In the US only 2 percent of black households are millionaire households. I go by the pseudonym AAB. I grew up in New York City in a predominately black and hispanic neighborhood. I’m a proud member of the New York City public school system from grades K through 12. I am now part of the black 2 percent. What is the black 2 percent might you ask? My definition of the black 2 percent is, “a black household that has a networth of above one million dollars”. Only 2 percent of black american households have a networth of greater than a million dollars. The black 2 percent primarily have a networth that is greater than 98 percent of other Black Americans. The interesting part about my story is that I became a black 2 percenter primarily without being a business owner. That isn’t to say that I won’t one day be a successful entrepreneur but that I became a black 2 percenter without going the entrepreneurial route. My path to being a black two percenter came in the following ways:
#1 Focus on Math Grades K-12
One of the greatest excluders for African-Americans in wealth accumulation is the inability at a young age to do well in the subject of mathematics. Mathematics is the greatest excluder of African-Americans from future high-powered fields in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics). STEM fields will be some of the best jobs in the next few decades. For African-American parents who are reading this, my greatest gift to you would be to urge you to aid your children in getting their math scores up. If you have a child that is already doing well in math then congratulations your child has successfully navigated step number 1 of my particular path.
#2 Go to Colleges
I remember in my senior year of high school, I saw my best friend from elementary school after not seeing him for a long time. I mean we were best friends from like grades K through 8. We were like Batman and Robin. You wouldn’t see one without seeing the other. Anyway, he ended up going to one of the worst public high schools in New York City. The interesting thing about him though was that he had a very good grade point average in a very bad school. It’s like having the best house on the worse block. I’m talking his high school grade point average was like 98 or 99 percent. We saw each other our senior year of high school, out somewhere randomly, and catching up with him was great. I then asked him what college was he going to or looking at attending. He then looked me dead in my eyes and said, “Man, I don’t think I’m going to college”. My heart instantly sunk. We then had this long discussion about college. He then in so many words said to me that he’s been in school for too long and was looking forward to being out of school and entering the workforce. We were both 17 or 18 years old and I told him that he should reconsider. We then gave each other a pound and parted ways. We only saw each other sparingly a few more times after that discussion. I’ve pretty much lost all contacts with him post college. I do hope to one day see him and see that he’s doing well.
#3 Select a Good Major While in College
To make a choice of a good major in College is very important towards long-term earning potential. Earning potential is a necessary component to use the method that I used to become a black 2 percenter. Majors such as social work, sports management or english while being noble majors they will likely limit ones long-term earning potential. I’ve seen it many times. Some of the smartest black students at their respective colleges are doing very well in low employment prosperous majors. It’s one of the greatest failures of guidance counseling that exist today in the black community.
#4 Graduate in a Field with Good Income Potential
Assuming one has done steps #1, #2, and #3 above, one will have good earning power for the next few decades.
#5 Invest your Money Early and Consistently
Every paycheck and I mean every paycheck, put a portion of that paycheck in the stock market. If you do this consistently you will see that after 15 to 25 years of doing this, you will suddenly find yourself as a part of the black 2 percent. The reason you will be in the black 2 percent is because of the way that your money will compound. This also assumes reasonable competency in stock choice and temperament. My recommended strategy is buy and hold. I didn’t commit to this philosophy immediately after college. I only seriously committed to it a few years after college. I wish I had committed to it sooner.
#6 Stay Employed Consistently with No Gaps
The strategy that I used to get into the black 2 percent heavily depended on staying employed with no gaps. I know that things happen but if one can stay employed a large part of the time and one can follow steps 1 through 4 noted above then one has a good chance of being in the black 2 percent. I have had good friends and family members that graduated college but who have only been employed 30 to 60 percent of the time after college. It is very difficult to make it into the black 2 percent with these huge employment gaps. Try and stay employed. Being in a highly desired field makes this task somewhat easier.
#7 Choose Your Spouse Wisely
I have a good childhood friend who now with overtime makes 80k to 100k a year in a very good city job. He didn’t go to college and makes 80k to 100k per year with overtime. The problem that he has though is that his wife refuses to work. He wants her to work but she refuses. He first met her more than a decade ago when they ironically worked at the same place. Shortly after they got hitched, she stopped working. She didn’t even stop working to raise children. She just suddenly decided that she didn’t want to work anymore. It wasn’t even a 2 person decision. They did end up having children later. Though he makes good money, it is more difficult for his household to make it into the black 2 percent without her working than if she was working. This is a very mild example but both women and men alike need to choose their spouses wisely. A great spouse can give you fuel. The wrong spouse can drain you. For example marrying a spouse that’s a spender while you are not can potentially be a drain. Divorce also is a drain. One can not predict the future but do your due diligence and choose your spouse wisely.
These are the seven things that I have done to get into the black 2 percent. If you do the above seven things, I believe any African-American can make it into the black 2 percent. If many blacks can consistently do these things for long periods of time then we will no longer call it the black 2 percent. It will then be called the black 3, 4, 5, etc percent. The reason, I outlined this is because I see many people promoting entrepreneurship as the path to wealth both inside the black community and outside of it. The reality is that I’ve seen a lot of black CEO’s of their own entertainment companies and at times that’s not the best path to go on. We also need to alternatively encourage young blacks to get into those industries with good earning potential in which black are largely under represented. There are articles that stated that 1 out of 7 white households are now millionaire households. I can largely surmise that 1 out of 7 whites aren’t entrepreneurs. Other nationalities likely deployed most of the techniques that I outlined here to accumulate a networth above one million dollars. We black americans need to place ourselves to take part in these future high-powered industries. We need to also become savers and investors. These are some of the keys, in my opinion, towards getting into the black 2 percent.
Definitions of “black 2 percent”
- a black household that has a networth of above one million dollars (The AAB definition)
- The percentage of Google and Facebook’s employees that are black (alternative definition)
- The percentage of public school teacher that are black men (alternative definition)
- The percentage of black owned businesses in the United States (alternative definition)
Are you a 2 percenter in your respective demographic? If yes, how did you get there? If no, do you think it’s possible for you to make 2 percent status in your respective demographic?