The Brown Girls Do Invest Tour stopped in Chicago to educate women of color about the power of investing. Held at the DuSable Museum of African American History, the event consisted of a panel discussion, remarks from featured speakers and a question-and-answer session.
Bahiyah Shabazz, the founder and executive director for Black Girls Do Invest, said the goal of the tour is to “educate you to give you that knowledge, so that you can move forward and leave a legacy.”
Among the topics discussed during the event was how to invest in stocks, real estate and to learn to acquire multiple lines of income. Brown Girls Do Invest was formed in 2016 to fill what its founder and board of directors believe was a unique void.
Shabazz, who has about 20 years of professional experience in the financial industry, said she wanted to find a way to engage more women of color about ways to impact the economy and secure retirement. When attending events in the past, Shabazz often found she was the only one in the room that looked like her, which she said needed to change.
“We control this market,” Shabazz said. “We spend over $3 trillion a year, but more importantly, we want to make sure that we have a future as well. We want to make sure that we leave a legacy. Someone, who does not look like us—who sits across the table—does not understand the plights that we go through.”
Women of color often come from different backgrounds, ranging between head of household, single-parent families and two-parent families. Shabazz said among the reasons why women of color find themselves in debt is because of a lack of participation in employee retirement accounts, homeownership and stock. “We are going to change that with our education and one share at a time,” she said.
Cimone Casson, a cannabis financial planner and the owner of Cannas Capital, said one of the keys to realizing your full financial potential is “you’ve got to be able to save and you have to be able to invest.”
Several panelists brought up the importance of having discipline and automating the way income streams into checking and savings accounts and building an investment portfolio. Attendees were advised to start building an emergency reserve fund, if they don’t already, to promote financial stability. The goal is to have six to 12 months of income, if single. If married, that means having three to six months of income.
Delta Jones-Walker, the founder of Atled Financial and one of the panelists at the event, said another thing that could help is having an accountability partner, a person who will hold you responsible for financial decisions.
Danielle Pierce, an entrepreneur and one of the featured speakers, shared a differing viewpoint. “I actually don’t believe in accountability partners,” she said. “I believe in hanging around like-minded people, I believe in having a group of people that you run ideas by and you guys working together, but you have to be prepared to go that road alone.”
Several panelists made mention of how important diversification is to having multiple streams of income. Businesses, partnerships and stocks are some of the ways to make that possible.
Florence Hardy, a business consultant and one of the panelists at the event, said the power of investing can be realized in different ways, but getting started is a common difficulty than can be overcome. “I can start where I know already, where I have some expertise, where I have some knowledge, and begin there,” she said.
Shabazz acknowledged that many people may have ideas for businesses they’d like to set up and said one common problem people raise is finding the financing to make it a reality.
Hardy said it’s important to pinpoint what the funding would be used for. “The truth of the matter is very few businesses start with that $150,000 loan,” she said. “Banks aren’t going give it to you. Even if you have a network of individuals, who have some wealth and want to invest, they’re not going to give it to you right away. They want to see that you have some momentum, that you know what you’re doing, that you know what you’re talking about.”