrill’s survey encourages us to ask important questions. So, when you hear “wealth,” what are your thoughts?

You’re not the only one who can think of different definitions. Many people view to comfort, access, or opportunity as a sign of financial health. It could mean that we are truly enjoying the fruits and having financial security. For the Black/African Americans with high net worth who took part in Merrill’s research, this is a complex and nuanced topic.

Participants noted, for example, that inheritances and leaving assets to children were not common in their families. Many participants said that wealth transfer, inheritances, and estate planning were not topics they had with their families as they grew up. Intergenerational wealth is a luxury that has been available to those who have not faced systemic obstacles to wealth accumulation. The survey revealed that wealthy Black/African Americans have redefined wealth transfer. Participants agreed that it is important to pass on morals and values to future generations.

“I felt the study really validated what I believed about wealth accumulation and hard work,” Denita, Vice President of Supply Chain and Support Services at Southern California Gas Company, said during a roundtable conversation led by Merrill. She grew up in Chicago’s South Side, where her father was a police officer and her mother was a school principal. She said that this instilled a work ethic that she still uses today. These early lessons have influenced her approach to financial planning and building wealth.

Denita is correct about the obstacles many of us will encounter on our journey. Understanding your options and looking at your financial picture is one of the most important steps in building wealth. Working with a trustworthy and culturally-sensitive financial advisor, such as one of the 14,000 at Merrill, can help you create a customized plan that will make sense for your financial future. This is not a common practice. Merrill’s survey found that 58% of African Americans who are financially secure have a financial advisor.

Denita is looking forward to the day that she can pass on property to her children. She hopes that they will have a place where they can raise their families. Denita wants to leave her children an inheritance. She’s not the only one who hopes for financial success. The study found that 21% of wealthy Black/African Americans want to pass on wealth as part of their financial plan.

“I believe it is more important to plan. Denita says, “Plan your work and then execute your plan.”

Many of us have witnessed our families “trying to make a dime out of fifteen cents.” They often don’t give their earnings to banks. There is a history of discrimination against Black/African Americans in relation to the banking industry. This is due to the long history of legislation that restricts minority access to mainstream financial services.

Diane, a Black/African American financial adviser, is well-acquainted with the historical context surrounding wealth accumulation. She is working to dispel the negative beliefs surrounding wealth building.

Diane stated that there was still doubt in the Black community about the intangibility and quality of the products.

Advisors are responsible for making financial planning accessible to those who want someone to help them build wealth.

Diane stated that she wanted to show that wealth is not about creating income. She said that making money work for you is part of creating wealth, and it is okay to let someone else do the work.

Black/African Americans are focused on their future financial success. Merrill’s report shows how financial institutions are learning from their community and listening to them to improve their services and gain their trust.

Our DNA is made up of resilience and excellence.

For centuries, our people have made their way through seemingly impossible obstacles. Because we have greater resources and information to help us make future generations proud, we have no choice but to make our lives better. We are already the fulfillment of our ancestors’ wildest dreams. Merrill is committed to helping you achieve your dreams right now.

Source: Merrill –


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