Black personal finance influencers focus on financial freedom

Troy Millings (left) and Rashad Bilal of Earn Your Leisure

Source: Earn Your Leisure

Social influencers focused on financial education in the black community highlighted the message of financial freedom this June 10 as the country commemorates the end of slavery in the United States.

“I definitely feel that Juneteenth observances should have some level of economic understanding,” Rashad Bilal of the Earn Your Leisure podcast told CNBC. “But I think the problem with the holidays is, whether it’s Christmas, Easter or New Years, it’s all about celebration and you lose the meaning of it.”

Bilal, a former financial adviser, added: “On Juneteenth, the importance of economic and social freedom is something that people should keep in mind every day.”

Focused on financial literacy, Earn Your Leisure has over 1 million followers on Instagram and is part of a growing movement of content creators offering insights and tips on markets, real estate, cryptocurrency, entrepreneurship, and more.

“Let’s see where it goes. Maybe not just this holiday, a week or Black History Month. What if we could have this kind of economic conversation every day?” said Troy Millings, former PE teacher Earn Your Leisure.

They also made a clear link between today’s goals of financial freedom and the economic impact of slavery on America and its black citizens.

“Understand that people really die for the economy. That’s what slavery is really about. It’s a financial system built for free labor,” Bilal said.. “So when you see that our ancestors actually sacrificed their lives, and they did it for financial empowerment, it forces you to look at your finances. You don’t want to just waste money. You can actually use this Money to change your family.”

Black Americans are disadvantaged in terms of wealth. According to a study released by the Federal Reserve in 2020, the median net worth of a black American household is about $24,000. The median net worth of white households is about $188,000.

Other influencers spreading the message of economic liberation on Juneteenth include Ian Dunlap aka The Master Investor, Kezia Williams, The Wall Street Catcher, Philip Michael and Ross Mac. They have millions of social media followers, each with their own niche, but the same goal of helping the black community balance their books and build wealth.

Dunlap told CNBC that he believes economic freedom is as important as social justice. “If we don’t have economic freedom and financial literacy, we really don’t have justice,” he said.

Dunlap urged Black Americans to pay particular attention to a 2017 report that predicted the median Black household wealth would drop to $0 by 2053, and to look for investment opportunities. “I don’t want our people, our children, our grandchildren to be impoverished, and that’s the challenge we face if we don’t act collectively,” he said.

Kezia Williams

Kezia Williams | Black upStart

Elsewhere, Williams has called himself a “liberation activist” and influencer. Williams is the CEO of Black upStart, a company that educates and supports early-stage entrepreneurs.

In previous years, Williams had urged black consumers to see Juneteenth as an opportunity to support black businesses and post receipts using the hashtag #myBlackReceipt.

“Invest in those black entrepreneurs who will use the money you spend on their business to give back to their communities, create the products and services our communities need, and create wealth for their families that will generate generational returns.” William James said.

Meanwhile, Michael’s goal is to help 100,000 black people become millionaires by 2030 through real estate. He owns a $250 million real estate portfolio that was created with $850,000 in seed funding from a relative.

“The asset class that creates more millionaires than any other is real estate. It’s one of the ‘easiest’ ways to get there,” Michael told CNBC. “Really, what I want to do is normalize these conversations in a casual format where we can talk about our portfolio as easily as we talk about the trips we take or the shoes we buy.”

Philip Michael

Source: Philip Michael

The Earn Your Leisure podcast is considered a pioneer in the burgeoning field of financial influencers, and scores many of the biggest names in business, sports, and entertainment to discuss their financial plans, mistakes, and goals. Those guests include Mark Cuban, Shaquille O’Neal and Steve Harvey.

The hosting pair also created the #AssetsOverLiabilities hashtag, which has become the philosophy for their content and motto for T-shirts and other merchandise. Bilal and Millings started the podcast in January 2019 with the goal of demystifying Wall Street for the black community.

“We want to make it a cool thing to learn about finance and intergenerational wealth, we want to make it a commonplace conversation. I never grew up having conversations like this at the dinner table. But imagine if we did Now? Imagine if at the barber we were not arguing about the best basketball player, but about the top companies, how that would impact the community,” Millings said.

Bilal and Millings now believe that Earn Your Leisure has evolved from creating content to truly educating the black community to create wealth.

“Education is sustainable in the long run. In a formal setting, the way you understand someone’s learning is the way you evaluate it,” Millings said. “Our assessment is when we go out and hear feedback, we see people, and they tell us these stories, or when they email us and say, ‘This changed my life’.”


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