By Jess Washington
Growing up we all had an idea of the type of life we wanted to live, but perhaps did not know how we would obtain the means to live that life. Historically, most Black American families did not have the means to focus on investments and other forms of financial security. Although now there are more educated Black men & women than ever before, between inflation, student loans, mortgage and credit card interest rates at an all time high, it can be hard to imagine how to fulfill that fantasy of a debt-free life. Financial Literacy can mean different things to different people. And it should. For those who don’t know where to start, there is light at the end of the tunnel. There are real options for everyone with every type of income. With some research and discipline, you too can become financially stable and set attainable financial goals.
April is both Financial Literacy month and Minority Health month. Studies have shown that financial security (or lack there of) is directly related to mental health and social stability within the home. This year, Dallas Weekly reached out to our partners at JP Morgan Chase to find out the best steps towards financial freedom and security.
UNDERSTAND YOUR FINANCIAL PORTFOLIO
Yes, you have a portfolio. Traditionally we think of portfolios to have stocks, bonds and other high-dollar assets. But by definition, a portfolio is a collection of financial assets, which can be a myriad of things like your checking and savings accounts, life insurance policies or even collectors items like comic books and baseball cards.
Chase can help you get started understanding your financial stability with the use of their Financial Goals Hub. You can start by picking goals like, “save”, “budget” or “build credit” – and explore advice, offerings and tools that more simply allow you to control your financial future. The Grow Your Savings page offers an interactive calculator that maps out a timeline to reach savings goals and highlights how the Autosave tool can help you manage a regular savings schedule to stay on track and meet your goals. There are other resources, such as budget worksheets that monitor and track monthly spending. The Financial Goal Hub also provides guidance on using the Credit Journey tool to build and protect credit, as well as provide background on low-cost checking accounts designed to provide access for people who have had trouble getting or keeping an account in the past.
CREATE GOOD HABITS
Any Chase financial advisor would tell you that budgeting and saving are the best habits to form in order to attain financial security. Even saving just a small amount can go a long way. For one it improves your peace of mind that you have something “for a rainy day” but it also shows banks that you can be consistent and are aware of your finances. Having a good track record and being disciplined in these matters is crucial to improving your financial portfolio, especially in the event that you might need a loan or other financial assistance.
A lot of us have experienced debt or know someone who has. But we can teach the next generation that good habits start early in life, and Chase has options for the younger generation as well. They offer Chase First Banking which is a debit card for 6-17 year olds. This account is monitored by the parent or guardian, but most importantly it offers an opportunity to teach the youth how to look at finances and understand the benefits of growing assets.
GROW YOUR ASSETS
Another way to grow your assets is through property ownership. Chase offers DreaMaker mortgage, which makes applying for your first mortgage or refinancing a current one more attainable with a smaller down payment. This mortgage program also offers reduced mortgage insurance, flexibility around your credit score, potential assistance grants and home buyer education courses. Property ownership done right is a great way to add incremental income to your household and increase the value of your portfolio.
And growing your assets is not limited to personal finances. According to the L.A. Times, Black startup businesses are at an all time high. “There are more new Black-owned businesses proportionate to the total population than at any time in the past quarter-century.” Chase offers help here as well. You can visit your local branch to talk with community bankers on the steps you need to take for your specific business and budget. You should also speak with your banker on funding opportunities that can come in the form of loans, grants or line of credit. Dallas based Chase Bank Community Manager Terri Thomas wants business owners to also know there are funding options based on business certifications. There are many grants for women and minority certified business owners, and recently in the wake of 2020 social unrest, many large companies are supporting businesses certified as diversified suppliers.
“Being certified as a diverse supplier is more important than ever. Certification not only creates new business opportunities with larger corporations, but it also increases access to resources and support. It serves as proof that your business is diverse, stable, and ready to take on new growth opportunities – and it’s an important step for diverse small business owners looking to grow their business.” – Terri Thomas
Outside of developing a relationship with your banker, you can also stay informed and up to date with financial information by adding yourself to the bank’s social groups for daily updates or attend JP Morgan Chase sponsored events that allow you to network and increase your learning opportunities.
This past year we have seen JP Morgan Chase dedicate themselves to being more visible in the community. With the social unrest in America during 2020 and the economic impact of the global pandemic due to COVID-19, a lot of help was needed. Chase stepped up to the plate and understood their customers’ success directly correlates to their own success as a service provider. From business owners to the kid with their first checking account, Chase is there to guide you to financial security.