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Financial Wellness

It takes more than information to influence people’s lives, and money alone does not result in financial health. Financial well-being is “a state of being wherein a person can fully meet current and ongoing financial obligations, can feel secure in their financial future, and is able to make choices that allow them to enjoy life.”

Financial well-being is a holistic view of our financial lives and includes our access to financial services, our financial behaviors and decisions, as well as how we think and feel about money. Because financial well-being is somewhat objective and subjective, it accommodates the realities and individualities of financial circumstances. It is the ideal measurement to evaluate the financial health of individuals and communities.

Generally, financial and economic research controls for gender, race, or ethnic heterogeneity of populations. In statistical analysis, controlling for race or gender is simple. In real life, that's not an option. Nobody gets to push the “appear as a gray avatar” button to walk into a bank, apply for a mortgage, or navigate starting a small business. We show up as we are, and our identities have real implications on how we experience life. The reality of carrying our identity with us throughout our financial and economic life experiences prompted this research.

In an effort to understand the cultural specificity of financial well-being, Timi Joy Jorgensen, PhD, Assistant Professor and Director of Financial Education and Wellbeing at The American College of Financial Services, conducted research that deconstructed the variables that were predicting financial well-being for different populations. This report focuses exclusively on the specific predictors of financial well-being for Black women and men in the United States.

Understanding the identity-specific predictors of financial well-being is the first step for the financial services industry to engage in culturally competent and meaningful ways with Black Americans. Financial empathy and data-informed business solutions can foster a business environment of concerted economic inclusion.

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