Families pass down more than just genes, recipes and lame jokes. Financial habits are inherited and shape us just like our DNA; a generation of spenders will likely produce the same. So why is generational wealth such a big deal?
What is it
Accumulated financial assets passed down within a family is the basic concept of generational wealth. It can take on many forms: real estate, life insurance, cash, family business, stocks and other assets. It’s inherited and circulates within a family, representing freedom in the form of financial security, choice and opportunity.
Why it matters
Student loan debt has reached nearly $1 trillion, home buying has become a pipe dream for most millennials, and the job market is dominated by nepotism.
Now imagine that your family has the resources to pay for college tuition, offer a sizeable down payment for first time homebuyers, or cover rent while you’re interning or starting a career.
Most people aren’t fortunate enough to have these powerful opportunities and it’s nearly impossible to compete in the same arena as the folks who do. It’s like playing a game of Monopoly after everyone else has already received a multi-lap (or 400+ year) headstart.
Generational wealth—inheritances in particular—perpetuate the Black-White wealth gap to the tune of $40,000 vs $150,000+, respectively. As Adam Harris writes, considering inheritances of only $10,000 are considered “transformative” assets due to their ability to “alter the course” of someone’s life, generational wealth is a big freaking deal. And not having access to it is an even bigger deal. Straight up, it’s a long-term problem.
How equity crowdfunding supports building generational wealth
The 2008 recession ushered in an era of financial catastrophe for many, but it also sparked hope with the emergence of the JOBS Act. Since its inception, equity crowdfunding has proven to be more fruitful for marginalized groups than the entire VC industry. Underrepresented founders with fresh ideas finally have tangible access to folding money, giving them the ability to start their business and oftentimes catapult over the Valley of Death. Plus, diversity fuels innovation and equity crowdfunding bolsters diversity in every way— including offering ordinary people the opportunities to own equity in young companies, while they’re still affordable. Now, through equity crowdfunding, a more diverse group of founders, companies and ideas can receive funding and the ripple effects could change small businesses, the economy and social classes forever.
Where to start
As they say, ‘Rome wasn’t built in a day’. Well, neither was the wealth of the most powerful families in America— and no, we don’t mean the Kardashians, they aren’t even an afterthought in this circle. Start by investing in your community and owning a piece of the shops you frequently patronize. Not only will you be supporting entrepreneurs and small businesses, but you’ll be off to a healthy start establishing generational wealth for yourself and your community as well.
And what better time to do this than now, in 2020? A moment in time where Covid-19 has exacerbated the already appalling health and economic conditions of the poor across America, and the murder of George Floyd has lanced the wounds of social injustice throughout the world. Perhaps now is the time for us to challenge ourselves to change the financial and social narrative for ourselves, our community and most importantly, the generations to follow. How? By setting the intention toward building wealth, not simply making money.
There can be no social justice without economic justice. #KeepTheLightOn may be a good place to start.