Community Conversations Series
Northwestern Mutual, a life insurance company, wants to ensure that Black and Brown people find their way in this economy by closing the racial wealth gap, so they hosted a Community Conversations panel in Atlanta on June 3, 2023.
Community Conversations was created to provide an in-person forum for the workforce to hear from thought leaders in the region about important and challenging issues facing the community. The goals of Community Conversations include: bringing in external speakers to build awareness about community topics, elevating dialogue, showing how our company is working to make a difference, and inviting employee involvement.
The conversation held in Atlanta revolved around closing the racial wealth gap and bringing Northwestern Mutual’s value proposition to the community through financial education, guidance, and support.
According to the Board of the Governors of the Federal Reserve System, the average Black and Hispanic or Latino U.S. households earn about half as much as the average White household and own only about 15 to 20 percent as much net wealth.
The panel featured Emcee and Northwestern Mutual Senior Director of Diversity and Inclusion Peavy Holmes, Moderator and National Black MBA Association Interim President Paula Fontana, and panelists Northwestern Mutual Financial Advisor Michael Watson, Bryan Hobbs, Founder and CEO of Pruuvn, and Coaching Catalyst Co-Founder and Managing Partner Keith Milner.
One of the topics discussed was financial stability, and what to do to obtain wealth as a person of color in this country. For Milner, there are five clear steps to help:
Keith Milner’s 5 Steps to Financial Freedom
- Financial literacy
- Learning and understanding how capital and credit work
- Living beneath your means
- Leveraging compounding investments
- Appreciable assets and having multiple streams of income.
The panelists stated that financial freedom also comes from understanding financial terminologies.
“We need to make sure that we are investing in our 401k, we need to understand Roth IRAs, and those types of things,” said Watson.
According to the panel, 80 percent of Black families are liquid asset poor in comparison to 22 percent of white families.
Hearing from the Community
Event attendee Cory Freeman stressed the importance of generational wealth.
“This community conversation, talking about legacy, we have to figure out how to reach the next group because that’s where it’s gonna happen. Gen Z’s bandwidth for growth can take our community beyond anything we can ever imagine.”-Cory Freeman
It was stated that another issue contributing to the widening wealth gap is the lack of information being distributed in communities of color.
Kellye Britton, an event attendee, wanted to know what strides each panelist is taking outside of these spaces to continue to educate underrepresented communities. Watson said his firm has implemented the Black Empowerment initiative which goes into the community to promote financial literacy.
Northwestern Mutual’s Community Conversations helped to bring up information that a lot of people of color were not privy to and helped create dialogue that can go beyond the space.
India Rice is a senior mass media arts major at Clark Atlanta University She enjoys writing about pop culture, fashion, Hip Hop, Film, and now STEM. She hopes her writing can inspire young people to continue to pursue their passions and know their voice matters.