To celebrate Black History Month, CNBC Invest in You features weekly stories from CNBC contributors, including the lessons they learned growing up, their advice for young black people, their sources of inspiration, and how they’re working to close the racial wealth gap.
Ivory Johnson, the founder of Delancey Wealth Management and a member of the CNBC Financial Advisor Council, is a proponent of following the basic principles of capitalism, and he believes that if this were applied in the United States, the black community would have an equal opportunity to create wealth.
An example of how the idea of a free market doesn’t work: Black women are only paid 63 cents for every dollar a white man is paid.
“Our country can financially empower the African American community by applying the basic principles of capitalism,” Johnson said. “We would like to be paid according to what the free markets are willing to bear,” he said.
Morgan Stanley estimates that racial inequality in housing has cost nearly 800,000 jobs and five million people who own homes. Assets like real estate should be fungible so that the value of the home is not affected by who lives in it.
“We would like equal access to capital and the ability to enforce the terms of a contract in a fair court system,” Johnson said. “We don’t need a boost – life is tough for everyone. We just want a fair fight.”
As co-founder and co-CEO of 2050 Wealth Partners, Rianka Dorsainvil advises small business owners and first generation wealth creators. His advice to current and future leaders:
“Co-create a collaborative environment with your team. Be a leader not only by title but also by example. And especially for black leaders, continue to be yourself, unapologetically. is your power.”
Founder and Chief Investment Officer of Odyssey Advisors, Jason Snipe is an active mentor and board member of LaSalle Catholic Academy. He knows how important exposure to opportunity across the economy is for young adults.
“The most important thing we can do to change the financial future of African Americans is to expose ourselves. We need to be exposed to all the industries that exist here. Experience is our greatest teacher. We cannot be what we cannot see.”
Tiffany McGhee started her first business by cashing in her 401(k). McGhee knew it would be risky to leave the comforts and benefits of a corporate job for an entrepreneurial pursuit.
Now founder, CEO and CIO of Pivotal Advisors, she is the first African-American and Afro-Latina woman to own an institutional investment advisory firm. The growth of his own business gave McGhee insight into the importance of support.
“I think one thing we can all do to change the financial future of the black community is to support black-owned businesses. I think representation is important. It does a lot to let people in our community know community that they can do the exact same thing.”
Degas Wright, a former captain in the US Army, said that aside from his family, the biggest influence in his life was his time at the United States Military Academy at West Point. Today, he is the founder and CEO of Decatur Capital Management. While at West Point, Wright learned how impactful exposure to the best can be, and he encourages business leaders to make themselves available in the same way.
“I think other people can impact our communities in two ways. One, to promote personal finance in every school. The second thing, if you own a business or are an executive in a business, hire a university intern to give them that exposure to the industry.Those are two things that everyone who listens can have an impact.
Join CNBC for a special LinkedIn Live event on February 24 with Sharon Epperson and pioneering financial leaders. For more information and to register, go to cnbc.com/facesofchange
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Disclosure: NBCUniversal and Comcast Ventures are investors in Tassels.