Here's Why You Probably Fight With Family Over The Holidays

Thanksgiving was great until a family fight broke out. It was between my parents, my brother and me. Like most fights, money was at the root and it always has been. Life was tough growing up — I remember us having to sleep in our van. Now that my siblings and I are older, we routinely have to subsidize my parents’ lifestyle. We worry about them aging because they have little in the way of assets or retirement savings. No matter the stated issue, we know most family drama goes back to the lack of money, somehow. The movement to buy, bank and think Black isn’t merely a fight for mentions and boosted hashtags — this is about keeping our families healthy. 80 percent of Black parents expect to be supported by their millennial children while about three-quarters of all parents report that they provide support to theirs. It matters. Our White counterparts often get help from their parents when putting a down payment on a home; consequently, they start building equity and wealth in their 20’s while we are covering light bills and putting out fires back at home with our earnings. We often can’t save because of this and fall further behind. Our parents are not entirely at fault. They inherited centuries of disadvantage and even in their lifetime were blatantly denied opportunity. Still, our generation is in the crosshairs of a crisis and only urgent action will save us. Some of our parents literally worked as sharecroppers. Others came from middle class households while the balance simply scraped by as the last hired and first fired — the Black experience. Their generation simply tried to survive and set us up to actually enjoy this America, just a little bit more. In the meantime, the tsunamis of student loan debt and deindustrialization have disrupted the incremental path to progress they foresaw and we are now at a crossroads. We can play by the same old rules or we can decide that our families are worth fighting for. We can fall another generation behind or we can prioritize our collective future. We can continue hoping for incremental progress (and more fights around the Thanksgiving table) or we can create our own wealth, transaction by transaction. I bank, buy and think Black because I cannot depend on others to prioritize my family’s well-being. I am focused on building up Black entrepreneurs because I know that as they succeed, more Black families will experience holiday gatherings free from the stress of money. I know that as we collectively prosper we will be able to not only take care of our parents in their old age but also invest in our children. I want that future for Black people and I know what we have collectively done in the past doesn’t work. We can continue to embrace what we’ve always known — and hated — or we can dare to free ourselves and our families.]]>

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