ó Among the countryís big Wall Street firms,
senior-level African-Americans financial advisers are
rare, says Ajamu Loving.
he would know, being an adviser of color with a
doctorate in financial planning.
heard 7 percent of astronauts who traveled into space
were black," says Loving, recalling an event
featuring African-American astronaut Leland Melvin in
Tampa, Fla., last year. "It struck me that was
better than the number of financial planners of
a stark reminder for a community thatís challenged by
the lack of diversity and a wealth gap, but that has the
same need as everyone to save for retirement.
to the Government Accountability Office,
African-Americans account for only 2.7 percent of
senior-level staff in the financial industry. Minorities
overall, including Hispanics and Asian Americans, make
up about 8 percent of financial-services employees.
how can African-Americans take control of their
and financial planner Jocelyn Wright, both of whom work
for the American College of Financial Services in
suburban Philadelphia, deal with this question in
classrooms and in meetings with clients.
who get less professional advice, they end up not
performing as well," Loving said. "Iíd like
to increase the number of African-Americans in financial
services, and increase the level of advice in the
serves as director of academic partnerships and
assistant professor of financial planning at the
American College, and is creating and coordinating
relationships between colleges and universities to
increase financial-services education in academia.
his appointment in the Philadelphia area, Loving was
assistant professor of finance at Texas A&M
University-Commerce and worked for about six years in
the Midwest for the Dutch bank ABN Amro.
also had the benefit of both parents working in finance.
His father was with Waddell & Reed, an investment
firm, in the 1980s and "talked about it in glowing
terms as a way to help people, as an opportunity to do
well by doing good. While my dad was building a
clientele, my mother started her career at Northern
Trust, and then worked at First National Bank of Chicago
for a decade, then Harris Bank in Chicago."
encourages African-Americans to enter finance: "If
youíre a talented young black person, there are a lot
of opportunities out there. It may not be on your
holds his 403(b) academic retirement assets in the
Vanguard 2045 Target Retirement fund. "I employ a
simple, low-cost diversified approach to investing. I am
very low frills and boring when it comes to this."
may be hurting themselves and their retirement
financially because of the role of family caregiver.
According to a recent Prudential research survey of
1,043 African-Americans age 27 to 70, more than 20 hours
a week was spent on caregiving, versus 14.6 hours among
the general population.
thereís the wealth gap: The average annual income of
African-Americans is about 20 percent less than their
white counterparts, based on recent U.S. Bureau of Labor
Statistics data. More than 3 in 10 African-Americans (31
percent) cite the wealth gap as a reason not to seek out
only 14 percent of African-Americans and 26 percent of
the U.S. general population currently work with
financial professionals, the Prudential survey found.
wants to solve that problem among women of color.
Insight Center for Community Economic Development, a
nonprofit in Oakland, Calif., found that single women of
color are the biggest group of Americans with either
zero or negative net worth.
want to help close the gap as much as possible. The way
to do that is through education," said Wright,
American College chair for women and financial services
and assistant professor of womenís studies.
addition to her teaching role, Wright is a practicing
financial planner with the Ascension Group in suburban
Philly. Many of her clients are women.
donít work as long, we donít earn as much because of
the pay gap. And then, of course, we work in companies
that donít offer fringe benefits providing a
pension," she says.
encourages women to maximize Social Security by
deferring benefits until age 70, to tackle debt and save
for retirement at the same time, and "increase the
level of comfort as women with money."
got an MBA, learned about investing through working in
banking, and was mentored by a financial planner to take
over a practice.
tell women not to get scared and emotional about the
markets. Keep your goals in mind."
likes to allocate about 40 percent of her assets in
actively managed mutual funds and the rest in ETFs or
passive index funds, the same advice she gives her