Dr. Jatali, neuropsychologist, money, kids who bank, black minds unite,

Dr. Jatali Bellanton Uses Her Skill In Neuropsychology To Help Align Your Values With Your Pocketbook

Dr. Jatali Bellanton is all about teaching the next generation to be financially savvy.

Dr. Jatali Bellanton is the neuropsychologist focusing on your brain and bank account.

At the intersections of mental health and financial literacy, Bellanton is transforming future generations‘ attitudes toward money. While balancing motherhood, Bellanton founded two nonprofits, Kids Who Bank and Brilliant Minds Unite. The organizations align with her lifelong mission to help people grow their pockets and achieve wellness.

The nonprofit CEO wants Black people to break the generational curses that prevent them from attaining financial empowerment. With origins in investment banking, Bellanton hopes to be part of the solution to close the racial wealth gap. Banking where your values are, she believes, is the first step.

Bellanton shared her insights with BLACK ENTERPRISE on what Black people should know about new-age currencies, angel investors, and becoming a multihyphenate with a cause.

What led you down this philanthropic path with your expertise in financial savviness? How are you ensuring other people, especially the youth, are financially ready to take on this world?

My origin is in investment banking and forensic accounting. [There,] I realized that many rich, affluent people were financially struggling with budgeting. [This included] a lot of the basics that I thought only Black and Brown people struggled with. That brought me to a space where I was like, how do we put a dent into this problem? And I just wanted to be part of the solution. Especially because I had people in my family who were really horrible with money, and I didn’t want to be a part of that. That’s a generational curse if anything, and I wanted to be more of a generational blessing. And so I also knew this was not what I wanted to push forward as a parent.

We know you are a “mompreneur,” even winning the 2019 New York State Mother of the Year Award. How has motherhood influenced your mission?

I know that tomorrow is not promised. And so, being a parent, whatever I know financially right now if I don’t teach my child, I might not have an opportunity to create a legacy for him. Whether it’s financial or emotional stability, he knows his mom loves him. He knows his mom was a hard-working person who ensured she had savings and a living trust. For him, a living trust will dictate how much is dripped out when, but it is also making sure that he understands why things are being created while understanding the world we live in when it comes to wealth.

From your perspective, why should Black people tap into new-age currencies, NFTs, crypto, and blockchain? Is it truly the future, and what should our community know? 

Seeing how far, technologically, we’ve come and knowing that we’re just getting started, I tell people this all the time. If Bitcoin, Ethereum, and these particular coins were going to go anywhere, they would have gone already. But they have been around for 10-plus years now. This is not a phase or a fad. It’s something that the government is even talking about. So we should be paying attention because while we’re sitting there, there’s this next disbursement of wealth that we’re going to be missing potentially. And now, we see a new paradigm opening, which is the NFT, Metaverse, Blockchain, and crypto spaces.

We know there’s a huge racial wealth gap globally, especially in the US. You were on “Our America: In the Black” to discuss this issue and achieving financial empowerment. What do you believe is necessary to close it? What can we do ourselves to move the needle forward?

I think the first thing is banking where our values are and investing in companies with a social impact that can help us move forward. I feel like for so long, many of us were talking about divide and conquer. We really need to unite and conquer to bring our country to another level. When you’re investing, make sure that companies have the core values you believe in with campaigns that you feel will help us be better. Those are some of the significant things that I think we all need to pay attention to to get to the next level.

As an angel investor, can you speak to inclusion in this space? How do Black entrepreneurs find you and others like yourself?

Sometimes, I’m speaking at angel investor conferences. Or I go to a VC funding round or a TED summit, and these are the newest companies that will be out in the game. And so just being in the room is half the battle. We can’t say we want to do something, so we don’t go out and walk into the room. Sometimes, it’s also embracing the uncomfortable. If you make a certain amount of money, you may avoid paying for specific conferences. Sometimes we might have to pay to be in a room, and that’s OK because guess what? There are other people paying to be in a room. And that means they probably have a certain level of success or network.

What lessons are you instilling in your future-focused nonprofits, Kids Who Bank and Brilliant Minds Unite, to prepare them for success?

Well, the first thing I will say for both is that we have a profit and a nonprofit leg. And so, the biggest thing for me has been asset classes. Teaching them that if you live in a capitalist country, and you’re taught to be a capitalist, it is because capitalism is the base of it. And then, you should learn what it means to be a capitalist, right? How mighty is your dollar, crypto, or wealth, and how can it move the needle? It’s just having these conversations. That same conversation does not change whether you’re 80 years old or you’re six years old.

For those without a leg up or a support system, what advice can you give now to cultivate success tomorrow? 

The biggest thing is just getting started. You don’t have to know everything, and you can’t read every book. You don’t have to go on every website; just get started and be careful. Don’t just invest because someone else is. And make sure you’re also banking in the right establishments. Or banking with ones that give you the best bang for your buck. Just ensuring that you take it one step at a time. Reaching out to people like myself or mentors can also help in your journey.

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