How Black Women Can Overcome The Wage Gap

Hello everyone! I’d like to share a bit more about what motivates me to do this work. I started out in a lower income family and worked very hard throughout my life to progress from minimum wage jobs to where I am today. From managing an ice cream shop at the age of 19, until now in my current role as the owner of my own financial coaching and consulting company, I’ve learned a lot about work, money, and economic slavery and freedom.

As an intelligent, talented, and brilliant Black woman, on my often challenging yet insightful life’s journey, I came to realize – both statistically and personally – that Black people (women especially) are almost the lowest paid group in America (just ahead of Hispanics). This is the case - even when possessing the same abilities, credentials and educational levels as our counterparts. For many years, this knowledge (and my personal experience with being underpaid and having to fight for well-earned raises) left me feeling furious, disappointed, and hopeless about my economic future in this country.

But I started reading books and articles about personal finance and began to take on a new perspective. The message that David Bach and so many others stated became crystal clear to me: it’s not what you earn, but what you keep that determines your actual wealth. Even though our wages are lower in general, the proportion that we’re able to actually save (and invest) finally determines our long term financial futures – not solely what we are paid.

When I have felt especially disheartened about the economic inequality pervasive in this society and needed a huge boost of encouragement, recalling Black women like Madam C.J. Walker has motivated me to move forward even more powerfully. You can read about her life and principles here. Her example and life always reminds me that I can control my financial future. During her lifetime, she encountered far more prejudice and inequality than we do today, and she still triumphed in achieving economic independence.

As one of my favorite quotes says,

“Things may happen around you and things may happen to you, but the only things that really count are the things that happen in you.” – Elsie Robinson

One of the simplest ways for us to build wealth is to establish an automatic savings plan, contribute to it regularly, and let it grow over long periods. Personal and retirement savings are two ways to keep a sizeable portion of what you earn. If you have both in place, kudos to you! If you don’t have both in place, this is something that you should work to put into place right away. There are many resources available to help you do so, such as online articles, workshops, financial professionals, etc.

While we ultimately will not be able to change the unequal system, what we can change is how we operate within it – by reclaiming our individual financial power and making sure our money (however disproportionate) works maximally for us, both now, and in the future. Until next time, Peace and Prosperity to you.

About Yolanda

Yolanda Ransom is a certified Financial Coach & Consultant who empowers Black women to confidently master new money management skills, resulting in improved finances and financial stability. She is the owner and founder of Yolanda Ransom Consulting and provides personal finance coaching and training to professional Black women and groups.  Learn more about Yolanda here.