Here we are a week after Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, Cyber Monday and Giving Tuesday (hopefully you gave money to a nonprofit). Our pockets may be lighter, but are we better because of all the extra spending and cute outfits and gifts stored in our already bulging closets?
According to a recent Gallup Poll, approximately 33% of us are planning to spend $1,000 on gifts this year. Another 22% expect to spend between $500 and $999. This amount is up from last year, and some say it is because the economy is booming, and consumer confidence is high.
But Sisters beware. While the economy may be looking up for some, for most of us our wages have not kept up with the rising cost of living. And there are signs that the economy is starting to falter. Just this past week General Motors laid off 14,000 people hoping to strengthen its bottom line, but the economic jury is still out on whether or not this move will put them in a better financial position.
A good retail therapy session could be the balm for what ails you, but Sisters take note, we need to find other coping mechanisms to deal with our toxic stress levels. We need to start getting our financial houses in order so that we can be ready when the next recession (economic downturn) hits. Women of color are drowning in student loan debt, living with pay gaps that affect our current and future financial stability, and are generally more financially unstable than our white peers.
“Two-thirds of business economists in the U.S. expect a recession to begin by the end of 2020…” writes Jeff Kearns (Bloomberg) in Money’s “The Next Recession Is Coming by 2021, According to an Overwhelming Majority of Economists.”
We need to get ready because many women of color still have not recovered from the last recession. In Why America’s Women of Color Have Lost Ground Since the Great Recession, we learn that Black and Latinx women suffered the most during the last recession with high rates of unemployment leading to increased poverty and other financial challenges.
- Black and Hispanic women suffered big income losses during and after the Great Recession.
In 2009 alone, black females holding jobs dropped from 58.8 to 54.6 percent, while Latinas holding employment fell from 51.9 to 50.1 percent. Today, 13.8 percent of black women and 12.3 percent of Latinas are looking for jobs they cannot find (and their rates of unemployment exceed the national average by 6.2 and 4.7 percentage points respectively).
- Already struggling households headed by black women and Latinas have plunged into poverty. From 2007 to 2011, the percentage of black female-headed households in poverty jumped from 43.9 to 47.3 percent. The numbers are worse for Latina-headed households, for whom the percentage in poverty grew from 46.6 to 49.1 percent.
For Today’s Mobilize Monday, WE CAN wants you to make getting your financial house in order a priority for 2019. Start by educating yourself by reading blogs like Frugal Feminista, Redefining Wealth, Financial Samurai, and Money Smart Latina to get up to speed on the latest personal financial tips and tricks you can use to take control of your money. Then find a licensed financial professional who can give you personalized advice and help you create a plan!
Earlier this year WE CAN asked what your top financial concerns are. Retirement savings and student loan debt topped the list. In 2019, WE CAN will be launching a student loan reform campaign. We listened to your feedback, and too many of you are struggling to make ends meet and pay your student loan obligations. Take a moment to sign up to receive updates about this campaign. We will NOT bombard you with dozens of emails. WE CAN knows you are busy and it is our goal to only call on you when we are ready to take action.
Take good care to enjoy the holiday season without getting in over your financial head!
Founder and President