What We Can Do to Eliminate Complacency in the African American Family [Part 2]

More thoughts on fostering generational wealth for our families

In my previous article, Why Complacency Is Costing the African American Family, I posed a couple of questions in an attempt to initiate conversation about why African American men’s complacency is impacting the African American family’s overall wealth and ability to leave future generations in better positions financially. As anticipated, there was both support and opposition regarding the questions posed within the article.

Asking questions about education and career interests are very relevant to the discussion about generational wealth. I’d like to ask another very relevant question before offering-up some potential alternatives.

Why are we so quick to make babies, but unwilling to put a ring on the mother? In looking at the statistics, it is startling to see the rapid increase of single parent households. According to singleblackparents.com, 63 percent of African-American households are headed by single parents. Over 85 percent of the single parents are women and 46 percent of them have attended college.

The statistics also show us that contrary to popular belief, almost half of the single parent women have some level of college education. Conversely, men haven’t been performing at a comparative level as their counterparts. This is a trend that needs to be corrected.

• When we (men) don’t pursue higher education, it generally means we miss out on our overall earning potential for the future. College graduates generally earn $1 million more over the course of their lives than those without college degrees.

• When we (men) place too much focus on becoming professional athletes and entertainers without laying an educational foundation in the event things don’t work out, we miss out on opportunities to be sports agents, entertainment attorneys, financial advisors, etc.

• When we (men) create children before determining whether we want to marry the mother, it generates a potential deficiency in building wealth for the family. When we don’t live together under the same roof as a family, there is a potential financial impact due to managing two sets of household expenses instead of operating as one unit. Just taking into account a rent/mortgage payment of $700/month equates to $8,400/year and $252,000 over 30 years. Wouldn’t this be an awesome nest egg for your family?

Although things look bleak on the surface, there are some ways to correct the current trend.

Encourage Education – Each of us has a responsibility to take young black men under our wings and ensure they perform to the best of their ability academically. Taking a vested interest in their academic achievement while encouraging them to dream about their future creates a positive mindset towards learning. Organizations like The Black Man Can along with others help to inspire our youth. Take advantage of available resources so we can create change in the lives of young black men.

Offer Career Exposure – If you’re a parent, teacher or mentor, identify opportunities to get your children/students exposed to various career options. I remember becoming inspired through career days and field trips to different companies. We need to continue positively highlighting alternative career opportunities in addition to the ones we see on television or other mediums. I wonder how many more young black men would be inspired knowing they can have a great career as an accountant, financial planner, attorney to athletes/entertainers?

Highlight the Benefits of Marriage – Somewhere along the way we’ve lost the value of marriage and family. Unfortunately, marriage seems to be a secondary focus in the black community. When we come together in healthy marriages, we have the ability to stabilize the family structure, partner financial resources and begin working to change the course of history for future generations. Marriage is a beautiful picture when two people come together as one in order to accomplish a greater purpose!

I’d love to hear your suggestions on how we can inspire and encourage our black men to pursue greatness. Please leave your comments.

Kenny Pugh is a Life & Relationship Strategist, Author of ‘Can You Do It Standing Up?’, Speaker, Host of the Chat Kafe Radio Show, singles leader and sought-after speaker on singleness, relationships, finances and life. You can find more information about Kenny at http://www.kennypugh.com. You can follow him on Facebook at Kenny Pugh or on Twitter @mrkennypugh.