Does your practice cross the color line?

By Jeffery Hoyle

Emphasis Marketing & Communications

The subject of race is still somewhat of a powder keg. My choice to open said keg in this article may come under fire, and I may receive some backlash. Please know it is not meant to offend anyone, just open some eyes to potential. At any rate, I still feel it is an important issue to address. So, with that said, read on.

From an advertising perspective, there is still a defined line when it comes to race. Open any given financial publication, and the majority of individuals you see in advertisements seem to represent a standard of the “perfect” investor/client.

But is that a fair representation of the entire marketplace?

The number of minority millionaires in this country alone has increased exponentially; and not just in the sports arena. African Americans as a whole are estimated to have annual earnings in excess of $400 billion – yet represent less than 1 percent of long-term investors.

Why? Perhaps it is the intimidation of a volatile market, or they are uninformed on the delicate dance that is the market. At any rate, as advisors, you could be missing out on a potential goldmine.

For the lucky few who have achieved that lifetime of financial freedom, there are still those who struggle without the guidance of a professional, such as you, to achieve some level of success. So, I pose the difficult question; does your practice make efforts to capture this often neglected portion of the market?

Jesse B. Brown, a personal investment advisor specializing in the African American market and author of the book, “Investing in the Dream,” sums this up in the title of his first chapter, “No Longer Invisible, but Still Underinvested.”
    For many, procrastination is the easiest response to the challenge of putting their financial affairs in order. But putting off doesn’t pay off. Tomorrow never comes, but old age sneaks up on you.
Brown speaks the truth, but he also opens the door just a crack to a savvy financial professional such as you. The question is, are you willing to walk through the door and offer to help improve someone’s life?

For many African Americans, wealth is not sustained. Traditionally, there are very few assets that can be passed on from generation to generation. But the idea of individual self-sufficiency cannot be the ultimate goal. On the contrary, the goal should be the quest for economic power.

You, as a financial professional, can help individuals and families reach that goal. But are you willing to do so? If you are, there are steps you can take today that can open that door from just a crack to wide open.

Most cities have an African American/Black Chamber of Commerce. Embrace this organization and offer your services to a luncheon or event to introduce yourself to the community. Your expertise could prove invaluable to them in a number of capacities.

Consider offering small group financial planning seminars under their umbrella. Folks will come, because as we said before, fear of the market’s volatility or being misinformed are the two primary reasons for a lack of long-term investment.

For the purpose of this article, I chose to use African Americans as an example. The same applies to the Hispanic/Latino community, or any marketplace in which you wouldn’t traditionally apply your marketing efforts.

There are folks out there who would benefit from your area of expertise. Let your abilities take you into a whole new market. You might be surprised by the benefit to you and your business.

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